Edward L. Weilbacher
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Pocomoke City-Pocomoke City - Lieutenant Commander Edward L. Weilbacher,75, USCG (Retired), died Sept. 6, 2013 at Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury, MD after a brief illness.
LCDR Weilbacher was born on Feb. 15, 1938 in Seguin, TX to Josephine and Hugo Weilbacher, a wounded World War I veteran. He attended Seguin High School and enlisted in the United States Coast Guard on Oct. 15, 1955.
He steadily advanced through the ranks until he was one of two enlisted personnel selected yearly for Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, VA. He was commissioned an Ensign in the USCG in Feb. 1964 and shortly thereafter completed flight school. He eventually rose to the position of Lieutenant Commander. During LCDR Weilbacher's military flying career, he flew the T-34, T-28, T-29, TS-2A, C-54, HU-16E, HC 130B, and EC 130B aircraft. He also qualified in the Cherokee 140 and the Cessna 150 and 172 civilian aircraft. LCDR Weilbacher was qualified single engine and mult-engine, land and sea with instrument rating. LCDR Weilbacher had over 5000 hour's flight time when he retired on Aug. 1, 1976.
In his 21 year career of saving lives and property, he was awarded many USCG medals. The Norwegian government also honored him and his C-130 crew in 1973 for spotting a lone Norwegian mariner survivor in the icy storm racked North Atlantic, written about in the March 1976 edition of Reader's Digest.
LCDR Weilbacher at that time was temporarily with the USAF at Pease AFB and was assigned to the 54th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron which was scheduled to rotate to Vietnam. LCDR Weilbacher completed the combat air rescue school at Hill Air Force Base, UT, where he qualifed in day and night Para Rescue drops, equipment deployment and helicopter air refueling operations to rescue downed pilots off Vietnam. However, the Vietnam war wound down before he got a chance to serve overseas, and the LCDR returned to duty with the USCG.
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he attended law school at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and earned his JD degree in May 1979. After a lifetime in search and rescue he naturally gravitated towards poverty law. He served as head of the Legal Aid office in Lexington, VA for ten years. He was also an adjunct professor of law at W & L.
He was a pioneer in the Virginia wine industry and grew five acres of grapes.
In 1989 the family moved to the Eastern Shore, the home of his wife's extended family. Mr. Weilbacher then passed the Maryland Bar and joined John E. "Sonny" Bloxom in law practice in Pocomoke City, MD.
He was the city attorney for Pocomoke for fourteen years and was actively involved in the community. He was the first president of the board which revived the Great Pocomoke City Fair in 1990-91.
For twenty years he was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, serving as Flotilla Commander in Crisfield for two years.
Mr. Weilbacher is survived by his wife of forty six years, Lindsey Stringfellow Weilbacher who he met when he was the Public Information officer at Elizabeth City Coast Guard Air Station. She was a reporter and military editor of a local newspaper after serving in Vietnam with the American Red Cross. They have a daughter, Elektra Etebari of Pocomoke City, MD.
In addition to his wife and daughter he is survived by two sons, Michael Weilbacher and his wife Roseann of San Antonio, TX and Nathan Weilbacher and his fiance Melinda Combest of Houston, TX. They are the sons of his marriage to his childhood sweetheart the late Mary Alice Sayler.
He is also survived by a brother Al Weilbacher and his wife Gail of Cibollo, TX; a sister Bettie Lou Ellis Weilbacher of Seguin, TX; and a sister Ella Acker of New Braunfels, TX. He has 9 grandchildren Evan, Amy, Melissa, Christopher, Justine, Nicholas, Molly, Hannah and Stephen and 2 great grandchildren, Joshua and Steven, all of Texas, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to his Texas family, he was immediately and lovingly embraced by his wife's extended family especially the Tommy Northam family of Princess Anne, MD.
Mr. Weilbacher loved traveling and fishing with his friends, especially Steve Aron and Larry Hancock. A lifetime gardener, he looked forward to each season and the joyful return of the hummingbirds in the spring.
He helped set up many non-profit charities including Rwandan Hugs at 630 Mountain Avenue, Bedford, VA 24523. Another favorite charity is Ascension Animal Sanctuary, P.O. Box 143, Upper Fairmound, MD 21867.
Mr. Weilbacher was a man who rescued lost souls and stray cats. His last rescue is "Lucky" a small kitten he found injured on the highway in May 2013. Lucky, minus one fang, will miss him, as well as the other cats and dogs at home.
Family, friends and clients are cordially invited to an informal celebration of his life with military honors at Winter Quarters Log Cabin in Pocomoke City, MD on Sept. 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm. Bishop Isaac Jenkins will officiate.
Published in The Daily Times on Sept. 12, 2013
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