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.