World War II Navy Veteran, Edward Prutz, loving husband, proud father of five boys, Grandfather and Great Grandfather passed peacefully at St. Joseph Hospice - The Carpenter House on April 30, 2013. He was 88.
Like most veterans of that war Edward never spoke much of it until near the end. He was always humble and made it clear early on that he did not see physical combat and consequently its perceived that he did not see himself equally as a veteran of this war. But he was. At times his ship cleared stray mines that approached the fleet, but most notably he was an active part of operation crossroads; the atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll Islands in July 1946. This was not known to anyone until Edward saw it broadcast on the History channel one night and only then he first spoke of his involvement. It was previously classified as top secret and when he was told to forget about it he did just that.
As an Engineer onboard the US Takelma Sea going tug he helped tow the target ships to site and ferried the scientists to and from to set instruments. He spoke of the brightness of the Able blast and how nothing could conceal it. Edward was witness to the world's 4th and 5th atomic bombs detonated during Operation Crossroads.
He was born October 13, 1924, in Plover WI, to the late Basil Pruc and Anastasia Pruc. He was youngest of seven first generation American siblings and a product of the Great Depression. After the war he mustered out of the Navy with $100 and later married the prettiest girl in the world, Bernice Wojciuk, in Milwaukee, WI, on November 24, 1949. He truly defined love as he cared for her in her final years. One can now picture them together again.
Together they had farmed in Moon, Wisconsin, for many decades and he also made use of his Navy skills as he worked as a machinist for more than 30 years for Marathon Electric in Wausau, WI. Through this hard work and determination to succeed he led us boys to learn the richness of life in our own ways while never once leaving us to feel poor. Edward had five boys with Bernice and throughout his life he demonstrated that he had loved all them the same and respected there uniqueness. No one was ever better than the other in his eyes. He enjoyed watching the varied paths that they took and never stopped listening and just being a good father. His compassion and commonsense smartness about the world will be missed.
He was a fortunate man whom knew how to enjoy life. As an accomplished concertina player and fan of folk music he was the band, was the party, and was the fan again. He frequented all the festivals of Wisconsin summers and then for the past 26 years of retirement he frequented all the similar folk festivals that Louisiana could offer. In the end he loved Cajun music as much as polkas and waltzes. In-between sets he would join any card or table game he could. Family card games will be missed. But he will be remembered with every shuffle of a deck or squeeze of a concertina.
He is survived by his sons, Stanley (Joellen) Prutz Baton Rouge LA; Michael (Eva Seraphin) Prutz California; Robert Prutz, Houston Texas; William (Lori) Prutz, Kronenwetter, Wisconsin; nine Grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Tragically he lost one son Joseph in 1990.
Edward had two brothers and four sisters. He is preceded in death by all. The deceased are Anna, Helen, John, Barbara, Bernard, and Angeline.
Services for Edward were held privately with immediate family. He is laid to rest in Port Hudson National Cemetery, 20978 Port Hickey Road Zachary, LA 70791.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to: Peplin VFW Post 8280, 3332 State Hwy 153 East, Mosinee, WI 54455 where he was a life member. Or just thank the next veteran you see.
Published in Stevens Point Journal from May 4 to May 5, 2013