Monday, March 30, 2015

UNCLE ED 1916 - 2015

Many more people called Ed Swartzendruber "Uncle Ed" than called him dad, but only Kay and I had the privilege of the latter.  At 10:55 this morning, Ed left us, and even though he lived long and prospered, it is never easy to lose a parent, child, relative, colleague....  We can say Farewell, or Fare Well, or Godspeed, but saying the last goodbye is not easy.  I and others will have much to share about Uncle Ed at the Yoder Culp Funeral Home in Goshen on Friday afternoon, at the Memorial Service Saturday morning at College Mennonite Church, and in the comments section of this blog.  

Vaya con Dios papá.



Goshen – Edward G. Swartzendruber, 98, passed away peacefully Monday at IU Health Goshen Hospital after a short illness.

He was born July 26, 1916 in Bay Port, Michigan to Joseph and Emma (Shetler) Swartzendruber.
On April 2, 1939 he married Mary A. Aschliman in Pigeon, Michigan.

She survives along with two children, Kay Montgomery, Palm Springs, Ca. and Douglas E. (Rhonda Willems) Swartzendruber, Boulder, Co.; four grandchildren, Anna Montgomery, Douglas, Nick and Rachel Swartzendruber; three great-grandchildren, Silas, Noelle and Elias; a sister, Bess (Joe) Gabriel, Kent, Ohio, and Claude (Shirley) Swartzendruber, Goshen.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, William, Paul, Walter and Omar Swartzendruber and a sister, Alma Heap.

A long time area resident, Mr. Swartzendruber, was co-owner, along with Ellsworth Fanning, of EDD’s Supplies in Shipshewana.  He also farmed for many years, raising corn, wheat and chickens.
Valedictorian of Bay Port High School, Ed was a member of College Mennonite Church
Ed had a deep appreciation for music.  He sang for many years with Menno Singers and was a loyal supporter and attendee of Goshen College music programs.

Friends may call on Friday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home.  A memorial service will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m. at College Mennonite Church.

A private burial will take place at Violett Cemetery, Goshen.

Memorial contributions may be given to Goshen College Music Department Scholarship Fund.

30 comments:

Anna said...

Beautifully said, Uncle. Thank you and mom for being there, the wonderful children that you are, caring for him. I can’t think of a lovelier way to exit this world.

Today I set aside my funeral dress and looked through my jewelry box to see if I had anything he’d given me to wear to the service. Nothing, how strange, I thought. And then I looked around my house and realized, EVERYTHING I have, he gave me. Thank you, dear grandfather. You cared for us so very well.

John Riegsecker said...

Hi Doug,

Sorry to hear about your Dad. Some of the best times I ever had were when we mooched off Ed and Mary a lifetime ago. It's sad when our parents leave us, but the satisfaction of knowing they led a good life takes some of the pain away. We'll be thinking of you.

John & Deborah Riegsecker

DES said...

Anna - your mom told me the story of you and Rachel planning your trip and deciding what to bring - and you are right - one of the distinguishing features of Ed's prosperity is how much he shared it with others.

DES said...

John and Debby - thanks so much for your comments and thoughts. Even though some of Ed's memories had faded, he never forgot the college boys who would come to New Paris for chicken, pie, rolls and anything else that Mary might have cooked up.

Steve H said...

It was a blessing that you and Kay returned to Goshen and were able to be with your dad his last days. There were so many years and so many memories. One of the memories that comes to mind was your dad playing sports with the men in the barnyard at Fritz's in Topeka during our family get togethers. He loved it and was good at it. He was always cheerful and friendly and made people feel good to be around him. I remember some one on one time with him when I occasionally stayed at Grandma and Grandpa's as a youngster. He took me around in a water truck, stopping at the New Paris Creamery to fill up with water, then headed off to the tomato fields. We took the back roads and went over some rickety bridges that I was scared would collapse because we were over the recommended weight for the bridge. Another time he had some corn samples and took me with him to the New Paris Elevator to have the percent moisture measured. Was learning farm stuff. When he wasn't driving trucks he was driving Oldsmobiles. I remember those. We swam and visited in Kay's pool when she lived in Sunland-Tujunga and your mom and dad came out to visit. Remember him starting to pepper a slice of muskmelon that same visit and the lid came off and covered the slice with pepper. That look on his face was priceless. Loved to hear him talk about the fertilizer business and his company. And there was the chicken business he was heavily involved in at one time. And all those chicken barbecues and your dad always passing out the chicken at the Relief Sale reunion. And who can forget the bidding at the Relief Sale and those loaves of breaid he bought and all the quilts acquired over the years. Also, am thinking I may have a Menno Singers album around somewhere. He was such a loyal supporter of the church and Goshen College. He also had nifty relatives. I remember meeting Omar in CA and his daughter. And at a very young age remember being so amazed at how much he and Claude resembled each other. Could go on and on...

Lee K said...

Wow. Sorry to hear this Doug. It is a difficult thing no matter what. Looking forward to having a conversation about your dad soon.

Rebecca [G] B said...

Uncle Ed, Patriarch of family reunions. Lived life large. His passing leaves a hole in my life. Gone, always in my heart. Gd should elevate your soul to the highest rung of heaven for all you have done on earth.

DES said...

Becky - I am reminded of a saying that goes something like "The larger the dark hole in your heart, the greater the circumference of the light that surrounds it."

Anna said...

Goodbye, grandpa. The tears today are not from tragedy or time cut short but all the gratitude we feel for having been your children. Your endless delight in life and rock solid care set us all up for amazingly happy lives. I wish there was a word more profound than thank you.

