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Edward R. Szetela

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HAMPTON - Edward Robert Szetela, 91, known to all as Mr. Ed, died at his home Monday, April 6, 2015 after a long illness. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, he served with the 69th Infantry in Europe and was the only Russian Interpreter on the front lines at the time the United States and Russian forces met at the Elbe River. Following World War II, Mr. Ed returned to the University of Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1948. After earning his Masters Degree from Cornell and attending Clark University for more graduate work, Mr. Szetela moved to Hampton in 1951 to teach at Hampton High School. Recognized for his steel blue eyes and fair discipline, he moved from teacher to Assistant Principal of Hampton High School, then to the brand new Kecoughtan High School to be its first Principal. Later, Mr. Ed was appointed Principal of Pembroke High School, then he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Hampton City Schools and finally to Superintendent of Hampton City Schools until he retired in 1982. During this time, he taught Government and Russian at both Hampton Schools and at the College of William and Mary. He was proud of the fact that some of his students spoke Russian better than he and he was also proud to have taught so many young ladies and young men. Mr. Ed was a member of St. Rose of Lima and The Korean Martyrs Catholic Parish. A past president of the Hampton Rotary Club and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, he also served on many local boards over the years, including Chairman of the Hampton YMCA Board from 1984 - 1986. Mr. Szetela, a combat veteran during World War II, was a member of the 69th Infantry Division Association. Survivors include a nephew, Robert Szetela of South Hadley, MA; a niece Elizabeth Ann Vigeant of Bonita Springs, Florida; a great nephew, Brian Okraska and a great niece, Kerrie Szczuka and their children, Mark Szetela, Lisa Tessier and Suzanne Szetela; and a sister-in-law, Viola Szetela. They thank Marie Archer and her mother Mary Batts for their kind care of Mr. "Z" at his home. The family will receive friends from 5:00 until 8:00 pm Friday at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Ave., downtown Hampton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM Saturday at St. Rose of Lima and The Korean Martyrs Catholic Parish, 2114 Bay Avenue, Hampton, by Rev. Simon Ahn. Burial will be at 2:00 pm Monday, April 13, in Parklawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers for Mr. Ed will be Bobby Croft, Bud Porter, Joey Lawrence, John Bane, Robert Smith and Wythe Holt. Serving as Honorary Pallbearers will be Hardy Cash, Aggie Hogge, Paul Burton and Pat Minetti. Memorials may be in the form of donations to the Hampton YMCA, 1322 LaSalle Ave., Hampton, 23669. www.rhaydensmith.com
Published in Daily Press from Apr. 8 to Apr. 9, 2015
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