He was born in 1934, and a third-generation Douglas and Juneau resident.
He was in the Alaska State Defense Force and Civil Air Patrol. He served in the U.S. Navy and Army Reserves. He was also an Alaska author, historian. His work was featured in "As It Was," of Capital City Weekly.
He was a member of many organizations including Pioneers of Alaska, Gastineau Channel Historical Society, Moose Lodge 700, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.
He was proceeded in death by mother and father, Bert and Marjorie Ruotsala.
He is survived by his wife Janet Ruotsala, of Juneau and family. His children are Peggy MacInnis, Doug Whelan and wife Carol, of Juneau; Michael Whelan, of Wrangell and Bruce Whelan and wife Theresa, of Anchorage.
He is survived by several nieces and nephews and his grandchildren, Jana MacInnis, of Colorado and Jennifer Whelan, of Portland and great grandson, Lee Douglas Stoops.
On Friday, June 1 a memorial service was held at the Alaskan Memorial Park at 1 p.m. A social remembrance followed.