LAURIUM – Norma Niemela, 89, a resident of Pewabic Street, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.
She was born on May 8, 1924, in Gay, a daughter of the late Arthur and Waldena (Sturos) Hagman. Norma attended Lake Linden School district and graduated from Calumet High School with the class of 1941. Upon graduation, Norma moved to Detroit to support the war effort and worked at Woodall Industries, a wartime aircraft fabricating plant, becoming one of the original 6 million dedicated and patriotic women that are now known as “Rosie the Riveters.” There she and others built cowlings for the Curtiss-Wright’s SB2C Helldiver aircraft, which undeniably made a considerable contribution toward the war in the Pacific and ultimately defeating the Axis Forces.
At the conclusion of the war, she came back to Mohawk and married William “Bill” Niemela on June 1, 1946, and he preceded her in death on September 10, 1995.
Norma worked at Vertin Brothers Department store in Calumet as a clerk. She loved to work crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, to play Pinochle, and to hand write letters to her family and friends. She was a wonderful baker and made the best Nissua. She was an avid Green Bay Packers and Detroit Tigers fan.
She loved spending time with her family and enjoyed the company of anyone who stopped by, such as her nieces, Mary Niemela and Karen Laurinaho, and the people who delivered her meals on wheels.
She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Laurium and past president of the ladies aid at the church, past president of Ira Penberthy Post 61 American Legion Aux., member of Calumet Ingot Club, and member of the Keweenaw Historical Society.
Preceding her in death was a brother, Arthur “Budd” Hagman; and sisters, Dorothy Baccus, Margaret Ashcraft and Lenore Enrietti.
Surviving are daughter, Gail (Randy) Roberts of Bootjack; sons, Robert “Bob” (Mary Lou) Niemela of Green Bay, Wis., James “Oscar” (Peggy) Niemela of Laurium, Don (Peggy) Niemela of Bootjack; grandchildren, Corey Niemela of Oregon, Mark (Sarah) Niemela of New Allouez, Bill (Amy) Roberts of Bootjack, Molly (John) Kus of Marquette, Hilary (Aaron) Fezzey of Superior, Wis., and Pam (Jim) Reynolds of Marquette; great grandchildren, Drake and Jade Niemela, Randy and Sam Roberts, Romy Kus, Claudia Fezzey, Aubrey, Elaine and Alex Reynolds. Also survived by a sister-in-law, Isabel Battuello; two brothers-in-law, Bob Ashcraft and Joe “Babe” Enrietti; and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 27, 2014, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet and one hour prior to the funeral at the church on Friday.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 28, 2014, at 11 a.m. in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Laurium with Pastor James Fundum to officiate.
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Online condolences can be left for the family at ericksoncrowleypeterson. com.