Lillian Jeanette Rantala, age 78, of Alston, Michigan, passed away on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at Baraga County Memorial Hospital following a short illness.
Lillian was born on February 8, 1944 in Pittsburgh, California where her father was stationed during World War 2. She was the daughter of Theodore and Lempi (Korpi) Carlson and grew up on the family farm in Nisula. She graduated from Baraga High School with the class of 1962. After high school, Lillian moved to Milwaukee and found a job with the T. L. Smith Company working in an office.
On November 24, 1962 Lillian married William Rantala, the neighbor boy down the road, in Nisula and they continued living and working in the Milwaukee area until 1966 when they moved to Detroit, then returned to the U.P. They made their home in Alston where Lillian lived until just before her death. Lillian raised her two sons until 1980 when she returned to work at the Farm Service Agency in Baraga and continued working until her retirement in 2003.
She played the accordion, starting lessons while she was still in school and entertaining at most of the nursing homes in Ontonagon, Baraga and Houghton Counties, playing the residents’ favorite Finnish polkas. Lillian was very active in her community, including teaching Sunday School and the Laird Township School Parent-Teacher Organization. She was a faithful member of Mission United Lutheran Church, the VFW Auxiliary Post 7646 in Alston and the Kountry Kuties Red Hats.
Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, her husband William, her sister Phyllis Koivu, and her brothers-in-law, Jerry Holmstrom, Dale Koski and Fred Rantala. She is survived by her children, Dean (Susan) Rantala and Duane (Lori) Rantala, her grandchildren, Amanda (Brandon) Finney, Christian Henderson and Carleigh Rantala, siblings Eileen Holmstrom (Koski), Janice (Todd) Lukkari, David (Doris) Carlson, Steven Carlson and Brian Carlson, brother-in-law Robert Koivu, sister-in-law Janice Rantala, and many nieces, nephews, and good friends.
Her funeral service will be on Wednesday, June 29th at 11:00 a.m. at Mission United Lutheran Church with Rev. Kelly Ylitalo officiating. The family will receive friends for one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Burial will be in the Nisula Cemetery. Jacobson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Friends may sign Lillian's guest book or send condolences at www.jacobsonfuneralhome.com