From the Hill
Our association is very lucky. We have had so many people step forward through the years and help us do what we do, make our community a better place to live. Our corner of the world.
But recently, we lost a true friend that loved Strawberry Hill as much as we do. He had owned a business down here, and was trying to restore a historical home, the Mathias Splitlog home. He so badly wanted to be able to bring it back to its once glory days, and live in it. But it was not to be. Due to unfortunate circumstances, it fell through and it broke his heart. But he was still very active with our group and did so many good things for us it would take too long to describe. His name was Ed Rust, or Edwin as I called him. This man was one of a kind. He loved people. He loved jokes. He loved stories and telling them to us about his adventures in life. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a gentleman. He was kind. And he loved his “bride,” Sandy, so very much. And all of his family. And he was a do-gooder as it were, to almost everyone he met. We miss him so much.
We had our first meeting last night since his death, and his laughing face was sorely missed. His expertise in so many things was missed. He had a brilliant mind, and that was missed. And most of all, standing outside after the meetings, standing around talking and hearing his latest adventure was missed. If we needed anything, he was the first to offer to get ‘er done.
Not many organizations are lucky enough to have someone like Ed on their “non-payroll volunteering” list. Someone you can depend on to help. And give good advice. Every Christmas, for our group dinner, he would cook two turkeys to perfection, smoking them for hours, and donate them for our wonderful dinner for the membership. It was always anticipated and looked forward to from us all.
He fought cancer harder than anyone else I know. But it moved too quickly, and cancer won the fight.
Ed was a tough ol’ bird, but as gentle as rain. In the 14 years I was proud to call him friend, he fought more fights and won than most of us see in a lifetime. Not only him, but his family as well. He at one time fought the old demon of alcohol, he overcame it, and proudly would turn down a drink, saying, I am an alcoholic. And drink water or coffee. He had been clean for 20 years, but still would say, “I am an alcoholic.”
He volunteered on so many boards and organizations, it would fill a book. He was a retired Fire Inspector and still worked for the city. He and Sandy would always be seen together, side by side, doing things for the KCK area.
It is always hard to let go of friends, and have to tell them goodbye. I know I will always be grateful he came into our lives, and was proud to call him and Sandy friends. They were so close, I know she is devastated at his loss. It came so quickly, she did not have time to prepare. Nor did his friends and family. His memorial was packed with people, stunned by their sudden loss of Ed Rust. That speaks volumes for his memory.
So, Ed, we all wish you peace and your family the strength to get through this trying time. Know you are missed and were loved by many. And we are sure you are sitting around, telling your funny stories, and keeping the angels entertained. Thanks for walking through life with us and sharing your humor and wisdom.
You lost a friend or member and missed them so much?
When you wished there were visiting hours in heaven?
Just one more time to tell them you loved them?
And you felt their presence around you?
Till next time.
Carole Diehl is the president of the Strawberry Hill Neighborhood Association.