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Life Story / Obituary
A kind, fun-loving, and hardworking man, Robert Raisanen was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was strong and courageous, facing whatever came his way head on and serving as an inspiration to all who were near. Bob was completely devoted to his family, and there was nothing that made him more proud than witnessing his family tree blossom to include the grandchildren he treasured. Nothing will be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. With the end of the war in 1945, there was dancing in the streets as the dark days of the Great Depression and the harsh realities of war were finally behind us. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Robert Erwin and Betty (Paauwe) Raisanen as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as July dawned in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1947. The big day finally arrived on July 5th when the baby boy they named Robert Ervin drew his first breath. He was the younger of two children as he was raised in the family home alongside his sister, Pati, who was three years older. Robert’s father worked in auto body while his mother focused her time and attention at home. He attended local schools including Union High School. In addition to holding down his studies, Bob worked in a restaurant where he learned to cook. Omelets were his specialty.
After graduating from high school in 1965, Bob was eager for all that life had in store. He enlisted in the Navy and served on a boat in Vietnam. Like other young servicemen, Robert was exposed to agent orange. He spent a total of three years serving in the military, from 1966 through 1969. Bob then returned to Grand Rapids and began working at Miller Metals.
New and exciting changes were in store for Bob when he met a coworker named Carol Putt in 1972. They began dating, and on February 14, 1973, they were married in Grand Rapids. Together they welcomed three children, Kimberly, Bryan, and Stacey, into their hearts and home. Their family frequently moved, but they primarily remained on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. However, once they moved into the Northview school district, Carol put her foot down and said they wouldn’t be moving out of the school district. The family enjoyed a memorable trip to Virginia and Washington, D.C., and summers often found them at Cedar Point, Great America, or Dick and Mary Campbell’s cottage on a lake. Together they spent lots of time fishing and swimming. Although he and Carol divorced in 1989, Bob was always so grateful for the children they shared.
There were so many things that Bob enjoyed over the years. He liked “donating to the Indians” by visiting the casino as he liked both cards and the slots. Bob frequented both Soaring Eagle and Four Winns. He got into motorcycles, and later on he had a Harley-Davidson Street Glide. Bob especially liked riding with friends and his son, Bryan. When he was younger, he played the accordion and was in a band with his friend, Roger. He was a fan of country music himself. Bob had quite a sweet tooth as he enjoyed baked goods and long john donuts with creme and coffee. He also liked pizza and beer as well as Jim Beam, but he didn’t like pasta. Bob did like to cook some on his own. He always loved being outside, and he liked mowing the grass but didn’t much care for other outdoor chores. For years he enjoyed golfing. Bob could do a few things here and there, but he wasn't too handy overall.
Later on, Bob met a woman named Linda, and in 1997 they were married. Together they enjoyed going camping, and they also went to University of Michigan football games every season. Also during his later years, Bob battled with his health. In 2005, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and after undergoing treatment and surgery, he came out on top. In 2015, his cancer returned, and again Bob fought hard. Although he underwent multiple surgeries, immune therapy, and more, it just seemed to spread so rapidly. Through it all, he continued to savor the moments spent with his family. Bob loved being a grandfather and was very active in the lives of his grandchildren.
Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Robert Raisanen was a blessing to his family and friends. He worked hard, but he took the time to play hard, too. Bob was never one to worry about the little things, rather, he faced both trials and triumphs head on. There was no greater gift in his life than his family, and it was when he was surrounded by their love that he was happiest. Dearly loved, Bob will be forever missed.
RAISANEN – Mr. Robert E. Raisanen age 71, of Grand Rapids, passed away on July 26, 2018. He is survived by his children, Kimberly (Bob) Ross, Bryan (Syl) Raisanen and Stacey Raisanen; grandchildren, Carter, Makenzie and Brendan Ross; sister, Pati (Fred) Schuey; and Carol Raisanen and Linda Raisanen. Bob served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He also worked for Kysor Michigan Fleets and Evans Temp Com as a supervisor and plant manager for many years. Friends and family will gather to share stories from 2-4 PM, followed by military honors, on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to American Cancer Society. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Bob’s lifestory, submit a memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.