In Memory of





Obituary for Fredric Blau "Fritz" Kesanen

Fredric “Fritz” Kesanen, age 90, of Eagle Harbor, passed away March 20, 2024. Private family service have taken place. Fritz was born August 18, 1933 in the Florida location at his grandmother’s home, the son of Wilbert and Eva (Blau) Kesanen. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Torreano for 64 years and she preceded him in death in 2017. Fritz was a member of the 1952 graduating class of Calumet High School.

At a young age of 12 years old, Fritz worked at a gas station for 8 cents an hour. Fritz “the Flash” or “Fireball Kesanen” were a few names they called him on the ice. At the age of 19, Jack Adams recruited him to play for the Detroit Red Wings. Out of 7 recruits, he was the only one from the United States: but the money wasn’t there at the time so Fritz and his bride, Carolyn moved to Flint for work. His first job in Flint was digging the footing for the Flint Metal Fab and shortly after he was hired to GMI Tech (4 years) and then General Motors Fisher 1 and was transferred to Fisher Body in Grand Blanc for a total of 38 years of service.

Fritz was instrumental in getting hockey started in Flint at the IMA Sports Arena from the outdoor rink to the indoor rink and the big times. Fritz played hockey until the age of 73.

After retirement, Fritz and Carolyn bought land in the U.P. on Lake Superior where they built their second dream home. Fritz and Carolyn designed both homes and Fritz built them, and at this time Fritz started Fritz Kesanen Excavating and worked it for 20 years. He also helped his workers with education at Michigan Tech and work release programs.

Fritz and wife Carolyn helped on the All Time reunions at Calumet High School, he would help with building and decorating massive displays. Although he never won the lotto, he was a doer of good deeds, finding and returning money, donating to many charities, saving many lives from drowning to choking.

Fritz was also in the reserves. He was a man with many adventures and interesting stories. One of his many interesting stories was when he wrestled Tootsie, Mr. North’s 250 lb pet black bear that roamed freely in his home and slept in his basement. “Tootsie played with me like a cat would play with a mouse. I was surprised at his strength and quickness. It seemed like a lifetime but after about 2 minutes, Mr. North called him off—much to my relief. I never wanted to do that again. I still remember Tootsie’s sharp teeth and long claws. Oh yes—he could have used some mouthwash too!”

Fritz is survived by his three daughters Kathy (Randy) Wilkinson, Laurie (Chum) Younglove, and Kim (Kirk) Kesanen-Brattain; his 7 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Fritz was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Donald; his grandson Brandon, and his wife, Carolyn.