Ed Vasecka loved to tell stories. All he needed was an audience. He told his last story Oct. 1, 2012, in Helena, Mont., at the age of 81. He died of congestive heart failure, his children beside him.
Edward George Vasecka Jr. was born Nov. 27, 1930, in Chicago, to Bohemian parents. He grew up back of the stock yards with his many Czech cousins, in the comforts of a middle-class working home during the Depression. He was an only child.
After graduating from high school in 1949, he surprised his folks by joining the United States Air Force. He had originally wanted to join the Army, but the recruiter was gone that day, so we went to the Air Force recruiter instead and never regretted it. After basic training, he was stationed at Keesler Air Force base in Mississippi, where he met Pfc. Janis Munsterman and they married. Their first daughter, Terri, was born there.
Sergeant Ed was in charge of maintaining the radar equipment that searched for “enemy” aircraft during the Cold War days. Most of these radar sites were located in the northern part of the United States, so that is where the family went.
In North Dakota,
his second daughter Vicki was born and a year later, his son Scott. In South Dakota, his fourth child, Linnea, was born. The family was then stationed in Spain for three years.
It was in 1964 that the Vasecka family first arrived in Montana to a radar station 40 miles north of Havre. The Vasecka family had found a place they loved.
In 1968, when he received orders to go to Labrador, his family remained in Havre. When his year there was up, they went to Oregon. That radar site closed in 1970, so Ed asked to come back to the place he loved, Havre. He retired from the Air Force in 1976 and immediately went to work as a justice of the peace of Hill County.
In 1971, he and Jan took an anniversary vacation to Glacier National Park. That became their second love, and when he retired a second time, they bought their first permanent home in West Glacier and lived there until ill health in 2009 forced them move to Helena to be near their children.
Jan passed away in 2010, and Ed spent the last few years with their cat, Missy, telling stories to the people who cared for him. He enjoyed railroading, history and puns. He worked with the Red Cross, Boy Scouts and was an honorary member of the Havre Sons of Norway. His sense of humor and his knowledge of almost all things were his biggest assets. He had an excellent memory right to the end.
He is survived by his daughter, Terri Vasecka Atwood of Clancy; his daughter, Vicki Vasecka Kulbeck and her husband Glen of Big Sandy; son, Scott Vasecka of Havre; daughter, Linnea Vasecka of West Glacier; six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Ed will be coming back to Havre Oct. 13, where his funeral service will be held at the Holland & Bonine Funeral Home Chapel at 2 p. m. A time of fellowship will be held at the Havre Elks Club following the memorial service. Ed and Jan’s ashes will be scattered in Glacier National Park. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.