Ronald " Whitey" Wertanen, 87

April 15, 2024
Ronald "Whitey" Wertanen Ronald "Whitey" Wertanen

Ronald “Whitey” Wertanen passed away on March 28, 2024, at Water View Shores Care Facility in Two Harbors, Minnesota at the age of 87. Services will be held at the First Lutheran Church in Baudette, MN on Friday, April 12, 2024, at 1:00p.m., with a luncheon to follow at the American Legion Hall. Interment will be held at a later date.

Ronald was born on December 13, 1936, in Gogebic, Michigan to Einar A. Wertanen and Minnie W. (Ruikka) Wertanen. He graduated from Wakefield High school in Wakefield, Michigan. Ronald later married Darlene A. (Janssen) Theeler in 1966 in South Sioux City, Nebraska. They had one son together. Ronald was also a stepfather to Darlene’s children from a previous relationship. Ronald joined the United States Air Force in 1955. He was a proud veteran who served in many positions within the Air Force including Sergeant, Aircraft Control and Warning Technician. Ronald served in the Air Force for 22 years including his time in Korea and Vietnam. His service brought him to the Baudette Air Force Station in Baudette, Minnesota, where he finished out his military career until its closure in 1979. After retiring from the Air Force, Ronald was a chef at Sportsman’s Lodge. In 1985, Ronald and Darlene opened Whitey’s Drive-Inn and enjoyed many years serving the community until selling the restaurant in 1995. Known for his outstanding cooking, Ronald continued to cook for the community at many places in town including the Brink Center and hunting camps.

Ronald will be remembered by all of those who loved him and who will never forget his great sense of humor and infectious laugh! He enjoyed taking trips to the casino and many years fishing in Lake of the Woods.

He is survived by his sister Elanie Fontecchio, his son Keith Wertanen of Baudette, MN, granddaughter Tierra Olsen, step-sons Robert Theeler Jr. of Sioux City, IA; Craig (Kathy) Theeler of Sioux City, IA; Rick (Deb) Theeler of Des Moines, IA; step-daughters Deborah Theeler of Des Moines, IA; Donald (Silva) Theeler of Germany and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ronald was preceded in death by his wife Darlene Wertanen; parents Minnie and Einar Wertanen; stepsons John Theeler; Steve (Kay) Theeler; stepdaughters Pat Theeler; Pam (John) Mullen; siblings Everett Wertanen; Alvin (Jane) Wertanen; Evelyn (Ronald) Lahnala, Sally Minkin and brother-in-law Richard Fontecchio and sister-in-law Caroline Wertanen.

The Wertanen family would like to thank the staff at Water View Shores for the care they provided Whitey over the past two years. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.