10/1/2014

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Wife: Kasem's Oslo burial honors her Norwegian heritage

Wife: Kasem's Oslo burial honors her Norwegian heritage
FILE - Casey Kasem accepts a radio icon award during the Radio Music Awards Monday, in this Oct. 27, 2003 file photo taken at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta, File)
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OSLO, Norway - The wife of U.S. radio personality Casey Kasem has cited her Norwegian heritage as one of the reasons for wanting to bury her late husband in Oslo, a spokeswoman for the funeral service agency there said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kasem's closest friends and family members say his wife has no Norwegian blood and have petitioned officials in Norway to deny his widow's request to bury him there.

Kasem, the host of "American Top 40," died June 15 in Gig Harbor at age 82. His death followed a lengthy battle over his care between his wife, Jean Kasem, and his three adult children from his first marriage.

Wenche Madsen Eriksson, spokeswoman for the funeral service agency in the Norwegian capital, said Jean Kasem also told the agency of plans to move to Norway later this year and said having her late husband interred there would allow her to visit him.

Kasem's body is in an Oslo funeral home and has not yet been buried, said Danny Deraney, a Los Angeles spokesman for the Kasem family members who are disputing Jean Kasem's burial plans for her husband.

The family members have signed a letter saying Jean Kasem "doesn't have an ounce of Norwegian blood," Deraney said Tuesday.

The burial is being contested as Kasem's kids insist their dad wanted to be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Their letter to Norwegian officials reads: "As beautiful as your country is, our father has never spoken of any desire to be buried in Norway either to us or to his friends.

"In fact, it was the opposite. Casey wanted to be buried in his hometown of Los Angeles, California - his home of over 53 years."

They suggest that Jean Kasem wants to bury her late husband in Norway "because of the ongoing investigation from local authorities of criminal elder abuse."

Earlier this month, Jean sent a letter to officials in the Norwegian government requesting to have her husband buried there because of her heritage and desire to move to the country at the end of the year, but even members of her family are contesting her plans - her nephew Herbert Thompson insists she is not of Norwegian descent.

He says, "As far as we know, we are English, German and Native American. We have never ever heard anyone speak of Norway or Norwegian for that matter in our house. We don't have an ounce of Norwegian blood to our knowledge."
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