Edward James Grundler
Jan. 1, 1939 – April 8, 2011
Edward James Grundler, 72, passed away peacefully on the morning of April 8, 2011, after a long and difficult battle against stomach cancer. During his last courageous steps, he was surrounded by his loving wife, all seven of his children and other close family members.
Ed was born in Pontiac, Ill., on January 1, 1939. He left home at age 17 to join the United States Air Force. While stationed in Topeka, Kan., he met Marjorie Joan Potter of Garnett, Kan., the love of his life and his soul mate who walked beside him for almost 53 years. Together Ed and Joni raised seven children and opened their home to another 22 foster children whom they loved dearly. To many, Ed was first and foremost a loving father.
Ed was a hard-working, intelligent and inquisitive man. He spent 21 years in the military working in the Strategic Air Command as an electrical engineer. He was particularly proud of his days spent in the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing working on the SR-71 blackbird. During the Vietnam War, he spent a year in Thailand serving his country while his family waited for him stateside. His service took him all across the U.S., and various overseas locations including England, Okinawa and Vietnam. Ed attained the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and received many medals and commendations for his service.
After retiring from the military in 1976 at age 37 from Beale Air Force Base, Ed received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Sacramento State. From there, he worked on satellite cryptography at Jones Futura Foundation in Sacramento and then moved to Lancaster to work for Lockheed. There, he was very excited to be a key engineer for Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects, the “SkunkWorks,” working on many projects, including the F-117 Stealth Fighter, the U-2 RAMP upgrade and the Tier III Minus UAV. He worked for Lockheed until 2000, when he retired for the second time.
Ed’s love for learning, however, propelled him on; he relocated to Davis in 2000 to work with his daughter and son-in-law as a patent engineer for Park, Vaughan & Fleming LLP. Ed studied hard, passed the patent bar and became one of the firm’s first patent agents. After a brief third retirement in 2008, he returned to the firm as a highly valued and respected employee until his recent passing. As stated most succinctly by his colleagues, he was a man of traditional American values, honor and integrity, but also full of humor and compassion. He is missed dearly by his colleagues and friends.
Throughout the years, Ed held many other interesting jobs and positions, including corn farmer, bowling alley pin setter, radio station engineer, radio disc jockey and adjunct college professor. Ed truly was a man of many talents, a renaissance man.
Ed is survived by his mother, Yvonne Grundler; his wife, Joni Grundler; his seven children Dennis Grundler, Diane Tolle, Valerie Park, Stephen Grundler, David Grundler, Donna Carroll and Jose Grundler; his six grandchildren Nathan, Anna, Ella, Christopher, Elyse and Patrick; his brothers Robert, Joseph, William and Daniel; and countless nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, John Grundler and his sister MaryAnne Grundler.
Ed was also a very devout Catholic. His belief and faith in God gave him strength throughout his life especially during his final days. All friends of Ed and his family are encouraged to attend his funeral mass at Saint James Catholic Church in Davis at noon on Wednesday, April 20. A reception will immediately follow in the church hall. All guests are welcome to attend and share their thoughts and feelings. Thereafter, Ed will be buried at the National Sacramento Valley Veterans’ Cemetery in Dixon at a private ceremony with the family.
The family asks that any donations be made to the St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital (http://www.stjude.org) or to the Wreaths Across America Program (http://www.svncsc.org).