Former Rhinelander Mayor Mary Kinnunen, 58, died late Wednesday night from ALS. She was born May 7, 1957 in Marquette, Michigan to Reino and Sylvia (Hivala) Kinnunen. Survivors include her husband, Jeffery and daughters Eleanor and Megan.
Kinnunen was elected to the city council in 1998 and Mayor in 2000. Listed among her accomplishments during her two terms, she cast the tie-breaking city council vote to adopt volume-based garbage pickup, a move, along with other actions, credited with reducing property taxes. While an alderman, Kinnunen worked with BMX families to create the BMX track at West Park.*
A celebration of Mary’s life will take place at a date/time to be announced at ArtStart, 68 S. Stevens Street, Rhinelander.
Donations in Mary’s memory may be made to ArtStart, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin or the Rhinelander District Library Foundation.
A complete obituary will be published later. Private condolences for Mary’s family can be expressed at www.carslonfh.com. The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is handling the arrangements.
*Source: online column written by Kinnunen in 2008