In loving memory of Kari Sevón, (21.2.1944 - 12.2.2013),
The Godfather and Grand Old Man of Finnish PEZ collecting


I am writing this in the early days of June 2013, about a month after the 7th Finnish PEZ gathering FinnPEZ. Nature in Finland is just starting to bloom, preparing itself for a beautiful but short summer. Although it is a time of many new births in nature, I quite often find myself thinking of the other part of life – the loss of a friend. Just four months ago, in February 2013, our PEZ


community received very sad news of the passing of the most iconic PEZ collector in Finland, Mr. Kari Sevón.  This came as a surprise to us all, even though we knew about his struggle with a severe illness during the past few years. We all received the news with great sadness.


Kari was born in Helsinki, but lived a large part of his life with his loved ones in Eastern Finland, in the towns of Iisalmi and Varkaus where he worked as a teacher and school principal. He loved music and good food, and was a true connoisseur of beer and whisky. He was also an active member in the administration of his parish. A few years ago Kari retired from his work as a principal. After his retirement he could devote his time to his loved ones and to his hobbies– including the hobby he loved most: PEZ. Kari’s interest in PEZ started as a youngster in the 1950s when he received a package of them from his relatives in the US. At the time he obviously did not know that in 40 years’ time he would start collecting them. Amazingly, in the 1990s when he began to collect actively he still had those few PEZ dispensers that he had got in the 1950s. So, without any doubt we can say that he started his collection in the 1950s. In comparison to any collector, this is quite remarkable.

My brother Markku and I met Kari for the first time in 2006. He was the first PEZ collector we had ever met face to face. And what a meeting it was! It was amazing to discuss PEZs and all that relates to them with someone who knew exactly what you were talking about. From the first moment on, it was obvious that Kari was a sociable person of the highest quality. He was also very knowledgeable about PEZ, much more than we were at that time. The evening we spent in a restaurant in Helsinki was magical in every way. The stories, the experiences, the atmosphere, the laughs, the feeling – we will always remember them as the foundation of our friendship. I am quite certain that without this meeting the FinnPEZ event would never had started. Inspired by our meeting, Kari, Markku and I arranged the first FinnPEZ in 2007.

It was not just us “Southern Brothers”, as Kari used to call us, who were highly inspired and influenced by him in the Finnish PEZ community. Over the years, Kari became the face of PEZ collecting in Finland. Among the current Finnish PEZ collectors there are many who say that Kari’s appearance on the Finnish national TV was the starting point of their collecting career — a moment when they said: “WOW! Look at all those cool PEZs, the collector himself, and the size of his collection”. We all remember that moment. After meeting Kari the collectors became even more inspired by his vivid stories and his expertise on PEZs. His jovial and warm personality had an effect on all who had the pleasure to come in contact with him. Kari was also very active on the international PEZ scene and visited for example the Linz PEZ Gathering. Later I have heard from people all over the world about Kari’s active social networking among PEZ collectors and his memorable e-mails.

During the past few years of his active PEZ collecting Kari acquired a truly amazing collection of PEZs. When I say ‘amazing’, I really mean AMAZING. In any standards, it was a most remarkable collection, which included pieces such as Mary Poppins, MMM Owl and several other stunning dispensers, some of which can be seen in the pictures of past FinnPEZ events. We were all proud of his breath-taking collection.

I am very happy that I got to know Kari and had a friend like him, even though the relationship ended all too soon. I will always remember Kari with my heart filled with warm memories of him. The PEZ community has lost one its greats, but he will never be forgotten.

Kari, I will think of you every time I taste a smoky Scottish single malt whisky. Have a pleasant journey - You are missed.

In Espoo, Finland, 3 June 2013