ESCANABA - Leo Rahoi celebrated his 90th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a dinner for close family and friends at The Stone House Restaurant.
Born 1923 in Iron Mountain, he graduated from Houghton's Michigan Tech/Michigan School of Mining (1949), and was a civil engineer for 36 years with the Michigan Highway Department. A long-time resident of Escanaba, Rahoi once served as a City Councilman and was instrumental in the construction of the new city hall. He also worked to encourage the Department of Transportation to locate their headquarters in Escanaba instead of the proposed location in Crystal Falls.
A lifetime of hunting, trapping and fishing, makes Leo's stories some of the favorites around evening campfires.
Throughout the years, Rahoi's other interests have included home construction, logging endeavors, and his passion for flying. Just last month, Leo and his brother Urban (at age 94 is still an active licensed pilot residing in Fairbanks, Alaska) drove across-country together to Orlando, Fla., to fly (not ride) a P-51 bomber similar to one Urban flew during World War II.
Leo's biggest passion however, is politics. He can frequently be found in the afternoons exchanging ideologies and political theories with locals at The Donut Connection.
Rahoi was married for 56 years to his former wife, Ruby, who passed away in 2012, and together they raised three daughters, Sandra Vietzke of Rapid River, Cynthia Plouff of Indianapolis, Ind., and Lynette (killed by a drunk driver in 1980). Leo also has two younger sisters, Phylis Ewig of Iron Mountain and Evelyn Peterson of Sault Ste. Marie.
The celebration of Leo's 90th birthday will continue next month, when he will join an extended gathering of family including grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Cruise where he will be the guest of honor.
But, according to family members, you won't find this 90 year "young" guy sitting on a deck chair, he'll be snorkeling with stingrays and swimming with sea lions.