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George A. Rasula

Obituary for George A. Rasula

October 14, 1922 - December 1, 2019
Clemson, South Carolina | Age 97

Obituary

George Arthur Rasula, age 97, died on December 1, 2019 after a brief illness. In his long life, he exhibited many talents (artist, photographer, trombone player, cross-country skier, military historian, sauna builder) but he was primarily and most proudly a soldier and a Finn.  Born in Eveleth, MN to Hilma Sofia Ahonen and George Robert Rasula, he spoke Finnish as a child and participated in activities of the Finnish-American Kalevala Society and the Lutheran church.  He shared his avid interest in Finland with his children and grandchildren, instilling in them the concept of sisu (perseverance or tenacity of purpose), along with a fondness for saunas, braided loaves of pulla, and homemade pasties (meat pies).  

Colonel Rasula enlisted in the Army in December 1942 and began a career in the military, retiring as a Colonel in 1974. His distinguished military combat service encompassed the Pacific theatre in the Second World War, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam. As a career army office, his tours of duty took him and his family to cross-continental and international posts. He also served as logistics advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon (1963-65), and was the U.S. Army attaché to Finland (1968 to 1971). He garnered many medals and honors, with pride of place in his heart going to the Order of the White Rose, bestowed by the government of Finland to heads of state and other dignitaries. 

He was a lifelong learner and obtained his college degrees while in the army and post-retirement. After retiring to Durham, N.H., he studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and earned an M.A. from the University of New Hampshire. After moving to Clemson, S.C. in 1989 he and Lucy became active members of the University Lutheran Church. He also participated in OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), giving talks on his military experiences, Finland and life in a mining community in Minnesota. As editor of the Changjin Journal he collected testimonials and perspectives on the Chosin battle in the Korean War. In that capacity he corresponded with hundreds of veterans and military historians, accumulated a unique archive, spoke at military conferences and reunions, and was featured in several documentary films.  He also produced the definitive Chosin Chronology.

George was preceded in death by his wife, Lucy Caroline Davis Rasula, whom he married in 1949 in Japan, where she was serving as an Army RN. He was also preceded in death by his brother William, his sister Ellen Washlesky, and his nephew Jay Rasula. He is survived by his two sons, Jon Davis Rasula of Asheville, N.C. and George Jared Rasula and spouse Suzi Wong of Athens, GA, and their daughters Sonja Rasula and spouse Jon Sager of Los Angeles, CA, and Hilda Rasula and spouse Daryl Brook and their children Desmond Rasula Brook and Sadie Brook Rasula of Los Angeles, CA.  He is also survived by his brother Walter Rasula of Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Walter's daughters Liisa and Lynn in Minnesota, and Lauren and spouse Richard Klement in Blue Mountain, GA. He also leaves behind a multitude of relatives in the Davis, Washlesky and Wong families. 

A memorial service will be held at a later date in Washington, D.C. where he will be interred beside his wife Lucy in Arlington National Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to Jed Rasula c/o University Lutheran Church, 111 Sloan St., Clemson, S.C. 29631. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the University Lutheran Church in Clemson, S.C. or to the Finlandia Foundation in Pasadena, CA. Send a check made payable to Finlandia Foundation National, PO Box 92046, Pasadena, CA 91109-2046.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • University Lutheran Church
    111 Sloan Street
    Clemson, SC 29631

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Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory

108 Cross Creek Road
Central, SC 29630
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