Norman D. Yetka, '59
Norm Yetka, 76, died at his home in Auburn on April 4, 2014 from a heart attack. He had his loving wife of 53 years, Jeanette, by his side when he passed away.
Norm was born in New Kensington, Penn. on July 17, 1937. He grew up in Orlando, Fla. Norm proudly graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. in 1959 earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant.
Norm was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where he trained as a Civil Engineer and where he met his wife, Jeanette, who is well known in the Auburn area through her work with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and her leadership in Soroptimist International.
While stationed in Seoul, South Korea, Norm served as the Base Civil Engineer at Kimpo Air Force Base.
After a distinguished military career, Norm went to work for Lockeed Martin. He also spent 35 years with NASA, working on several pioneering projects including the Biosatellite program, in which a monkey was launched into orbit to test the effects of space travel.
A few other NASA projects that Norm worked on include the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Apollo 11, Space Shuttle Discovery as well as many more.
Norm and Jeanette Yetka raised their family in Santa Clara between 1963 and 1994 before moving into a custom home with a stunning view on the edge of the American River Canyon in Auburn.
Norm greatly enjoyed traveling, visiting at least 48 countries with Jeanette and taking many globetrotting cruises. He worked a crossword puzzle daily to keep his mind sharp and he enjoyed reading and staying current on local politics.
Norm attended up to 10 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week, enjoying the fellowship and supporting others on their road to recovery.
Norm was an avid bird watcher who attracted hundreds of hummingbirds to his yard and deck by diligently keeping dozens of bird feeders well stocked with nectar.
Norm took many videos during his travels and videotaped the Auburn Community Festival annually. He enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play sports, attending numerous baseball and soccer games and rooting for their teams.
Although he had a distinguished career in the military and with NASA, Norm was most proud of his family, particularly his grandchildren. Norm is survived by his eldest son Norman Yetka, his wife Stephanie and 13-year-old grandson Kyle of Dublin; daughter Suzette McCarville, husband Brian and grandsons Cole, 21, and Brad, 18, of Mission Viejo; youngest son Matthew Yetka, wife Michelle and 6-year-old granddaughter Rylee of Auburn.
Memorial Services celebrating Norm's life will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, at the Auburn Grace Community Church, 3126 Olympic Way, Auburn, Calif.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, P.O. Box 3725, Carmel, Calif. 93921
April 10, 2014