The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wes Rautiola


February 9, 2018

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Wes Rautiola, 82, a long-time resident of Wakefield, passed away peacefully Tuesday evening, Feb. 6, 2018.

Wes was born on Jan. 18, 1936, in Mass, a son of Andrew and Allie (Moilanen) Rautiola. He attended Mass High School and graduated in 1954.

Wes was inducted into the U.S. Army and proudly served his country for two years. He was honorably discharged as a Specialist Third Class on Feb. 1, 1957, and received the Good Conduct Medal.

On Sept. 21, 1957, Wes was united in marriage to the love of his life, Jean Hazel Keto, at Wainola Lutheran Church in Mass City. They were young in love FOREVER, shared more than 60 wonderful years together and were blessed with four children.

A first generation Finnish couple: A marriage of abundant SISU and positive fulfillment; providing a home of happiness and valuable life lessons for their children.

His priority was to be with the ones he loved: His family, friends, community and church. Serving others: Building saunas for his children's homes and multiple other helping hand projects. His faith was strong and he loved his church family: A council member, serving on the property committee, the men's club, active member of the All Saints Lutheran Church, even the women's joy circle counted on him for his coffee making skills. He coached us to be the best we can be, and also taught many Little League players to have winning attitudes.

His work ethic started with peeling of pulp for one-half a cent a stick and got his first raise to a penny the next year. Wes retired from Great Lakes Gas Company in 1996 and enjoyed 22 years of well-earned retirement. Years of his passion were spent fishing and hunting, with many fish stories and trophy bucks, but his first focus was creating the memories with his sons and son-in-law.

His grandchildren and great-grandchildren have the most fun memories of the snow sled run in the back yard, times at their cabin, "Seldom Home," at Lake Superior, and even their last "inside" snowball fight this past Christmas. Wes made sure that he and Grandma were at every special life event possible.

He will be dearly missed, but has a legacy of loving memories for all of us. We are grateful for all of the support and kindness.

Wes is survived by his devoted wife, Jean; three beloved children, Craig (Virginia) Rautiola, Vacaville, Calif., Carrie (Chuck) Carson, Oakland, and John (Linda) Rautiola, Merrill, Wis .; his loving daughter-in-law, Heather (Rautiola) Olson, Onalaska, Wis .; eight cherished grandchildren, Kristen (Matt) Shepherd, Craig (Lindsey), Katie (John) VanLieshout, Jenny, Leah, Sarah, Jacqueline and Anna; six treasured great-grandchildren; a dedicated sister, Evelyn Rautiola, Waukegan, Ill .; and several dear nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

He was predeceased by his parents; a son, David, on July 18, 2004; and two brothers, Clyde and Roy.

The family will greet relatives and friends on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 10 to 10:45 a.m., at All Saints Lutheran Church, with the honor guard beginning at 10:15 a.m. A funeral service will follow the visitation at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Bill Jacobson officiating.

Pallbearers will be Carl Nurmi, Harold Schroeter, Bernie Ylkanen, Tom Richter, Roger Saubert and Gerald Pikka.

Military rites will be accorded at the church under the auspices of the Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 and Wakefield American Legion Post 11 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.S. Army Honors Team. A rendition of Taps will be played by his nephew, Steve Roehm.

Luncheon will follow in the church fellowship hall.

A committal service and interment will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery, Greenland Township, in the spring.

Expressions of affection in a charitable contribution in Wes' memory are suggested in lieu of flowers to All Saints Lutheran Church, 1202 Putnam St., Wakefield, MI 49968.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online at


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