Phyllis A Rutkowski

July 22nd, 1927 to September 6th, 2023

Phyllis Ann Rutkowski, 96, of Fort Gratiot, died Wednesday, September 6, 2023. She was born July 22, 1927 in Jerusalem Township, Ohio to the late John and Amelia Ninigen. She married Phillip R. Rutkowski on February 14, 1953 in Lansing, Michigan. He preceded her in death on November 6, 1996.

What an amazing, successful woman in everything from her love and support to her husband, Phillip, to her great accomplishments in her business career. She received her training from Michigan State University with an accounting background and began working at a young age for Clark Equipment Company. Throughout the years she advanced within the company when most women had very little chance to succeed, but her secret was…she always believed you needed to prove yourself…and she did. After years of hard work, she became the Marketing Organizing Budget Director for Clark Equipment. In 1958 she traveled to Havana, Cuba for six weeks. Clark Equipment made the move to Havana during the Cuban Revolution from 1953 to 1959. Again, this little dedicated, feisty, courageous woman never let anything get in her way.

In 1974 she was featured in an article with four other women in Calhoun County - where under 40 % of the county work force was female. In this article, it explained that in those days women usually considered their domain as the hearth and home and rarely that of a business executive. It also stated how these women were pulling salaries and carrying the responsibility of business executives. In 2018, she received recognition of her 50 years of membership from the Institute of Management Accountants. She was 91 years old and still going strong and driving. She even purchased her last home in Lansing, Michigan at the age of 92, proving how she never gave up.

Her two nephews knew that she was always the boss and when she explained what she wanted they jumped to it. They also went back and forth, each claiming they were her favorite nephew. She always smiled and loved both of them to the fullest degree. She loved traveling with her husband in their airstream to go fly fishing and enjoyed golfing.

The family would like to thank Lakeshore Woods Assisted Living where she lived and met many special, dear friends. A special thanks to her dearest friend, Linda Schirmer, who was always there for her. They enjoyed many years of working together, going out and having fun.

She is survived by two nephews, Gerald Rutkowski and Walter Parry; and many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Phillip; her brothers-in-law, Edward and Ted Rutkowski; and sister-in-law, Jenny Parry.

Private family graveside services have taken place.

Burial was in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.

Arrangements are by Karrer-Simpson Funeral Home. To send condolences, visit

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