Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ralph Richard Wirtanen

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Ralph Richard Wirtanen, 69, of Ironwood, died on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, after suffering a fatal heart attack.

Ralph was born in Bessemer Township, on Dec. 17, 1952, to T. R. and Siiri H. (Johnson) Wirtanen. He graduated from Luther L. Wright High School and attended Gogebic Community College and Northern Michigan University. He was an insurance agent for years, and at the time of his death he was employed by different companies as a merchandiser.

Ralph was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironwood. His legacy was exemplary. He was on the church council and also served as its president for many years.

Ralph was vice president of the Lake Gogebic Improvement Association. He loved the lake and spent as much time as possible there. He was very serious about keeping the lake clean and safe.

Ralph was a kind and gentle man who greeted everyone, friends or strangers with a smile. He will be dearly missed.

Ralph is survived by his sons, Ross (Junko), Japan, and Andrew (Shannon), Marquette; a sister, Sandra (Bernard) Mitchell; a brother, Chris (Betty Lou); his sister-in-law, June Wirtanen; five grandsons, Aki, Sena, Lenni, Arlo and Esko; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Philip.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 9:30 a.m., at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 111 S. Curry St., in Ironwood, with the Rev. Douglas Norquist officiating.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family. To send online condolences please go to

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