Cover photo for John W. Rantala, Jr.'s Obituary
John W. Rantala, Jr. Profile Photo
1944 John 2024

John W. Rantala, Jr.

May 9, 1944 — February 26, 2024

Age 79, of Newport, passed away on February 26, 2024.

Preceded in death by parents, John W. & Helen Rantala, Sr.; and sister, Roxie Russell.

Survived by brother, Craig (Teresa) Rantala; nephews, Erik (Hilda) Russell, Nathan (Genevieve) Rantala and Bryan (Elizabeth) Rantala.

John was a West Point graduate (and a gymnast there), a Company Commander in Vietnam where he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with Oak leaf cluster, and earned his MBA at the University of Minnesota. He retired from the Reserves after serving as a Battalion Commander (LTC). After retirement, John became a licensed boat surveyor. He went on to become a collector/trader in old wooden boats. 

John enjoyed hunting and fishing and being in the outdoors. While he was stationed in Alaska he hunted Dall Ram. Later years while in Minnesota he hunted deer. He also enjoyed the companionship of dogs and had a succession of black Labs. He was a longstanding member of the Shriners organization, including President in his last few years. John never married, had no children, but lots of friends.

Service of committal with full military honors 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 10 (Assembly Area #4) at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, 7601 34th Ave. So., Minneapolis, MN 55450. (Please enter the cemetery through the second entrance labeled "Funeral Assembly Areas" and proceed to Assembly Area #4 by 9:45 a.m. Friday.)

Following the burial service at Ft. Snelling, a celebration of John's life will be held at Jensen's Food & Cocktails, 3840 Rahn Rd., Eagan, MN 55122 starting at 11:00 a.m. Please RSVP to this portion of the service by clicking here or email

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John W. Rantala, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, May 10, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Fort Snelling National Cemetery

7601 34th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55450

Assembly Area #4 (Arrive by 9:45 AM)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Friday, May 10, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Jensen's Food & Cocktails

3840 Rahn Rd, Eagan, MN 55122

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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