Matthew Karl Ruotsala

GWINN, MI. – Matthew Karl Ruotsala, 63, of Gwinn, Michigan passed away from natural causes on Saturday, October 26th, 2013.

Matthew was born July 8, 1950 in Rock, Michigan. He was the son of Sulo and Georgianna (Callies) Ruotsala. During his early life, he grew up swimming in the creeks, riding horses, and working on the family farm north of Rock. He played football for the Rock Little Giants and graduated from Rock High School in 1968. He started his college education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and then, transferred to Northern Michigan University where he went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with Minors in Conservation and History.

After graduating, he served as a United States Army Active Duty Field Artillery Officer. During his service, he was part of the Army Corps of Engineers and earned several awards, including a Commendation, an Achievement Award and an Army Meritorious Service Medal. He also served in the United States Army National Guard Engineering Branch from 1976-1991, retiring as a Major. He also worked for many years for the Michigan Rural Water Association ensuring quality drinking water for residents across the Upper Peninsula.

Matt enjoyed the outdoors; camping, hunting and fishing with his family in his younger years. He inspired a love of the natural world in all of his children. He was also a great cook and was well known for his mojakka, a Finnish stew. He could do anything from installing his own electrical wiring to repairing old tractors to building motorbikes for his children.

He is survived by: brother, Michael Ruotsala; daughters, Kiisa Wiegand (Ruotsala), Amber Sahul (Ruotsala), and Bonnie Ruotsala; son, William M. Ruotsala; grandchildren, Penn Wiegand and Eva Sahul. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sulo and Georgianna Ruotsala; his aunt, Eila Ruotsala; and his grandparents, Elsie and William Ruotsala. He will be remembered with love by his family in private ceremony. The Fassbender Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderfuneral