Vivian Kathyren Ruotsala Robinson

LEXINGTON, KY.,/EAST LANSING/GWINN, MI. – Vivian Kathyren Ruotsala Robinson, formerly of Gwinn, Michigan and East Lansing, Michigan, died in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the age of 92.

She was interned at Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 through Milward Funeral Directors as reported in the Lexington Herald-Leader that same day.

Vivian attended Grace Lutheran Church in Gwinn, Michigan. She graduated from Gwinn High School in 1938. At a time when many women did not finish high school, she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State College (MSC) in 1942 as the only Physical Education major with Honors. She participated at MSC in Department of Agricultural dinner meetings at the home of then President John Hannah. She was active with her family in raising funds for Finnish Relief during the World War II Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union.

She began at MSC a lifelong love of exercise, particularly swimming. She served as Vice-President of the competitive Green Splash, a group begun to promote swimming. She taught Senior Life Saving classes.

Vivian joined Faith Lutheran Church in Lexington, KY in 1970. She was an avid golfer and trained championship Working Group Boxer Dogs, Rocky and Flicka, both of whom preceded her in death.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents, Victor and Lempi Ruotsala of Gwinn, Michigan; her brother, former State of Michigan Director of Audits and World War II Army Air Corps Veteran Ray E. Ruotsala, and his wife Ann T. Ruotsala of Lansing, Michigan; her brothers Walter and Arne Ruotsala of Gwinn, Michigan; and, her sister Ellen Ruotsala of Detroit, Michigan and Petoskey, Michigan who served in the United States Navy in Hawaii during World War II immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Vivian’s spouse Robert M. Robinson (Major, Ret.), died in 1997. He served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

She is survived by her nieces Dr. Susan Ruotsala Storm (Mrs. Phillip) of Petoskey, Michigan and Judy Ruotsala Smith (Mrs. David G.) of Boyne City, Michigan; her grandnieces Dr. Seneca A. Storm of Dimondale, Michigan and Elizabeth E. A. Storm, J.D., MBA of Petoskey, Michigan, and her grandnephew Phillip B. Storm, jr., MBA (Lorae) of California as well as her great-grandnephews, Daniel Joseph and Michael Jacob Storm of California; as well as members of her late-husband’s family, many cousins and friends.

Vivian liked to learn through travel. Prior to his death, she and her husband traveled the globe, often benefiting from Vivian’s detailed record-keeping and ability to plan and prepare in advance, as well as her ability to speak several languages. Vivian was a strong, independent woman whose intelligence enabled her to persevere through tragedy. Vivian enjoyed Fiber and Fine Arts, as well as her home and friends near Lexington, KY where she continued her passion for swimming and learning. She had great affection for The University of Kentucky donating upon her mother’s death in 1973 the room-size weaving looms that had been made from memory of ones used in Finland.

The extended Ruotsala family asks that gifts in her name be sent to Faith Lutheran Church, 1000 Tates Creek Road, Lexington, KY 40502 1-859-266-7621, or The University of Kentucky, ATTN Pauline Pope, Special Projects, 129 Sturgill Development Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0015 (859) 257-3187 , or send email to to benefit UK College of Fine Arts, or The Donovan Scholars Program that allows Kentucky residents over 65 to take classes at no charge.