ZOLLA, Edward M. Died unexpectedly from a sudden cardiac event while on a family vacation in Lake Tahoe on Saturday, September 2, 2006. Ed was born in Chicago, in, 1947, the devoted son of the late Betty and Edward M. Zolla, Jr. He was a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation he was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy and served his tour of duty in Viet Nam. Ed was very proud of his service to his country, and was equally proud to return to Viet Nam years later in pursuit of humanitarian and Vietnamese economic development causes, thereby completing for him, his real tour of duty. A successful entrepreneur, Ed launched, acquired, and operated a multitude of enterprises in a variety of industries, including a liquid bottling company serving Fortune 100 clients, a large consumer textile manufacturing and import company, and others. He most recently founded Industrial Equity Capital, an acquisition firm. For nearly 30 years, Ed was the founder and President of Horizon Construction, a construction and property management firm specializing in affordable housing throughout Los Angeles and Kern County and student housing at the University of Southern California. He measured all his many business ventures and economic accomplishments not only by their financial statements, but by the opportunities he created for the people he worked with and the communities he impacted. Ed's work ethic led to long hours and seven day work weeks. He was a long time active member of the Young President's Organization and World President's Organization. Ed's entrepreneurial skill, abundant energy and insight was not limited to business. In honor of his mother's work at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, he founded "Holidays from the Heart (formerly the "Holiday Elf Program") at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, in which Christmas was delivered by him, his family, and his friends, to countless families with sick and dying children. In addition, Ed's annual Chinese New Year Dinner Event provided a "unique" dining experience and over the years, he and co-founders raised enough funds to build an orthopedic surgical unit for Children's Hospital. Ed, the contractor, built the homeless teen shelter for the Los Angeles Youth Network, where he also served on the Board of Directors for many years. Ed, patron of the arts, was a proud member of the Los Angeles Opera Board of Directors, serving on their education committee where he was committed to bringing opera into the public schools. With his wife Susan, he was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers, and sponsor of the Center Theatre Group. While many other non profit organizations and individuals profited from his largess, the cause closest to Ed's world vision was to provide access to college for inner city youth. Ed endowed full scholarships for inner city minority students at the University of Pennsylvania and Bucknell University. He also funded financial aid packages at Franklin Marshall College and Colgate University, and was a generous benefactor to the One Voice Scholarship program and the Fulfillment Fund. He taught a class on entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business and in typical Ed Zolla style, most recently taught business finance at Manuel Arts High School. Ed enjoyed travel, the more exotic the better, scuba diving, recently took up running, and was an avid cyclist who deeply deeply treasured his Pelaton Cycling Group and their 50 mile Saturday morning road bike rides. Enough yet? No. Just about everyday, Ed met with someone: a friend, a friend's son or daughter, a high school student, or friend of a friend, someone, who sought Ed's advice, counsel, and candid direction. He helped so many, so very many, find their better self and achieve their very best. Ed's life was short but Ed's impact and accomplishments will endure far beyond his lifetime on earth. Beyond all, Ed loved his family with a devotion we may never see again. We are too sad to write anymore. Suffice is to say that for those of us whom he loved, there c91010
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Published in Los Angeles Times on Sep. 7, 2006.