Laurence E. Kuusela, 89

Elmer Kuusela

Elmer Kuusela

GORHAM — Laurence Elmer Kuusela, 89, of Gorham, died peacefully on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough after a brief illness.

Born Jan. 16, 1926, in Monson, he was the son of Ida and Lauri Kuusela. While attending local schools and working at his parents’ farm, he graduated from Monson Academy in 1944. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18, and was deployed to the European invasion of World War II. He served under General Patton in the 87th Division/347th infantry regiment (nickname Golden Acorns) as a Machine Gun Officer, and then as an airplane electrical mechanic. As a machine gun officer, he was one of the survivors of the Battle of the Bulge. Following the various battles, he was sent to a hospital in England to recuperate from various injuries and went on to work as a mechanic on fighter planes.

While on a seven-day leave in London, England, he met his future wife of 67 plus years, Grace C. Kuusela. After VE day, he was on the first ship (The Queen Elizabeth) back to the United States. From there, he was sent to Charleston, S.C. Air Force base, where he was an electrical mechanic on C54 Skymaster planes. While there, the war ended in March 1946, and he was discharged from the armed services. In October 1947, Grace was sponsored by Elmer’s parents to come to the United States, where they were married in Dec. 1947 in Monson. Soon after, Elmer and Grace moved to Massachusetts, where they started their family and Elmer was employed at General Electric. In 1954, Elmer and Grace moved to Portland, followed by Gorham, where they resided for 60-plus years. During those years, Elmer worked for HP Hood & Son’s and the Osteopathic Hospital, while also managing his own commercial refrigeration business and maintaining both electrical and plumbing licenses.

During these working years, they also built their family cottage in Harrison on Long Lake, where many Kuusela celebrations occurred. The cottage and his family were his pride and joy. During these years, he also enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating with his family members, while also assisting them in building their own homes. Retiring in 1987, Elmer and Grace enjoyed traveling, while also spending as much time as possible at the cottage on the lake. Their travels included England, Finland, the Caribbean and Hawaii, as well as spending winters in Florida until April of 2000. He spent many years after this being the primary caregiver to his wife, Grace.

Surviving Elmer are his wife Grace of 67 years; his children Susan Wood, Larry and Ron; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Elmer was predeceased by his parents, and several aunts and uncles.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 15, at 12:30 p.m., at the Dolby Funeral Chapel, 434 River Road, Windham. Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery, Huston Road, Gorham.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Maine Alzheimer’s Association, 383 U.S. Route 1, Suite 2C, Scarborough, ME 04074. Online condolences may be sent to


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