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PASSAGES World War II veteran Ed Zasadil
2017-12-11

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Edward Thomas Zasadil was born on Halloween, 1924, to Edward Timothy and Mabel Johanna Zasadil. Ed was the proud grandson of immigrants. His paternal grandparents came from what was then Bohemia and is now the Czech Republic. His maternal grandparents, the Engeldahls, came from Sweden.

When Ed was age 5, he had scarlet fever and diphtheria and nearly died. He was saved by an experimental drug from Michael Reese Hospital developed, Ed believed, from horse serum.

Growing up on Marshall Blvd. on Chicagoïs West Side, Ed attended Hammond Elementary School and Harrison Technical High School. Like his dear older brother, Raymond, Ed enjoyed playing French Horn in the high school band. Following high school graduation, Ed entered the U.S. Army on August 3, 1943, and was assigned as French Horn player to the 369th Army Band, stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA, near Washington, DC.

Ed was a railroad administrator, starting first with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), then with Trailer Train Co. (TTX). After an early retirement buy-out, he worked part-time as Secretary-Treasurer for the Car Department Officers Association (CDOA).

While his father was still alive, Ed liked to attend Blackhawks hockey games with him and some of his fatherïs siblings. When the doors opened at the stadium, they would race upstairs to get their favorite seats above the organ.

In 1957, Ed moved with his widowed mother and brother Ray to North Riverside. About the same time, Ed met Joel Deutsch, a Holocaust survivor, and they started sharing an apartment in Southeast Lakeview. Although they remained good friends, Joel decided later to live elsewhere.

Ed met Larry Simpson on the 4th of July, 1962. After a brief courtship, they decided to live together. Eventually, they shared life together for 55 years. They married December 1, 2014.

With a railroad pass, a perk of his first job, Ed started traveling across the U.S.A., plus into Canada. In 1949, he flew to Cuba for a week in Havana. Ed and Larry made their first trip to Europe in 1966. Many more trips followed. Having taken 53 cruises, Ed saw and experienced much of the world, from Spitsbergen in the Arctic to walking the Great Wall of China.

With brother Ray, Ed first saw opera in the Auditorium Theater. Kungsholm puppet opera was a treat. He started attending Lyric Opera of Chicago in its first year, 1954, and continued thereafter. He was a 50-plus-year subscriber to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Ed grew up and was confirmed in the Swedish Evangelical Mission (Covenant) Church of Douglas Park. Ed and Larry joined St. Pauls United Church of Christ in 1993 during St. Pauls sesquicentennial celebrations.


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