Reino Kalervo Tulonen, 89
"The Flying Finn"
FITCHBURG -- Reino Kalervo Tulonen, 89, of Fitchburg, died Jan. 26th at HealthAlliance Leominster Hospital, after an illness.
He leaves his wife of 69 years, Anna Mae (Deery) Tulonen; one son, Rodney Arthur Tulonen and his wife, Patricia Magrosky, of Springfield, VT; two daughters, Joanne Tulonen of Seattle, WA. and Elaine T. Pierce and her partner, Joel Slutsky, of Alstead, NH; six grandchildren, Gregory Tulonen, Sarah Pritchett, Melissa O'Dell, Michael O'Dell, Lucie Pierce and Jeremie Pierce and four great-grandchildren, Simone Parker, Connor and Riley Tulonen and Alina O'Dell; and many nieces and nephews, including Nancy, Ronald and David Riikonen, who became part of the family. He also leaves a close family friend, Claude Caswell, who was considered another son. He was predeceased by a daughter, Betty Tulonen, a sister, Elvi Berkio and two brothers, Urho and Toivo Riikonen.
Mr. Tulonen was born in Lunenburg, on August 20, 1924, a son of the late Emil Kaarle and Alina (Bjorbacka) Riikonen Tulonen. He was raised in Lunenburg and attended schools there. When he was young he worked for the Crocker-Burbank Company, and then moved to Custom Auto Body where he worked until starting his own business as a front end alignment specialist until he retired. But his real love was racing cars.
"The Flying Finn", as he came to be known, began his racing career in 1946, the year his first child was born, and continued for thirty years. He raced many types of cars including; big cars, midgets, stock cars and late models. His most successful car was a cut down that he designed and built himself. Most of his car racing was done in New England, but he also drove in Canada, Darlington, NC, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Over the years, Reino won many races, with trophies reflecting his skill as a race car driver and articles describing his daring exploits on the track. He was awarded the 1964 Champion Class A Driver by the Atlantic Auto Racing Association, and had fans from around the world requesting his autograph and wanting to talk to him about his racing career. In 2005, he was inducted into the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame in recognition of a life time of racing.
TULONEN -- Funeral Services will be held on Friday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m. in the Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli and Fitchburg Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Home, 243 Water St., Fitchburg, MA. Rev. Mary Ann Barry will be the Celebrant.
Calling hours at the Funeral Home are on Thursday, Jan. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m.
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