View Full Version : Eric Norman "Norm" Westerberg 10 February 1929 ~ 16 October 2014

10-11-14, 06:59
Eric Norman Westerberg

Eric Norman Westerberg passed away October 16, 2014 at his home on Mercer Island at the age of 85. He was born February 10, 1929 in Detroit to Swedish speaking Finns who returned to Finland when he was one year old. He went to school in Turku and served in the Finnish Military as a teenage volunteer during WWII. In 1950 he married his hometown sweetheart Benita Eklund. After Norm received his MSc in Chemical Engineering from Abo Akademi in 1953, the two moved to the USA after learning that Norm had dual citizenship by birth. After taking a temporary job in Pennsylvania, Norm was promptly drafted into the US Army in June 1954. After basic training he was sent to Germany for 18 months while Benita stayed behind in Gardner, MA. In latter 1955, Benita and newborn son Dan joined Norm in Germany. A year later the family moved to Cleveland, OH where Norm worked as a project engineer for a major chemical manufacturer. In 1956, they returned to Finland where Norm was employed by EKONO Consulting Engineers - a relation that would last for close to thirty years. After the birth of their daughter Chris in Helsinki, the family was sent to Oak Ridge, TN where Norm participated in a one year international course in nuclear power safety; son Ken was also born here.

Norm worked for clients worldwide, his major interests being energy and environmental conservation. He was named EKONOs Executive Vice President for the company in 1971. During the years 1967-69, the family moved to Bellevue while Norm commuted to Seattle while starting up an EKONO subsidiary of EKONO Inc, providing energy saving and pollution control technology to the US forest products industry. The next ten years, back in Finland, as a representative of EKONO, Norm held leadership roles in organizations like the World Energy Conference and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers. He presented some one hundred publications and lectures in over twenty countries in his field of interest.

In September 1979 Norm returned to the Northwest to serve as President of EKONO Inc which was now located in Bellevue. The family soon followed and it became clear that this was the last move. Norm became heavily involved in local Finnish and Nordic activities. He joined both the Finnish Lutheran Church and the Finnish Choral Society in Seattle, serving terms as President with both. He funded the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce in the Northwest in 1981, and was a co-founder of the Swedish Finn Historical Society in 1991. He served as Vice President of the Swedish Club, President of the Advisory Board of the UW Scandinavian Department, and was a long time Trustee of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

In 1985 Norm was appointed Honorary Consul of Finland for Washington State, serving as such for sixteen years. He served as Chairman for FinnFest USA "89 held on the UW campus, and served ten years on the FinnFest USA national board. During the period 1998-2007 he served as Vice Speaker of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament, representing Finnish immigrants and their descendants in the USA and Latin American. A favorite hobby was immigration research, and he presented many lectures and articles on the theme "Profile of Nordic Americans 1850-2000." He was bestowed the insignia of Knight Commander of the Finnish Order of the Lion, presented in 1996 by then President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland.

Above all, family was most important to Norm. Finnish summers were spent with the family on the islands of the Finnish Archipelago, where extended family would meet, and where lifelong friendships were made that continue to this day. Norm had a wonderful sense of humor, was an accomplished accordion player, and a skilled woodworker who built many a deck, shelving, and outhouse on the Finnish islands. Norm loved home projects, and sought any excuse to make a run to the local hardware store. He enjoyed solitaire, reading, Milano cookies, and listening to "The Scandinavian Hour" on KKNW 1150 Saturday mornings. He was a loving involved Mofi/Fafa who was a frequent presence in stands or on sidelines at sporting events of the grandkids. He attended many school functions, and particularly enjoyed getting the kids out among nature to visit favorite places of Enatai and Luther Burbank parks, and canoeing excursions in the arboretum.

Norm is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Benita; son Dan Westerberg; daughter Chris (Fanis) Beroukas, son Ken (Nancy) Westerberg; granddaughters Vanessa and Niki Beroukas; grandsons Tom and Mike Westerberg; and great-granddaughter Madison Westerberg. He also leaves behind brother Finn (Solveig) Westerberg in Stockholm, Sweden. He was preceded in death by a brother Sven in Sweden, and a sister Maggie in Finland. Norm will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Memorial Service to be held Saturday, November 22, 11:00am, Finnish Lutheran Church, 8504 13th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117.

Remembrances can be made to Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St, Seattle, WA 98117.

Published in The Seattle Times from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, 2014
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