Edwin Blaauw, Jr. lived a long, full life and died peacefully on May 9, 2019, at the age of 92. He was born to Ruth and Edwin Blaauw, Sr. on Staten Island, NY, on February 6, 1927. He married Monica Bartko in 1953 and had 4 children: William, Susan, Cathryn and Ruthann. He is survived by his four children and their spouses: William Blaauw and Rob Conzett; Susan and David Pearce; Cathryn and Mark Raines; Ruthann and Darrell Royal. He had five grandchildren who each held a special place in his heart: Christopher, Emily, Thomas, Matthew and Anna. He is also survived by his brother, William and nephews, Robert and John Blaauw, and by Helen McNamara, his partner in later life for more than 20 years.
Edwin found the balance in life that so many of us strive for – it was rich with love, family, career, travel and service. He grew up on Staten Island, NY; worked, married and raised his family in Baldwin, NY; retired to Hendersonville, NC; and spent his last 2 years in Winston-Salem, NC. In each place he called "home" Edwin was loved by many.
Edwin earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Wagner College on Staten Island, NY in 1950, and a Master of Education from NYU in 1962. He deeply valued education and was grateful for the opportunity to earn his degrees. Edwin continued to support Wagner College until his passing. Edwin's son-in-law, Mark, recently found a copy of his yearbook from Wagner, and presented it to him. This stimulated many wonderful walks down memory lane as Edwin proudly shared his college recollections with many visitors, especially his grandkids.
Edwin had a gift for teaching and for truly caring about each student that crossed his path. He began his teaching career in 1952 as a 4th grade teacher at Shubert School in Baldwin, NY. Soon after meeting his first class of 35+ students, he also met Monica Bartko, the elementary music teacher at Shubert, who would become his wife of 34 years, until her passing. They married June 27, 1953 – a week after school let out for summer. Edwin's career in education continued at Baldwin Junior High, and then as a guidance counselor at Baldwin High School and Plainedge High School in Massapequa, Long Island. He never lost his love for teaching and counseling, as his family and friends can attest. He continued to listen intently, build relationships and counsel with grace and kindness until his final days.
Edwin's schedule as a teacher enabled him to pursue his lifelong love of travel every summer with his family, and he continued to travel extensively after retirement. Each summer, he loaded up the wood-paneled station wagon with 4 kids, towing a camper, and set off on a very carefully planned route the old-fashioned way -- with gas station maps, AAA "trip tics" and a national directory of campgrounds. He loved to travel and logged thousands of miles across the US and Canada always by car! Some of his favorite trips were to our National Parks, State Parks and Alaska twice. His travels provided joy for years to come; his sharp memory could recall the dates, routes and specifics of each and every trip.
Service to his country and his community were values that Edwin held high. He proudly enlisted in the Army Air Corp at the age of 19. He went through basic training in Biloxi, MS, and was stationed in Panama for a period of time. His life embodied those values so often associated with "the greatest generation" – honor, duty, pride and a willingness to serve. His military service made it possible for him to attend college on the GI Bill, something for which he was always grateful. When he retired to Hendersonville, NC, it was Edwin's goal to give back to his community. He faithfully volunteered at the Hendersonville Courthouse and the local public library. Edwin knew that community service was ultimately a path to greater joy, and through his service he built many treasured friendships that endured until his passing.
Always most central to Edwin's life was his family. He loved unconditionally and his family felt his love in so many ways, from small acts of kindness to more generous expressions. When each of his children married, he opened his heart fully and welcomed each new family member as if they were his own. He had more love to share with the addition of his five grandchildren. Until his final days, Edwin was deliberate in maintaining a special connection with each member of his family. He has patiently waited to be reunited with his beautiful wife, Monica, confident that their love and their union would endure. This is how he lived his life. And it was full.
"Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord."