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Betty Jane (Wood) Kettunen

June 8, 1924 ~ October 16, 2018 (age 94)

Betty Jane Kettunen, 94, Wausau, died Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at her home in the Garden Apartments, Wausau under the care of Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

Betty was born June 8, 1924 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Wausau to the late James and Viola (Laffin) Wood Sr.  She was a 1942 graduate of Wausau High School and went on to earn her teaching certification from UW Stevens Point.  Betty initially taught at the Little Red School House (now residing in Marathon Park) in the town of Stettin, later putting her wonderful skills as a seamstress to work at Prange’s.  She married Ralph Kettunen on July 17, 1946 at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  The couple was blessed with 5 children: David, Dennis, Kristine, Randy and Craig.  Betty and Ralph celebrated 53 years together prior to his death on February 1, 2000.        

Betty was a loving mother who valued being close to her family throughout her life.  She was very close to her parents, taking care of them late into their lives.  Betty was an excellent cook and baker, especially known for her Finnish coffee cake and Christmas cookies as well as homemade candies.  Her favorite times were spent in her flower garden (earning her Garden of the Month multiple times) and she continued this passion into her late 80’s.  Betty was also active with the Immanuel Lutheran Altar Guild, played in several card clubs and bowled in couple’s league with Ralph in earlier years.  She also enjoyed walking, painting ceramic Santa Clauses and reading later in life.    

She is survived by her loving children, David (Thelma “Willy”), Dennis (Peggy), Kristine Jenkins, Randy (Cindy) and Craig; grandchildren, Samantha (Jeff) Bartnik, Brad (Sara Berhow), Jody (Shana), Siiri (Michael) Forbes, Alison (Paul) Ryan, Jon (Ginny) Jenkins, Philip (Maggie Rose Danielson) Jenkins, Travis (Shannon), and Michael (Jolene Zannino); 15 great-grandchildren; dear friends, Coreen and Mike Immel; and extended family and friends.  She is preceded in death by her siblings, James Jr., Kenneth “Butch”, Roger and Guy and special friend, Cy Koppa.

The memorial service for Betty will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Immanuel Lutheran Church – ELCA (630 Adams Street, Wausau).  Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras will officiate.  Visitation will be from 10:00 AM until the time of service on Saturday at the church.  Inurnment will be at Restlawn Memorial Park.  Helke Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements; you may sign our family guestbook at

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be directed to the Marathon County Public Library (MCPL Foundation, 300 N. First Street, Wausau, WI 54403) or Immanuel Lutheran Church (630 Adams Street, Wausau).

A sincere word of appreciation goes to the staff of Garden Apartments and the nurses and staff of Interim Healthcare and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services for their compassionate care for Betty.

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