The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Rudolph Kemppainen


ISHPEMING, Mich. - Rudolph Kemppainen, 84, of Ishpeming, entered eternal life on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, at U.P. Health System-Bell surrounded by loving family.

Pastor Rudy was born Dec. 3, 1931, as the sixth of eight children of William and Eliina (Puska) Kemppainen in Hancock. He graduated from Hancock High School in 1949; Suomi College (Finlandia University) in 1951; Suomi Theological Seminary in 1955; and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1963 with a Master of Divinity. He was ordained into the gospel ministry on June 19, 1955, and his first call was to Bethany Lutheran Church in Kaleva, and St. John's Lutheran Church in Lake City.

While attending Suomi Theological Seminary he met and married Darley Anderson of Ironwood in 1954, the love of his life. They shared 61 years of married life together as servants of the church. In 1958 the Kemppainens returned to the Upper Peninsula where Rudy served as pastor at First Lutheran Church in Wakefield until 1966. From 1966 to 1969, they served Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Ill. Following that they moved to Negaunee where they served Immanuel Lutheran Church for 22 years.

Pastor Rudy was well known throughout the Upper Peninsula preaching in both English and Finnish as part of his ministry. In addition, he preached for many years on the TV program "Suomi Kutsu" and provided ministerial care for many people within the Upper Peninsula Finnish community.

In addition to his ministry, Pastor Rudy was significantly involved with a number of community and social organizations. He served the local and State Mental Health Community in a variety of roles for over 34 years, and he was a member and leader for many organizations including the Bell Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Ishpeming Housing Commission, past member of the Board of Trustees at Finlandia University, Member of the Pioneer Kiwanis of Ishpeming, member of the National Health Care Council, and past President of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards.

Pastor Rudy was the recipient of numerous social and State awards during his many years of community and social service, including being awarded the Hal Madden Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Finlandia University.

Pastor Rudy was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Alfie, Raymond, Carl and Roy; and three sisters, Elma, Martha and Ida.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Darley Kemppainen; all five of his children, Anne Todia, Florida; Faith and John Waldner, California; Gloria and Dr. Doug Brisson, Colorado; Dr. Sarah Kemppainen, Marquette, and Philip and Paula Kemppainen, Neenah, Wis. He is also survived by six wonderful granddaughters, Marja, Amber, Kyra, Kayla, Kimberly and Cassidy; two great-grandsons, Dylan Kai and Avery Finn; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be celebrated on Sunday, April 3, 2016, at 4 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church in Ishpeming with Rev. Lauri Maki and Rev. David VanKley officiating. Visitation will be held from 12:30 p.m. until the time of services at 4 p.m. at the church on Sunday. A dinner reception in the parish hall will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed in Pastor Rudy's memory to Finlandia University, 601 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930, or an organization of your choice.

The family would like to express its deep gratitude and thanks to Dr. Wayne Carlson, and the nursing staff of Bell Hospital for their compassionate care.

Rudy loved people. He also loved hot saunas, making wood, telling Finnish jokes and hosting gatherings at the family cabin.

"Well done thou good and faithful servant!"

Pastor Rudy's memorial page may be viewed at, where memories and condolences may be shared.


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