Kenneth Rintala

HOUGHTON CANAL -Kenneth W. Rintala, 81, a resident of Houghton Canal, passed away suddenly Jan. 31, 2013, at his home.

He was born Feb. 25, 1931, in Painesdale, a son of the late Walter and Florence (Bollard) Rintala. As a child, he moved to the family farm on the Houghton Canal. Ken attended the Painesdale, Redridge and Houghton High Schools.

At the age of 16, Mr. Rintala enlisted into the United States Army Air Corps. He was stationed in Germany during the Berlin airlift, where he was part of an American hockey team that played against the German Olympic hockey team.

Mr. Rintala returned home to take over and run the family farm on Houghton Canal. He later joined the Iron Workers Union and first worked on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, as well as various building projects at Michigan Technological University and different projects across the Midwest.

On Feb. 25, 1956, he was united in marriage to the former LaVerne Maatta. The couple resided and raised their family on the family farm. LaVerne preceded Ken in death on Feb. 6, 2012, after 55 years of marriage.

Kenneth was a member of the Portage Lake Pioneers that had won the Gibson Cup in 1950-51. He was also an avid sportsman who enjoyed hunting, especially trips to Montana to hunt elk with his brothers. He loved fishing, both in summer and winter.

He was proud of his Finnish heritage and loved the opportunity to speak Finn. He raised his children to know the importance of family, including distant relatives. Ken enjoyed playing cribbage, and attending and listening to hockey games. He was a member of Rangers Post 6165 VFW in South Range and the Iron Workers Union.

Preceding him in death were his wife, LaVerne; his parents; his step-father, Yalmer Hermanson; infant sister, Mildred Hermanson.

Surviving are his children: Keith (Shannon Fletcher) Rintala of Dodgeville, Kimberly (Jay) Schweitzer of Houghton and Kelly (Steven) White of Ramsey, Minn.; his grandchildren, Eden, Miriam, Eero, Jennifer, Kurtis, Kenneth, Jerett, Jordan and Dylan; his five great-grandchildren; his brothers, Dennis (Nina) Rintala of Anaconda, Mont., and Russell Rintala of Butte, Mont.; a special nephew, Jeremy Rintala; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service for Kenneth will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Hancock with Rev. Bucky Beach to officiate. Military Honors will be conducted by Ranger Post 6165 VFW of South Range, which will follow a memorial service in the funeral home. Spring burial will be in the Oskar Cemetery. Friends may call on Wednesday from 1 p.m. until time of services in the funeral home.

To view Kenneth’s obituary or to send condolences to the family, please visit

The Memorial Chapel Funeral Home in Hancock has been assisting the family with arrangements.