Edward Joseph FRITSCH

Edward Joseph FRITSCH

Aug. 31, 1938 – Dec. 11, 2011

Born to Pauline (nee Bahnuk) and George Fritsch in Muenster, Saskatchewan.

Edward moved to Vancouver in 1957 and took a job driving a parts truck in Vancouver for a year for Sherwin Motors. He attended telegraph school at night and in the spring of 1958, started summer work as a telegrapher for the Canadian Pacific Railway between Revelstoke and Field (the Rogers Pass area). While on the job each summer Edward lived in caboose number 436178, working overtime and saving money for his education.

In the fall of 1959, Edward secured a leave of absence from the CPR to attend teachers college in Saskatoon, and was voted class president by his peers. A great believer in education, Edward went on to attend university at St. Peter’s College in Muenster (a Benedictine Abbey) where he established the yearbook. (At St. Peter’s, Edward honed his Gregorian chanting that he later became famous for among students at Chilliwack Secondary).

Edward earned his honours Bachelor of Arts and a Masters degree in History in 1966. He taught Grade 8 and 9 in Jasper, Alta. for a year, where he spent his free time skiing in leather boots and wooden skis

Edward elected to make a career of teaching and accepted a teaching position at Chilliwack Senior Secondary in 1967. He taught humanities to Chilliwack high school students in room 216 for almost 40 years. Later, he became department head of Humanities and Social Studies and taught several courses at the University of the Fraser Valley. Edward’s students were taught to write with clarity, to analyze what they read critically, to have an appreciation and interest in history, culture, politics, humour, and art. Edward’s History 12 classes consistently ranked in the top 10 and 20 on the provincial exam. Edward regarded all of his students as his “beautiful children” as he sang to them before every class. Edward retired in 2008 and continued to entertain and educate on the substitute teacher list in Chilliwack for several more years.

Edward married Linda-Barbara (nee Busay) in Montreal in 1972. They welcomed son Ryan Edward in 1978 and daughter Kelly Michelle in 1982. They built a home on Little Mountain in 1986. Edward was known to his neighbours for his meticulous landscaping and his family walks around the neighbourhood (always stopping for chit-chat), aided by his trusty hockey stick.

In 1995, he was approached by a student about taking a group of high school students to Europe. Edward’s initial reaction was to refuse, indicating that one would have to be insane to agree to supervise 15 teenagers on a student trip to Europe. However, he promptly relented, and led the students on his annual “Grand Tour” for almost 15 years. An avid traveller himself, Edward and Linda have visited over 20 countries around the world.

Edward is survived by his wife Linda, his children Ryan (Kate Sellar) and Kelly (Aaron Gordon), and his sisters Viola, Laura, Alexis, Linda, Brenda, and Joan, and many nieces, nephews and extended family. On August 8, 2011, Edward became “Grandad” to Jay Edward Fritsch.

Edward’s family wishes to acknowledge the nursing staff at NU5 Chilliwack General Hospital, and special thank you to oncologist Dr. Robert Winston of Abbotsford and family physician Dr. Lisa LeGresley of Chilliwack for their support and expertise. The family also wishes to thank the many life-long friends and loved ones, colleagues, and students who frequently visited Edward in the last few months of his life.

A public drop-in reception will be held in the Trillium Banquet Room at Minter Gardens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday December 17, 2011 (all are welcome). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to BC Lions/Easter Seals Camp Squamish.

Chilliwack Progress

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