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The Villages
Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Milo Karhu

Milo Karhu
Milo Karhu

Milo Jon Karhu, 85, of Lake Ann, Michigan and The Villages Florida, passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2024, at his home with his loving family by his side. His passing came just a week after the unexpected death of his beloved wife, Wilma “Billie Jean” Karhu, likely due to a broken heart. The two were inseparable soulmates, deeply in love and rarely apart. They are now reunited in heaven.

Milo was born on August 21, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, to the late Otto and Phoebe (Thornely) Karhu. Nearly 70 years ago, during high school, he met and fell in love with his lifelong sweetheart, Wilma “Billie Jean” Tragge. Milo was the captain of the high school basketball and baseball teams and Billie Jean was a cheerleader. Their love story continued as they both attended Eastern Michigan University. There, Milo played varsity basketball and baseball. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education and went on to earn his master’s degree in counseling and educational leadership from Michigan State University.

A talented baseball player, Milo even had an offer to play for the Braves, but he chose a career in education, believing he could make a greater impact as a teacher. He returned to Redford Union High School, his alma mater, where he dedicated many years in various roles, from math teacher to counselor to principal. His influence was profound, changing countless lives, and he remained very active in the alumni group.

Milo’s family has fond memories of vacations, including a special trip to spring training with the Detroit Tigers in 1974, where they stayed in the same hotel as the team. He was a hands-on father, always present at family events, and cherished playing football with his family during Thanksgiving. Milo had an exceptional eye for talent, often predicting successful futures for young athletes. Known for his sense of humor and ability to connect with everyone, Milo maintained numerous friendships throughout his life, writing countless letters that will be cherished forever.

In 1998, after retiring, Milo and Billie Jean bought a winter home in The Villages, Florida, where they spent 25 years making friends and playing pickleball. Milo was one of the best players in The Villages and loved the sport passionately. Milo earned many accolades including the Michigan Assistant Principal of the Year, Softball Hall of Fame member, Redford Union Hall of Fame member, State Racquetball Champion, and Senior Olympics Pickleball Gold Medal winner. Above all, Milo loved his wife and family immensely, always striving to make their lives better. Milo’s legacy will live on in the hearts of his family and friends for a long time.

He is survived by his children Karlynn (Kevin) Billings, Milo Jr. and Kara (Derek) Cribley, grandchildren Kailey (Wesley) Conner, Kelsey (Austin) Wolfe, Milo III, Mia Karhu, Kayla (Robert) Ilagan, and Connor Cribley, great grandchildren, Aria, Grayson, and Teddy, his sister Tamar (Bob) Harkness, sister-in-law Jane Bluhm and Mary Lou Karhu, and many other loving family members and so many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ethel Good, brother Freemont Karhu and his beloved Billie Jean Rest in peace, Milo. Your love, connectability and legacy will continue to inspire us all.

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