Norman Rockvam -- Rochester

October 2, 2018

Norman Oliver Rockvam, 97, passed away quietly on Sept. 11, 2018, at his home in Rochester.

He was born in Rochester on Jan. 22, 1921, the son of Olaf and Minnie (Hall) Rockvam of Chatfield. Norman grew up on the family farm and attended Eyota and Byron Schools. Norman married Louise Alice Kadlec on March 19, 1948, at the Methodist Church in Chatfield, and there the couple made Rochester their home ever since.

From January 1940 to August 1941, Norman was employed in FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Later Norman worked for Leo Herrick’s Motorcycle Shop as a mechanic.

As WWII was gaining momentum, Norman was drafted and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was immediately deployed to England, where he trained as a demolition technician. Norman participated in the second wave at Normandy Beach and was among the first allied troops to enter Nazi’s infamous Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar, Germany. Gaining the rank of Technician 5th Grade, Norman received the Bronze Star for heroic achievements during the European conflict and also earned Expert Rifleman, Good Conduct, American Campaign, World War II Victory, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign, Army of Occupation and Normandy Jubilee of Liberty medals. Following the end of the war, Norman was honorably discharged at Camp McCoy, Wis., on Nov. 14, 1945.

Following his military service, Norman worked at KEMCO Manufacturing Company assembling refrigerators and again as a motorcycle mechanic for Leo Herrick. Norman worked as the appliance repair man for Lyle Mayer’s Coast to Coast Stores before becoming owner-operator of his own business, Norm’s Appliance Service, for seven years. In 1957, he joined IBM and retired there in 1982.

Norman was a member of the IBM Quarter Century Club and the Rochester Archery Club. He was a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and raced the tri-state area competing in local hill climbs at King’s Park and the famous “Milwaukee Mile.” He was a former member of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), the Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club and the Rochester Road Riders. Norman had a fondness for metal detecting old coins and precious metals. Norman was a member of Christ United Methodist Church, where he frequently ushered for many years.

Norman is survived by his wife, Louise, of 70 years; two children, Noreen (Craig) Schultz of Tucson, Ariz., and Leland (Cathy) Rockvam of Falmouth, Maine; and three grandchildren, Jason Rockvam, Allison Carli-Rockvam, and Olivia Rockvam.

A private, family memorial service for Norman Oliver Rockvam will be held at Riley Funeral Home in Chatfield. A graveside committal will follow at Chatfield Cemetery with military honors accorded by the Chatfield Giese-Kelsey VFW Post 6913.

Riley Funeral Home in Chatfield is assisting the family with arrangements. To share a condolence with the family, please visit www.rileyfuneralhomes.com.