April 1, 2023

Rachel Strella

Honoring the Legacy of a Humble Hero: A Tribute to Ed Smeal

A Tribute

My husband's father, Ed, departed from this world last week. It's impossible to express the magnitude of our loss, but I wish to share a few words in honor of him.

Ed was a remarkably humble man. He didn't want any kind of service or posthumous attention. However, I feel that he is someone who truly deserves recognition (forgive me, Ed). While I am taking this moment to pay tribute to him, I will keep it brief because I know he wouldn't want any fanfare or spectacle (I'm still listening to you, Ed).

As mentioned in his obituary, Ed was an ordinary hero who went out of his way to help others. He didn't wait for someone to ask for help, but rather he sensed when someone needed it and provided it without any expectation of acknowledgment or reward. He believed helping others was simply what good people do, and he never asked for anything in return. Ed was a truly good man, and his passing serves as a reminder of how rare and valuable individuals like him are in this world. It is my hope that his legacy inspires others to follow in his footsteps and strive to do good simply because it is the right thing to do.

On Nathan’s and my wedding day, Ed's close friend and former neighbor Ron asked him, "Did you lose a son or gain a daughter?" Without hesitation, Ed replied, "I gained a daughter." When Nathan told me about this conversation later that night, I felt proud and honored that Ed considered me a daughter. While no one can ever replace my own father, Ed was someone I could comfortably call "Dad."

I affectionately nicknamed Ed "Mother Hen." Whenever we had to go somewhere, even if it was just back home after a visit with him, he would always ask us to call him when we arrived safely. Whenever Nathan and I went on work trips or vacations, I would send him our travel itinerary and title the subject line "For Mother Hen."

Ed's love and care for his family were unwavering. He found solace in knowing we were safe at home. The irony is not lost on me as we took him out for dinner last Tuesday, and, as always, he reciprocated by calling us when he made it home safely. Little did we know that would be the last time we would see or hear from him. The thought brings tears to my eyes.

Earlier this year, when Ed's brother passed away, we drove him to the service and stayed in adjacent hotel rooms. One night, he visited with his other brother while we went out ourselves. During dinner, he called us and said, "Hey, I'm at Pub N’ Grub bar." We were surprised and asked, "Wait, we thought you were with Uncle Greg?" He responded, "Yeah, I walked across the street from the hotel after he dropped me off." I chuckle when I remember how I jokingly scolded him for crossing four lanes of traffic to go to that bar and grounded him for the rest of the night.

In the past week, I have had the urge to send Ed a Facebook message. We used to talk a lot at night, and I sometimes called him Chatty Cathy because he would only say a few words during the day but would write lengthy messages at night. I wanted to reach out to him this week and share so much. He was always up late like me, and I miss our deep conversations about nothing in particular. I cherished his company.

Ed was a remarkable person who embodied kindness, love, and a great sense of humor. His passing has left a void in our lives, and we will always cherish the memories we shared with him. Ed, we miss you dearly, we love you, and we take comfort in the hope of seeing you again someday.

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3 comments on “Honoring the Legacy of a Humble Hero: A Tribute to Ed Smeal”

  1. That was so very beautiful and well said, he'll be deeply missed but never forgotten. Ed was loved by so many people because of him being so wonderful to others.

  2. What a great and truthful honor to uncle ed💔💔. Him and my momma were so close I would love to see him when he popped a surprise visit. I truly believe God took momma first cause she could’ve never handled loosing 2 of her little brothers so close. Hard enough she had loosing her oldest daughter. But I believe they are having the best reunion up in heaven and they all will forever be with us. We just got to believe we will see them all one day💔💔 i am sure uncle Eddie gave momma Sadie some KFC since she stole his one time💔💔love you uncle Eddie see you again.

  3. He was truly a sweet man, loved the opportunity to get to know him a bit. He raised an incredible son and was a great human.

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