Eulogy given at Ed’s funeral, presented by his son, Eddie Stevens



All of you know Ed Stevens as either a friend, a neighbor, a family member, a U.S. Army veteran, a pilot, a colleague, a fellow volunteer, an amateur radio operator, or even as a client. Most of you only know the aspects of his life that overlapped with your own experiences, but as his only child I have had the unique privilege of knowing Ed Stevens as a father; and I have had the pleasure of knowing many different aspects of his rather remarkable life. So if you will indulge me, I would like to like to share with you a more complete picture of the man that I am proud to have called father.


Early Years

Ed stevens was born in 1928; to me that sounds like ancient history. Back then, radio was the popular form of entertainment, television was more than a decade away, and color television was only a dream. I know little of my father’s early years, except for what my grandmother shared with me, much to my father’s dismay.



The first meaningful memory that my father shared with me was the impact that WWII had on his life. He was in high school at the time, and the war instilled a great sense of patriotism in him. The war was over by the time he got out of high school, but his college experience was cut short by the Korean War. He served proudly in the United States Army during the Korean war, but he was quick to point out to anyone that would thank him for his service, that he never saw any combat, and in fact, he never left the United States. He would say that the thanks should go to the young men who gave their lives in combat. My father was fortunate to have been assigned to make maps in a photogrammetry unit. Many of the young men that went through basic training with him were not so fortunate; many of them never returned home. My father outlived all of his remaining army buddies, which is why you don’t see any of them here today.



After the war, my father began a career as a pilot, and he held a number of different aviation jobs. He began flying as a crop duster and eventually landed a job flying for Eastern Airlines. But the job that my father was most proud of, was flying the Ford Trimotor for Island Airlines, out of Port Clinton. The Ford Trimotor, nicknamed the Tin Goose, is a very rare and iconic airplane; there were only 199 ever built. Because of its capabilities, it was the perfect airplane for the short trips between the short runways on the Erie islands. It was, however, a notoriously difficult airplane to fly, and my father was proud to be a member of this elite club of Trimotor pilots.



Today the Liberty Aviation Museum, at the Port Clinton airport, tells the story of the Ford Trimotor and of Island Airlines. My father visited the museum a number of years ago and became an instant celebrity at the museum when told them that he was a former Trimotor pilot for Island Airlines. They now have a picture of my father and a short biography of him on their website. I believe my father may have been the last of the Ford Trimotor pilots that flew for Island Airlines.


Marriage / Career Change

My father married my mother, Eleanor Rickey, in 1966, and I was born two years later. My father determined that he could not be a good husband and father while working and airline job that would take him away from home for days at a time. So, when he got married, he selflessly left his aviation career and began a career in the electronics industry. He worked for the Recording Systems Division of Gould Electronic for 27 years, until his retirement in 1993. Throughout his life, my father had a passion for technology, and working at Gould Electronics allowed him to work in a field that he enjoyed.


Amateur Radio

Shortly after he got married, my father got his amateur radio license. Most people think of amateur radio as a hobby, but my father got his amateur radio license so that he could stay in touch with my mother. You see my mother had polio when she was a baby and spent her entire life in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, she worked a full-time job and drove a car by using hand controls. This would have left her in a rather precarious situation if her car ever broke down. So in a world before cellphones, my father used amateur radio to stay in touch with my mother; to make sure she got safely to and from work. While he had not planned it this way, amateur radio became much more for my father than a way to communicate with my mother; it became a hobby which occupied the last 50 years of his life; and it introduced him to scores of new friends.


Retirement / NASA

When my father retired in 1993, he began what amounted to a second career volunteering at the NASA Glenn Research Center. He demonstrated amateur radio and satellite communications to visitors and to school children. He did this for more than 16 years until the Visitor Center closed in 2009. After that, he continued to volunteer as a tour guide for scheduled tours of NASA. In total, he spent several thousand hours volunteering, and he holds the record for volunteering the most time at NASA Glenn.



With all of these things in his life, you are probably thinking that my dad didn’t have much time for his family. Well nothing could be farther from the truth. My dad was a loving and devoted husband to my mother; and he was a pretty awesome dad to me. For starters, he put up with me for more than 50 years. And for those of you who know me, I’m sure you will agree; that in itself was quite a feat. While I admire him for all he did throughout his life, what I will remember the most is the time that he spent with me; particularly when I was young. Even after long days at work, he would always have time for me in the evenings. And weekends often involved family trips and adventures.


Bike Riding

I will never forget the hours of time that he spent teaching me to ride a bike. And then, once I got the hang of it, he would go on bike rides with me on the trails in the Metro Parks.


Indian Guides

When I joined the YMCA Indian Guides, my father played an active part in the tribe. We went on countless camping trips and participated in all sorts of activities. One of my fondest childhood memories was when my father became Chief of the Mingo Indian Guides tribe. I was so proud of him. In retrospect, I think that it’s just that none of the other fathers wanted the responsibility, and my father reluctantly accepted the position by default. But for me, that was a moment when my father became larger than life.



When I joined a little league baseball team, I was determined to be a pitcher. While many dads play catch with their kids, it is quite a different thing to have to put on a full catcher’s outfit so you son can practice his fast ball. Not only did he help me practice, but he never missed a game. And, he would often take me downtown to watch Indians games.


