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Raymond Matthew Kotaniemi

November 26, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

LAURIUM - Raymond Matthew Kotaniemi, 92, passed away Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, at the Winona House of Portage Pointe in Hancock where he had been a resident for the last three months after suffering a series of strokes.

Ray was born March 10, 1920, in Mayflower Location (Kearsarge), a son of the late August and Eugenia (Wanha) Kotaniemi. He attended the Old Colony School in Kearsarge.

Ray served in the U.S. Army (Artillery) overseas, with a rank of Sergeant. During the European Battle of the Bulge, he was captured by the enemy and held as a prisoner of war for four months in Germany until his liberation. During his service, Ray was decorated with three Bronze Stars, a POW medal and a Purple Heart.

On Dec. 22, 1945, he was united in marriage to Marion Jackonen in Laurium where they made their home for 53 years. Marion passed away on May 7, 1998.

They had one daughter, Marlene Ann, who died prematurely at birth.

Ray was employed with the New York Central Railroad in Kalamazoo from 1939 to 1942, when he enlisted in the Army. After his military service, Ray worked for Kilpela Appliance Company in Calumet from 1946 to 1950. He then worked for Peninsula Gas Company in Calumet for 33 years, retiring in 1982.

Ray was a member of the First Apostolic Lutheran Church in Calumet. He was also a life member of the Disabled American Veterans of Chassell, V.F.W. Post 3900 of Laurium and the Purple Heart Society in Chassell.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Ray was preceded in death by his five brothers, John, Albert, Charles, Reuben and Paul; two sisters, Stella Laplander and Martha Towns.

Surviving are three sisters, Edna (Richard) Zent of Boca Raton, Fla., Helen Rikard of Muskegon, Mich. and Nina (John) Ranta of Redford, Mich.; two sisters-in-law, Mary Kotaniemi and Irene Somero; special caregiver niece, Mary Storm; many other nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Funeral services for Mr. Kotaniemi will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday in the First Apostolic Lutheran Church on M-203 in Calumet with Pastor Richard Eskola officiating. Spring burial will be in Lake View Cemetery with the Copper Country Veterans conducting military honors. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet and one hour prior to the service in the church.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at



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