Soccer and ice hockey
He settled into life in his new homeland. His job made him responsible for the electrical planning design of alteration works carried out at power plants belonging to the Yankee Atomic Electric Company. He also completed a Master’s in electrical engineering at the local Worcester Polytechnic Institute alongside his professional duties.
Hyyrynen, known to his American friends as Kal, was not the chatty type. According to his workmate, he was not, however, shy about airing his opinion whenever an issue related to his area of expertise was being discussed. Politics and sports were other topics he was comfortable talking about.
He is remembered as a friendly, hard-working and diligent employee, who’d hop into his red Chevy Corvette and drive to the job site when required. Hyyrynen wanted to ensure that all the details of the design and installation were carried out to a T. That car was his pride and joy, and he’d use it to take his visiting nephews for a spin – but no one else was allowed to drive it.
Although Hyyrynen wasn’t much of a talker, he was not reclusive by nature. Whenever a group would gather to play on a nearby soccer field, Hyyrynen would join in, even though he knew none of the other players. He also played tennis as well as ice hockey with his workmates, usually settling into a defender role.
Apartments and investing
Growing up in humble surroundings during wartime made Kalevi Hyyrynen very careful about spending money. He’d pick the herring tin with the lowest price per kilo and he never moved from the first house he bought for himself. Its furniture was mismatched, but a stuffed blue marlin hanging on the wall did reveal that the house’s occupant had once splurged on a fishing trip. He enjoyed fixing up and upgrading his hillside home, and even built a sauna there.
In addition to his house, Hyyrynen bought other apartments, which he, a skilled handyman, maintained in excellent condition. He never advertised his possessions. His workmate recalls once visiting a friend who lived nearby, and to his surprise seeing Kal there. Hyyrynen had come to clear the snow out of the year in his role as landlord-caretaker. They shared a good laugh about it the following day at the office.
Hyyrynen is remembered for his wry sense of humour. Once, he had come over to his nephew’s to fix the lawnmower. As he was putting on his bargain-basement sneakers, he remarked that he was likely the only person ever to have gone to see the Vienna Philharmonic wearing trainers.
Hyyrynen spoke English with such a strong Finnish accent that he could be hard to understand. He was often asked to repeat what he had just said, which was quite frustrating for such a reticent person. In time, however, his English proficiency strengthened and he started to forget some Finnish words. He enjoyed spending time at the family cottage when holidaying back home, and would pass the time by tinkering and solving crossword puzzles. He’d frequently have to ask what some word was in Finnish.