WHITE CLOUD, Mich. - Roy Marvin Luttinen, educator, coach, official, athlete, friend, husband and father, died of an apparent brain aneurysm at his home here on Jan. 12, 2013. The former White Pine resident was 81.
Born Mar. 15, 1931 to William and Mayme (Johnson) Luttinen, he attended Mass schools and was a member of the 1948 basketball team that captured the Michigan High School Athletic Assoc. Class D title. During his stellar career with the Rockets, Mass won 65 consecutive games.
After graduation, he attended Suomi College and played basketball for one year. He was then drafted into the US Army and served in Korea during that conflict, being honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. He later continued his education at Northern Michigan University, playing basketball there for a time and receiving his Bachelors' degree in 1956.
He then began his teaching and coaching career at Trout Creek High School, helping Bruce Warren lead the Anglers to two straight MHSAA Class E basketball titles. He then taught and coached at Bergland High School before spending the final 24 years of his education career as a teacher and coach at White Pine High School. He retired from teaching in 1986 and shortly after that, he was honored by the MHSAA for having officiated high school sports for 25 years.
He was well known for his athletic abilities, playing "town team" baseball from his youth into the 1960s and then slow-pitch softball for many years. A long home run, estimated to have traveled more than 500 feet, was hit over a towering elm tree at the diamond in Greenland, a feat he recounted to anyone within earshot at any point in time.
Roy married Taimi Jaakola, with her children, Barbara and John Perry, in 1959 and she preceded him in death in 1965. He then married Roberta (Kadletz) Sybeldon in 1967, blending six children and two families together as one. Roberta preceded him in death, passing in 1998. He married Gay Ferguson in August of 1999, and they traveled extensively between Michigan and California during that time. She survives.
He also is survived by three sons, Eric (Mary) Luttinen of Ishpeming, Mich., and their children, Avery and Benjamin, Michael (Rhonda) Sybeldon of Bergland, Mich., and their children, Nikki, Sami Jo, Byron and Julie, Thomas (Christine) Sybeldon of West Bend, Wis., and their children, Sarah and Carrie; two daughters, Robyn and Daryl Stayton of Stuttgart, Ark., and their children, Jamie and Suzanne, and Michelle (Mike) Klingsmith of Irma, Wis., and her children, Shannon, Damian and Nicholas. Roy is also survived by other great-grandchildren; grandchildren; stepchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepfather, Herman Kinnunen; two wives, Taimi and Roberta; two daughters, Cynthia (Sybeldon) Gruenberg and Barbara (Perry) Koski; three brothers, Reino, Waino and Norman; and three sisters, Mae Cornelius, Ruth Gallagher and Helmi "Vi" Pihlaja.
As per Roy's request, cremation will take place. The family is planning a memorial service later this year in White Pine.