Edwin John Szwanek, age 91, died on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Elk Meadows Memory Care Center, a caring and loving community in Oakley, Utah. He was born on Jan. 27, 1928, in Elba, Nebraska, to James and Elizabeth (Duester) Szwanek.
Ed grew up on the family farm, where he learned about hard work, contributing to his large family and getting into mischief with his brothers. Ed had two brothers and four sisters. At 17, he left his home in Elba to make his way in the world. His adventure brought him to Wyoming, where he met the love of his life, Pamla Rose Morris. She was employed as a telephone operator, so their first conversations were over the phone.
He enlisted in the Army in October 1950 and served two years in active combat during the Korean War. Pam patiently waited for him to return from the war. When he returned, they were married on Oct. 25, 1952, in Evanston. Ed was employed by Union Pacific Railroad, a job he loved.
Ed and Pam had two daughters, Karen Lynn and Diane Kay. Ed soon realized that his most important job had just begun — and that he would always be last in line for the bathroom. He was a loving “Daddy” and a good provider for his small family. He knew that he needed to be closer to home so he accepted a job for the U.S. Postal Service in Evanston, where he carried mail for over 30 years.
Ed had been raised and was a member of the Catholic Church and continued that important practice with his own family. Ed was blessed with three grandsons, Bryan Mark Harris, Michael Robert Fowler and Cameron John Harris. He now has these boys to carry on his mischievous adventures. They were the light of his life. His oldest grandson, Bryan, affectionately called him “Papa Birdie” because of the eagle emblem on his mail carrier uniform and truck. From that day on he was “Papa” — by far the best role he ever had in his long life.
Life came full circle when little girls came back into his life with the birth of three great-granddaughters, Madelyn Rose Fowler, Cambry Lee Harris and Harper Diane Harris.
Ed was a simple man. He loved planting flowers and taking care of his meticulously manicured yard. He could “shim” anything with bailing wire and duct tape. He was the most loyal Nebraska Cornhusker fan you will ever find. He loved food, hot coffee and a cold beer. Ed was a quiet and private man with a strong will who had immense love for his faith and his family. We will miss him.
Ed was preceded in death and united in heaven with his wife of 57 years, Pam; two angel great-grandchildren; his parents; brothers, Frank and Herb; sister, Verna; several brothers- and sisters-in-law as well as his furry friends, Peppy and Sadie.
He is survived by daughters, Karen Donovan and Diane (Mark) Harris; grandsons, Bryan (Melanie) Harris, Michael (Robin) Fowler and Cameron (Natasha) Harris; great-granddaughters, Mady, Cambry and Harper; great-grandson, Gabe; his fur buddy, Sammy; sisters, Katheryn, Sylvia and Rosie; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28, at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Evanston. Interment will follow services at the Evanston City Cemetery.
Condolences can be made online at www.Crandallfhevanston.com.