Model Train Set

One year my dad bought me a model train set. Shortly thereafter, our two-car garage became a one-car, and one train set, garage. It didn’t seem to bother him that he lost the use of half of his garage to a train set for several years. He was happy that I was having fun and that I had a new hobby.



One day I asked my dad about his work. He explained what he did, and I became interested in electronics. He then cheerfully bought me countless electronic components at Radio Shack, and I turned a spare room in our house into an electronics lab that would rival anything in Hollywood. I still have some of the projects that I built as a child, and I am very thankful to my dad for indulging my interest in electronics.



Like most kids, I went through a phase where I wanted to build things. But I didn’t have to work with scraps of wood and old tools around the house. My dad took me to the lumber yard and happily bought me a supply of wood, and a very nice tool set. He also took the time to teach me basic carpentry skills. I started with the typical projects like a fort, a tree house, and a lemonade stand. But then one day, I decided I wanted to build a boat. Had he thought this though, he probably would have discouraged me, but it wasn’t until I was ready to launch the boat that he began to grow concerned. You’ll probably think he was crazy, and you’re probably right, because somehow, I convinced him to take me, and several of my friends, down to the 9th street pier where we tested my homemade boat in Lake Erie. Surprisingly, it floated, even with all of us on board - and we all lived to tell the story. That boat is long gone, but thanks to my dad, the memory of that day is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.


Bike Riding

When I became a teenager, I started getting interested long distance bicycle riding. But rather than planning ahead for a round trip, I would ride as far as I could get, and then call my dad and ask him to pick me up. So once again, after long days at work, he would cheerfully drive to Akron, Wooster, Sandusky, or to wherever I had ridden that day, to pick me up and bring me home. He didn’t seem to mind this; if he did, he never complained about it. And I enjoyed talking with him on the drives home.



When I was in high school, I asked my dad about his aviation career. He cheerfully told me all about it and asked if I would like to learn to fly an airplane. I think that is an almost rhetorical question; what teenager wouldn’t want to learn to fly an airplane. My father took me out to the same flight school, at Hopkins airport, where he learned to fly, decades earlier, and got me signed up for flight training. I will never forget how proud my dad was when I earned my private pilot license. But his support didn’t end there; my dad was a commercial pilot, and he encouraged me, and paid for me, to earn all of the same pilot ratings that he had – and even a few extras. Over the years my father and I took a number of trips together where we took turns flying; and building a lot of memories.


Education / College

My father always took an interest in my education, both formal and informal. When I graduated from high school, I started thinking about how I was going to pay for college. My dad told me not to worry about it; that he would take care of it. And the way he said it implied that he thought of it as the duty of every parent to pay for their children’s education. Thanks to my dad, I never had to worry about paying back college loans after graduation.


Amateur Radio

Later in life, I picked up one of my dad’s hobbies and got my amateur radio license. Amateur radio was a big part of my dad’s life; and he was happy to share it with me. It allowed us to spend time together at amateur radio meeting and events. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know many of dad’s friends. The local amateur radio clubs became like a second family to my dad; and now to me as well.


Summary / Conclusion

Throughout my life, I have always thought of my dad as a kind and loving soul. He made friends easily and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He loved animals; and allowed me to have menagerie of pets. He even fed the birds in our backyard, but I think that was mostly because of my mother’s prodding. When I was a child, I assumed that everyone had a father like mine. But as I grew up, I came to realize what a special individual my father was. Looking back, in many ways, I followed in my father’s footsteps without even realizing it, or intending to do so. He never pushed me into anything, I just though my dad was a really neat guy; and I took an interest in the things that he did. We are both pilots. We have both worked with electronics and computers. And we both enjoy the hobby of amateur radio. Perhaps that is why I have always thought of my dad as my friend, not just as my father. I was fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time with my dad, even in recent years. By the time he passed, everything had been said, all the loose ends had been tied up, and everything on our bucket lists had been checked off. It is a nice feeling to be able to say goodbye without having any regrets.


But dad, if you can hear me, I would like to say one last thing…


As a husband to my mother, and as a father to me: Well done.

I’m going to miss you.



Eulogy given at Ed’s funeral, presented by his daughter-in-law, Colleen Crawford


I’ll never forget the first time I met Ed stevens. I walked into the living room to see him with a beautiful cat sprawled across his lap and a dog sitting next to him. He smiled at me and jokingly said “don’t bite the dog.” No “hello,” just that humorous greeting. I knew instantly that I liked him because of his funny and odd sense of humor. It helped, too, that he was clearly an animal lover, just like me. If a person loves animals, I know immediately; that is a good person.


The way Ed Stevens lived his life should be a lesson to us all. Sure, he accomplished many great things in his lifetime, but the reason we are all here to show love and respect to him is because Ed knew what really mattered. He was kind, humble, and incredibly generous. He never had a negative thing to say about anyone. He was a great example of what we should all be. In the end, money, accomplishments, material possessions aren’t the things that matter. What matters is how you treat people. That’s why we are all here - because Ed Stevens treated us all with love and kindness. That’s what we will remember most about him - his good nature and how he treated us. And I will miss him dearly…