ohn Aho and Ellen Lehto were both born in Oulu, Finland, John in 1890 and Ellen in 1895. They met in Minnesota, married soon after that, and in 1914 or 1915 they left for Alaska and first arrived in Knik, where their first of four children, Toivo, was born. They moved to Anchorage in 1919, and daughter Helen was born there that year, followed by Stanley in 1921 and Betty in 1923.
John and Ellen divorced in 1925. Ellen found a job in Curry on the Alaska Railroad. All of the children were sent to McCain’s Ranch in Anchorage, a boarding home for children whose parents were working out of town. In Curry, Ellen met and married Bill McGettigan, a section foreman for the railroad. Bill was an Irish immigrant who had come to the United States in 1907 and arrived in Alaska in 1910. About 1930, the couple moved to Anchorage, bought a home at Sixth Avenue and K Street, and were able to bring the family back together. Bill and Ellen McGettigan had one daughter, Mary Jane.
The oldest Aho son, Toivo, became a well-known bush pilot and operated his own company, Aho Flying Service. He married Evelyn Bowen, and they had seven children, one of whom died at an early age. The others were John, Terry Ann, Michael, Judy, Chris, and Tina. Toivo was killed in a plane crash in the Yukon Territory in 1948.
Helen Aho married Ed Manthey, and they had two children, Larry and Naomi. Stanley Aho married Vivian Vandelac in 1954, and they had three children, Doris Ellen, Thomas, and Ronald. (Thomas died by accidental drowning in 1997.) Betty Aho married Pete Anderson and they had no children. Mary Jane McGettigan married Angelo Hernandez and they had four girls, Kathy, Diane, Linda, and Margaret.
Bill McGettigan died in 1954; John Aho died in 1976; and Ellen died in 1989. Helen Manthey died in 1988 and Betty Anderson died in 1990.
- John Aho at the time of his wedding, circa 1915.
- Mary Jane McGettigan, left, and Betty Aho at the Anchorage family home on K Street.
- Mary Jane, William and Ellen McGettigan, Fairbanks, Alaska, 1945.
- Ellen Aho McGettigan, right, and daughter Helen Aho Manthey, circa 1984.
- Stanley Aho in uniform during World War II, 1944.
- Aho Flying Service Stinson SR5.
- Toivo Aho in his pilot’s license photograph, 1945.
- Betty and husband, Pete Anderson.