Edwin Omer Jantz, passed away suddenly at his home on Wednesday, September 1st, just prior to his 87th birthday. He was a devoted husband to Gail who was the love of his life, and a wonderful dad to his three girls and a devoted grandfather to his five grandkids.
Ed was well known for his optimism, his great sense of humor and kindness to all. He always led with a "can do" attitude and was incredibly supportive of his family and friends. His positive view of life was reflected in each interaction and his readiness to help others including family, friends, neighbors and misplaced raccoons was evident to all. He loved to grow fresh vegetables in his garden and would regularly donate and deliver his River Garden produce to the Waterbury Soup Kitchen. Another one of his yearly giving traditions was buying a complete outfit for a retired veteran for the holiday season.
He lived an active and engaged life and loved hiking, fishing, gardening, reading nonfiction and financial publications. He was passionate about watching the UConn Women's Basketball Team and the Dallas Cowboys. Ed always had a smile on his face and was friendly and grateful. In his later years he would frequently share with all around him, "If I go tomorrow, man, I have had such a great life."
Ed was born and raised in the very small-town of Oto, Iowa, population of 50. Young Ed enjoyed his dad’s wonderful sense of humor and shared his father’s love of fishing and hunting. Ed became the man of the household at 12 years old when his father died and he helped his mother raise his younger brother, Gary. Although they grew up in extreme poverty, Mary found a way through her perseverance to provide both her sons with college educations. Ed graduated with an Economics degree from Grinnell College (’57) and master’s degree from Southern Methodist University (’75) in Dallas, Texas.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, Ed joined the Air Force and was able to leverage his early military experience in a progression of sales roles. As he was a funny and kind man, he made and kept many friends over the course of his life. One of his friends introduced Ed to his lovely sister, Nancy Gail Holzer. After a short courtship, Ed and Gail were married on July 9th, 1960 and were happily married for over 61 years.
Ed and Gail started their married life in Atlanta, GA, then moved to Charlotte, NC, where their oldest daughter Susan was born, then on to Detroit, MI where their middle daughter, Barbara, was born, before moving to Minneapolis, MN, where their youngest daughter, Margaret was born. Three moves and three daughters within 3 years kept the young couple quite busy as they found adventure with each new state.
With their three young daughters in tow, they continued to move as Ed was promoted in various sales roles in Colorado until he made a career change into City Management with a move to Los Alamos, New Mexico. The family built a beautiful home and settled into New Mexico for three years and enjoyed weekly hikes through the mesas and visiting Santa Fe & Albuquerque before the Great State of Texas recruited Ed as Director of Purchasing for the City of Dallas. Ed focused his career on municipal purchasing and held roles as Director for Purchasing for the City of Dallas, County of Dallas and DFW Airport.
After retirement, Ed and Gail relocated to Connecticut to join two of their daughters becoming part of their beloved Heritage Village community of Southbury. Ed served as President for Condo 3 for 14 years, worked as one of the crew on HV Ambulance and on the River Garden Board. HV community also provided many activities he enjoyed tremendously including the River Gardens, Bridge Club, Wall Street Club in addition to volunteering for social events and making incredible friends that were so close they became extended family. Two couples that truly have been amazing friends are Joe & Josephine Novak and Joe & Anabelle Bailey. The two Joes and Ed became “The Three Musketeers” and had a weekly guys’ adventure of hiking, fishing, museum touring and taste testing at countless restaurants. With his passion for learning and keen interest in life, he added insights to every discussion no matter what the topic. Ed was the kind of guy people wanted to be around and have in their lives.
Ed truly loved his family. He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife, Gail Jantz, his brother and his sister-in-law, Gary and Linda Jantz, his daughter, Susan and her husband Joe Russo and his grandchildren Katie, Lizzie & Joseph, daughter Barbara and her husband, Marty Rusk, granddaughters Christina and Ashley and great-granddaughter, Sierra, and daughter Margaret and her husband, Dan Malaquias.
A private Memorial Service for family was held in Dallas on September 15th.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to your local food bank especially fresh vegetables including radishes and/or grow your own vegetable garden. Please be kind to others, keep learning and make your life an adventure. He would have liked that.
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