It was Norman Schoon's inner strength that helped him survive a POW camp in World War II and later helped him become a leading citizen in Munster.
"He was a strong community leader in the Republican party," said his daughter, Gwendolyn Klein.
Born in a small house on Ridge Road, Schoon was dedicated to keeping Munster a good town, she noted.
Norman R. Schoon, 90, of Dyer, died Sept. 20.
His son, Tom Schoon, said his dad and grandfather were among the original settlers in Munster and built the first post office in town.
Schoon was a fixture at the original community swimming pool, where he always fixed things, including the pumps.
"There wasn't anything he didn't think he could fix or build," Klein said.
Schoon was with the 106th Infantry during World War II. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was captured and transported with other prisoners by boxcar to a prison camp, Tom Schoon said.
A 200 pounder, he was down to 101 pounds when liberated by Gen. George Patton's 4th Armored Division.
After the war, he married his wife of 67 years, Martha.
Whenever seeing the American flag, the red and white strips made him think of the men in the boxcar, his daughter said.
"That picture always comes to life every time we sing or see the flag."
"He was very strict and didn't talk a lot" because he led by example, Tom Schoon said, adding he has a deeper appreciation for this as an adult.
A friend, John Alfano, summed up his neighbor in a very nice way: "He was like a man's man. He did things through actions instead of work - he was a doer."