Michele Rantanen

Michele Rantanen, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, passed away at the age of 79 on May 7, 2024, at her home at 75 State Street Senior Living, Portland, Maine.

Born Joan Waples on July 16, 1944, in Warren, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of the late Rhea Mercier Waples and John G. Waples.

Michele leaves behind her sister, Patricia Bratz of Warren, PA, niece Melissa Corbin, nephew August Bratz, and their families.

Throughout her long and interesting career with companies like Cole Haan and Athena Health, Michele was well-respected and formed many lasting friendships.

Michele was an avid sailor, a passionate cook, a competitive Scrabble player, and, in her later years, an enthusiastic painter. She held a special affection for Golden Retrievers and loved her dogs, Samantha, Ruby, and Breeze.

Some of her fondest memories were of living at Sugarloaf, sailing the coast of Maine, going to camp, and the many fun-filled escapades with her dear YaYa friend group.

Known for her sharp mind, love of a good book, positive attitude, and daily dose of the New York Times, Michele was a conversationalist who thrived on meaningful and heartfelt discussions, particularly those over a good meal and a glass or two of wine.

Her adventurous spirit took her from living in major cities like Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Boston, to fulfilling her dream of traveling to Italy, where she explored Rome and Sicily. Yet, she always returned to Maine, her true home, drawn back by the smell of salt air, rocky coastline, good food, and proximity to dear friends.

Michele’s curiosity, conversation, and laugh will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Michal J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.