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Phyllis L. Rantala, 90, of Grand Rapids, died peacefully on January 9, 2019, at Grand Itasca Hospital, Grand Rapids.
Born July 22, 1928, in Hibbing, the daughter of Ray and Gladys (Halverson) Schellbach. She graduated from high school in Nashwauk where she grew up. She was very proud of her education at Miss Wood's Teaching School, a part of Macalester College, after which she taught kindergarten for 2 years.
She was happily married to the love of her life, Rufus Rantala, for 40 years. Throughout their journey they raised 4 children in Nashwauk, Rhode Island (while Rufus was in the Navy), Coleraine, and Negaunee, MI. While living in Michigan they made many trips back to MN to visit family and their son Tom. They had a long standing tradition of taking Finnish saunas. They enjoyed many years of sailing with their children while living in MN and the Upper Peninsula (on Lake Superior). They were devoted to their children, enjoyed all their activities, and spending time with them. They also loved time with their grandchildren, and great grandchildren. For the next 28 years Phyllis enjoyed living near her daughter, Sue, in Rochester, wintering near her son, Gary, in Ocala, FL, and returning to the Iron Range to live near her daughter Karen in Grand Rapids. After developing Alzheimer’s she lived with her children for 2 years, before moving to Garden Court Chateau. A special thank you to all who cared for her. She was active in the Lutheran Church throughout her life. She was an avid reader and walker, and enjoyed any adventure. She will be missed by all who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her loving parents, husband, and son, Thomas Rantala.
She is survived by her children, Susan (Robert) Patnaude of Rochester, Karen (Rick) Glorvigen of Key Largo, FL, and Grand Rapids, and Gary (Terry) Rantala of Ocala; her grandchildren, Chris Patnaude, Corey (Christel) Patnaude, Jennifer Baker, Emily (Jeremy) Moen, Erica Rantala, Kristel (Bryan) Pitko, Katie (Ryan) Tierney, Michael (Ashli) Glorvigen, Eric (Laura) Glorvigen, Dean Rantala, Matt Rantala; 18 great-grandchildren; her sister Joyce Johnson of Albert Lea, MN, daughter-in-law Cheryl (Joel) Forstrom of Hibbing, MN, sisters-in-law Marianne Rantala of Hibbing and Peggy Rantala of Proctor, MN, and several nieces and nephews.
A private celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Interment will be in the Itasca Calvary Cemetery, Grand Rapids. Arrangements are by the Peterson Funeral Chapel of Coleraine.
To leave an online message of condolence please visit our website at www.petersonfuneralchapelofcoleraine.com.