Tom Mishler said...

Doug, Sorry to hear about your father's death. I just went to a viewing tonight and the man was 68 years old! That's our age. I guess we can be very thankful that our dads lived a long good life. But as you said it is hard to let them go. I'm sorry I will not be at the viewing Friday. We leave Thursday morning with all my kids and grand kids for Spring break. Just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. May God Bless!

Doug F said...

Uncle Ed was a wonderful man. Enjoyed playing ping pong with him in their basement

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Uncle Ed, for all of the great memories growing up . . pool time, ping pong, supporting my 4-H projects, etc. Hugs! Brenda

David Willems said...

Sorry to hear about Ed. He was a wonderful person always generous and kind. I remember swimming at their house and playing games in the basement. Will be thinking of you and the rest of your family.

David and Camy Willems

Phil W said...

Doug, I had not heard about your Fathers passing until I read the email from Tom. We get the South Bend Tribune but I don’t think it was in there. I don’t think there ever is a good time to go but I think we all would agree that Ed lived a good and long life. I know it is tough for the loved ones but you have to appreciate the time you had with him and your Mom. I also have a conflict, so probably will not make the viewing. I am thinking of you and your family in this time of sorrow. Be strong.

DES said...

Thanks to all for your kind comments and thoughts.

Mark R Aschliman said...

Ed referred to me as "my number two son" and treated me as his own. For that I loved him and will forever hold his memory dear.

DES said...

Dear Number 2 Son, near-brother - thanks for commenting and thanks for dropping your work to come to Indiana. Number 1 Son :-)

Mark & Pauline said...

We are glad to have been able to meet your dad and sorry to hear of his passing.

Warm thoughts to you all.

BES said...

It’s no coincidence that my middle name is Edward. I never asked my parents why they chose Edward, but I really didn’t have to. Uncle Ed touched the lives of people in ways that inspired them to want to make him a part of it. With his namesake, I belong to a very small demographic, barely plural in number, that have the honor and distinction of carrying his name.

We all have fond memories of Edward Swartzendruber. They would fill pages of books entirely worthy of reading. Each chapter filled with our own cherished vignettes as we passed through the stations of life. Ed and Mary attended our wedding in California and we were indeed blessed with their presence.

For a long span of years, Thanksgivings were spent right here in Venice with our family. Given the size of our family and the many places they could choses celebrate the holiday, I was always honored when Uncle Ed and Aunt Mary chose to give thanks at our house. I learned how to carve a turkey by watching Ed strap on the most girly apron he could find and put an edge on the carving blade. His chicken barbecues were no less iconic than his kind heart.

There isn’t even an accounting for all the lives he touched that don’t even know him or what he was all about.

99 years is a great deal of time to spend on this earth. Uncle Ed’s life spanned 16 seated presidents, 17 cent gas, two world wars, the birth of radio, the life and death of television, landing on the moon, the first calculator, Face Time, Facebook, and the election of our nation’s first black president, who was born when Uncle Ed was already in his 50’s.

And it goes without saying, you can’t mention Ed in a sentence without Mary. It was always Ed and Mary, for as long as anyone could remember. Always a grand feast. Always a piece of homemade pie. Always a place to stay. Always family, fellowship, laughter and love.

We are all blessed to have had Uncle Ed in our lives. His work is done and done well. It’s all around us. Uncle Ed’s legacy is epic. He will be missed.

DES said...

So very, very well said cousin. Blessings and see you soon.

Loretta said...

Thanks for the info. He did so many great things for other people, a very kind and generous man. Rest in peace Uncle Ed.

Much sympathy for you and Kay and all the rest of the family.

Arnie and Wanda said...

We read your blog about your dad, Doug, and we are so sorry. We both considered your parents to be good friends. He had a definite influence on our lives. His name was on my (Wanda) first teaching contract as President of the School Board for New Paris. His influence was varied and widespread. We are thinking of you all.

DJJ said...

Mom let us know about Ed's passing. I think of his life as a long one well-lived with enthusiasm and good humor.

I will miss him. Please let Mary know we are thinking about her and will visit in June. Our best to you and Rhonda.

John M said...

I was saddened to learn of the death of your father. From your blog posting, he certainly had a long, wonderful life. I can remember times when you talked about Goshen and often referred to your dad as Ed or Uncle Ed.

Jim & Vangie said...

Sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. It is always hard to lose a parent. Our thoughts are with you.

Keith H said...

Was really sorry to hear about your dad. You were fortunate to have many years with him even though does not make his death any easier to accept. I have not had interaction with him for many years but he always seemed to have such a positive outlook on life. I am sure that he will be greatly missed by your family and his many friends.

I will not be able to attend the services but please know our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

Mike and Evie said...

Relatives informed us of Ed’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Mary. Both of us always felt your dad was the finest guy there can be. We were so welcomed by them at their home or anywhere else we encountered Ed or Mary. Evie and I will miss Ed and his caring, sunny personality dearly, but not as dearly as you two will. Please let Mary know we are sending our best to her.

Gene C. Miller said...

My condolences on your father's passing. We'll always be sons even after our fathers are long gone. Mine has been gone some 37 years, but I still can hear his voice and feel his blessing.

Titus said...

Doug, just want you to know that you and your family are prayed for as you learn to live without the physical presence of your father. And as you attend to the details of the process of a family death.

Grieve heartily and celebrate joyfully.

Anonymous said...

Just glad that I grew up here with all the relatives. Knew that Ed & Mary loved us even thou I am sure at times we probably drove them nuts. Was always glad I got to be part of their lives.

Paula