Cover photo for Saara Myrene Raappana's Obituary
Saara Myrene Raappana Profile Photo
1975 Saara 2024

Saara Myrene Raappana

July 14, 1975 — March 27, 2024


Saara Raappana, age 48, of Marshall, Minnesota, died under the care of hospice with family at her side on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at her home. Her family will be hosting a Celebration of Life Memorial Gathering from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in the Clubhouse (part of the Football Field Suites) at The Schwan Regional Event Center on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus - It will also be available on Zoom. Parking will be available in the RA Lot, south of the stadium. Campus map available here:

In lieu of flowers, the family recommends at least one of these ways to remember Saara:

- donate to the SMSU Foundation to help establish a scholarship in her name (Please include Saara’s name in the comment section on the online form or memo line on checks.);

- purchase a copy of her book Chamber After Chamber and donate it to your local library;

- donate your time and/or needed items to your local no-kill animal shelter.

Saara was born on July 14 in Marquette, MI, and carried her Yooper identity with great pride. She graduated from Marinette High School (WI) in 1993. She received her bachelor of arts in English and in human development from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1999 before earning her MFA in poetry from the University of Florida in 2007. In Gainesville, Saara met her future husband, Eric Doise. During many late nights at Waffle House and watching The OC and Gilmore Girls, they fell in love and eventually married in 2008 on Lookout Mountain. She would serve in Peace Corps China with Eric from 2011-2013 before the two moved to Marshall. 

Saara was a master writer. She recently won the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her book Chamber After Chamber (UMass Press). She also published the poetry chapbooks A Story of America Goes Walking (Shechem Press) and Milk Tooth, Levee, Fever (Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry earned her numerous grants and scholarships—including from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and Sewanee Writers Conference. Her poem “Letter to My Teenaged Self” was a winner of Best of the Net in 2016. She had recently started writing fiction, winning a Minnesota State Arts Board grant. Her writing garnered multiple Pushcart Prize nominations.

After largely avoiding exercise, Saara dedicated herself to working out in 2017. A licensed personal trainer and co-owner of the gym Restored Strength, Saara detested diet culture and toxic communication common to the fitness industry. She was listed in Psychology Today as a pioneer in using strength training for mental illness recovery and was an early adopter of trauma-informed weightlifting. 

Saara made everyone feel welcome. As an educator, she convinced students who had been labeled “bad writers” that they had been lied to. Her warmth, smile, and laughter lit up every room she was in, but her fierceness, loyalty, and strong sense of justice led her to fight for her loved ones and those bullied or abandoned. She was usually the funniest person in the room and also the smartest, but avoided pretention. Her sense of fashion was all her own: refined, bold, bright, and modern. There was not an animal she did not love, even those that scared her. 

Saara was predeceased by her beloved cat Spot. She is survived by her husband Eric Doise and cats Quintron Mr. Pussycat and Winifred Burkle Ms. Pussycat as well as her parents Paul and Sandra (Koski) Raappana. She is also survived by her parents Earl and Kathy (Hollander) Dau and four brothers: Keith Dau, his partner Shannon Beric, and his children Katelynn and Tyler; Josh Dau and his daughter Tenley Lewis; Chad Dau, his wife Wende (Fisher), and their children Addison and Mack; and Nate Dau and his wife Jenni (Hart).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Saara Myrene Raappana, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

The Schwan Regional Event Center

1501 State St, Marshall, MN 56258

Event hosted by Family in the Clubhouse

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