KALEVA — Norman Ferdinand Kaskinen, 88, a lifetime resident of Kaleva, died Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, at Munson Hospice House in Traverse City. He was born May 26, 1924, in Kaleva, the son of John and Saimi (Hagelberg) Kaskinen.
Norm graduated from Kaleva Rural Agricultural School in 1942. He attended Suomi College in Hancock from 1942 to 1943. From 1943 to 1944, Norm attended Ball State Teachers College, where he took part in the Army Specialized Training Program.
Norm was a soldier in the Ninth U.S. Army during World War II. He took part in the Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns. He was a Technician Fifth Grade with the 327th Engineer Combat Battalion, Company A. The 327th Engineer Combat Engineers were part of “The Red Ball Express,” and Norm served as the convoy commander’s driver. Norm was also part of the 102nd Infantry Division of the “Ozarks,” and he served at the headquarters of the Third United States Army-Signal Corps.
Norm earned various citations and decorations during his time in the Army, including the American Theater Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the ASR Score, the ERC and three Overseas Bars. He also earned Rifle-SS and Bar-SS Marksmanship Badges. Norm earned Battle Stars for campaigns in Rhineland and Central Europe and a Presidential Unit Citation.
Norm owned Kaskinen Chevrolet, Inc., where he also worked as a dealer. He had a passion for cars and loved to collect and restore antique automobiles.
Norm was involved in numerous civic and fraternal organizations and held various offices. He was a Charter Member and Past President of the Kaleva Lions Club. He was Past President of the Northwestern Region of Antique Auto Club of America. He was a past member of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). He was a member of the Bear Creek VFW Post #6333. He had once served as the Maple Grove Township Treasurer and was a past Trustee of the Village of Kaleva Council. He had served his community as a volunteer on the Maple Grove Township Fire Department and was a member of the Kaleva Planning Commission.
Norm is survived by four children, Ann Marie (Bert) Kaskinen-Chapman, of Edisto Beach, S.C., Barbara Kay Kaskinen, of Margate, Fla., Deborah Lynne Kaskinen-Crandell, of Traverse City, and Richard Ferdinand (Sandi) Kaskinen, of Kaleva; seven grandchildren, Christopher (Karen) Grossnickle, of Mt. Pleasant, Nadine Grossnickle, of Florence, Ky., Marc (Bridget) Grossnickle, of Thompsonville, Kristin Holekamp, of St. Louis, Mo., Aliina Crandell, of Arlington, Mass., Lauren (Bryan) Beckingham, of Berkeley, Calif., and Daniel Kaskinen, of Charlotte, N.C.; seven great-grandchildren, Sophia, Evan, Lydia, Emma and Glenora Grossnickle and Weston and Gavin Holekamp; two brothers, Leslie (Jean) Kaskinen, of Central Lake, and Arlie “Mike” (Doris) Kaskinen, of Beulah; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends across the U.S.A. and Finland.
On Sept. 20, 1947, Norm married Martha Agnes Harju, who preceded him in death in 2003 after 56 loving years of marriage. He was also preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Ila (the Rev. Gust) Wuorinen; and his sister-in-law, Nancy Kaskinen.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Kaleva, with Pastor Carla Rush officiating. Interment will follow in the Maple Grove Township Cemetery in Kaleva, where military honors will be conducted under the auspices of the Bear Creek VFW Post #6333 and the United States Army. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until the time of services at the church.
During his final years, Norm was blessed with assistance from many family members and friends. Norm appreciated all the care-giving support from Patti Marar, Sherry Andersen and Sandi Kaskinen and especially from his caring daughter-in-law, Sandi Kaskinen, whom he loved very much.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Bethany Lutheran Church Music Fund.
The Terwilliger Funeral Home in Kaleva is in charge of arrangements; www.terwilligerfuneralhome.com.