Norman W. Held

Norman W. Held, 92, of Fort Myers, Fla., passed away on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009, at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers.

He was born on July 19, 1917, in Batavia, the son of the late Frank A. and Emma (nee Eisentraut) Held, and on Oct. 25, 1942, he married Ruth A. Heppe. They lived in Kewaskum until 1997 when they moved to Fort Myers after having spent winters there for many years. After Ruth passed away, he lived the last three years of his life with his daughter, Colleen, also in Fort Myers.

Norm graduated from Random Lake High School, where he played basketball and baseball. He and his brother, Claude, were well known as a dynamic duo in the infield. He grew up in St. John’s United Church of Christ in Beechwood. On marrying, he joined Peace United Church of Christ in Kewaskum, where he was active on the dartball team, as an usher and playing on and later managing the church’s softball team.

In 1941, Norm began working at the West Bend Company in West Bend. He was very proud of the company, never forgot the many friendships he made there and retired on May 29, 1981, as adjustment manager in the credit department. He had fond memories of playing in the West Bend Company Golf League and won numerous awards. He also was always known to enjoy a few spirited games of sheepshead with his co-workers during their lunch hours.

Only World War II temporarily interrupted Norm’s civilian employment. He very proudly served his country in the U.S. Army. His first year was spent in southern California where he was able to play baseball and enjoyed having Buddy Krier from Random Lake in his outfit. Norm played first and Buddy pitched.

Norm spent the last two of his three service years in Europe in the 16th Special Service Company Headquarters for four companies attached to the First United States Army. Having taken the Monarch of Bermuda from Boston to Liverpool, Norm landed on Utah Beach during the Normandy invasion. His company then pushed on through France, crossed Belgium and advanced all the way to Berlin, Germany, in the Battle of the Bulge. He often recalled meeting Russian soldiers at the Brandenburg Gate and getting into Hitler’s Chancellory. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 12, 1945, and was a continuous member of the Robert G. Romaine American Legion Post 384 Kewaskum for 64 years.

Norm’s passion for sports was life-long. After high school, he played first base for Batavia’s and Silver Creek’s teams in the Rainbow League. He then played shortstop in the Kettle Moraine League for the Kewaskum Utensil team including during 1947 when they won the grand championship and played in the Semi-Pro Tournament at Borchert Field in Milwaukee. He continued playing for the Kewaskum team in the Land O’ Lakes League until he was almost 40 when he started playing on softball teams. Always a reliable hitter and with a batting average of 429, he won the Land O’ Lakes Batting Champ Award in 1949.

Norm and Ruth also took up and loved golf. They belonged to leagues at Hon-E-Kor and Camelot country clubs and in Florida at Pine Lakes Country Club and Lake Fairways Country Club where Norm had two holes-in-one. They also enjoyed playing bridge and belonged to several bridge clubs.

Those Norm leaves behind to cherish his memories include his two daughters, Colleen E. Held-Messana of Fort Myers, Fla., and Nancy R. Harwood of Matlacha, Fla.; four grandchildren, Linda Messana of Madison and Dr. Christopher Messana of Royal Oak, Mich., Douglas Harwood of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Andrew Harwood (Angela) of Fort Meyers, Fla. He was blessed with two great-grandchildren, Gracie Cox-Messana of Madison and Drew Harwood of Fort Myers. He is further survived by his brother, Franklin (Adeline) Held of Batavia; a sister, Frances Vorpagel of Plymouth; a sisterin-law, Marie Held of Cascade, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

In addition to his wife and parents, Norm was preceded in death by a sister, Mildred Saueressig; three brothers, Everett, Claude and Byron; and two brothers-in-law, Ervin Saueressig and Arthur Vorpagel.

Funeral services for Norm will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009, at the Miller Funeral Home in Kewaskum. The Rev. Eric Kirkegaard will officiate and burial, with military graveside rites, will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday in Peace United Church of Christ cemetery in Kewaskum. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home on Wednesday from 4 p.m. until the time of services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Robert G. Romaine American Legion Post 384 Kewaskum, 1538 Fond du Lac Ave., Kewaskum, 53040.

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