Randal Kirk Rantanen saved Donald V. Bresette from drowning, L’Anse, Michigan, October 12, 1974. At night, high winds and waves caused a boat containing Brisette, 37, and his father to capsize and sink in deep and cold water in Lake Superior. Among those who heard the cries for help was Randal, 16, high school student. Despite increasing wind and waves, Randal launched a rowboat and, guided in the darkness by shouts from Bresette, proceeded to where he was supporting his father, who was unconscious. In order not to overload the boat, Bresette held to its stern with one hand and supported his father with the other as Randal rowed back to shore, where the father was pronounced dead. 54254-6173
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Randal K. Rantanen, 43, of L’Anse, Mich., died on Dec. 2, 2001. He was born in L’Anse to George and Betty (Barbano) Rantanen on May 1, 1958.
Rantanen graduated in 1976 from L’Anse High School, where he played football as a tackle. In the spring of that year, school officials held a special assembly at which Rantanen was presented with the Carnegie Medal for saving a 37-year-old man from drowning in Lake Superior on Oct. 12, 1974, the L’Arse Sentinel newspaper reported.
Rantanen was a member of the Zeba Indian Mission United Methodist Church in L’Anse, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. He worked for Curwood Park, Tribal Construction and R.D. Kent Trucking. His hobbies included fishing, whittling wood, and hunting.
Rantanen was buried in the Pinery Indian Cemetery in L’Anse.
(Edited from an obituary published on the website for the Jacobson Funeral Home in L’Anse.)