Carole Joan Rajala, 69, of St. Paul, died Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008 in St. Paul, Minn.

Services: Visitation 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30 in Rowe Funeral Home, Grand Rapids. Funeral Service: 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 in St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids. Rev. George B. Gilbertson officiating.

Carole was born in 1938 in Cumberland, Wis. to Alton and Janice Grimsrud. She grew up in Turtle Lake, Wis. and Zumbrota, Minn. where her father was a newspaper publisher and her mother was a teacher. In 1956, Carole graduated from Zumbrota High School and later graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. as a teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics Education. Carole taught high school home economics in Bakersfield, Calif. until a college classmate, Jack Rajala, persuaded her that marriage and living in the small northern Minnesota town of Bigfork was a great idea. Northern Minnesota became her and she cherished her new roles here including educator, community member (both in Bigfork and Grand Rapids), church lady, and hockey mom. In recent years, Carole had been living in St. Paul where she was active in the American Association of University Women and PEO clubs and a fan of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. She was a charter member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. She was also a founding board member of Itasca County Family YMCA. Her greatest joys in life, however, were her five children and the 11 grandchildren that filled her life with events, stories, sleep-overs, and great love. She is greatly missed.

0002000003F100000542�3EB,Carole was preceded in death by her parents.

Survived by her children, Allison (Steve) Ahcan of Grand Rapids, Minn., John (Lisa) Rajala of Grand Rapids, Minn., Katherine (Nick) Thomey of St. Paul, Minn., Nikolas (Teresa) Rajala of Grand Rapids, Minn., Nathan (Jennifer) Rajala of Grand Rapids, Minn.; her former husband and lifetime friend, Jack Rajala of Grand Rapids, Minn.; his sister, Alice (David) Stark of St. Paul, Minn.; her brothers, David (Deb) Grimsrud of Zumbrota, Minn., Eric (Kathy) Grimsrud of Bigfork, Mont.; 11 grandchildren, Sarah, Claire, Ethan, Patrick, Alex, Molly, Lilly, Joe, Nora, Jacob, and Caroline; many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Itasca County Family YMCA.

Arrangements by Rowe Funeral Home, Grand Rapids.