LAUDERHILL, Fla. — Leo Ruotsala, former Rock resident, passed away on Aug. 9, 2017 in Lauderhill, Fla. Leo was born on Nov. 23, 1922, in the home of his parents, William and Elsie Ruotsala. He grew up there through the Depression working on the family farm and woods in North Rock. He graduated from Rock High School with the class of 1941.
After the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 and served as a Motor Machinist Mate Second Class Petty Officer. He separated from the US Naval/Coast Guard Service in 1946, after serving on anti-submarine duty in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic. He continued in a sea-faring career, initially on Great Lakes Ore Carriers and Commercial Ships in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Mediterranean.
After Cooking School, he worked his way up to Chef, primarily working in country-clubs and on yachts in Chicago, California and Florida. His employment took him on trips down the Mississippi and to America’s Cup races in Newport, R.I. His employers included several luminaries, such as Gene Autry, Gary Cooper and the Vanderbilts.
During the last years, he lived a retired life in the Ft. Lauderdale area surrounded by love from the Leturny and Stewart families. Although many years physically removed from the Rock area, Leo relished in telling stories about growing up in the area and was a long-time member of the Rock American Legion Post 559.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; his brother, Sulo Ruotsala; his sisters, Aili, Eila and Esther Ruotsala; and nephew Matt Ruotsala.
He is survived by his nephew, Mike Ruotsala and many great nieces and nephews. Interment will be in the Rock Cemetery, Maple Ridge Township. Family and Friends would like to thank the staff at VITAS Hospice Services and The Lenox on the Lake Assisted Living.