The service to commemorate the life of Ed Wetzel will be Thursday, January
7, 2010 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Bruce Caldwell will
preside at the Eucharist. Ed fulfilled his call to priesthood throughout
his life; to honor his brief but fruitful time as an ordained priest, clergy
attending may vest and sit together as is customary.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical
Clinic, which provides medical care to the under- or un-insured. Ed was a
board member of this clinic and he held the cause close to his heart.
Blessings on all of you in your grief, and we hope you come and rejoice with
us as we celebrate the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection.
The Funeral service for The Reverend Edward A. Wetzel was Thursday, January 7, 2010 at St. Johnâ€™s Episcopal Church in Powell. Nearly 200 of his friends and family from coast to coast came to honor his life. Their ready laughter and tears were a witness to the wide swath of good work Ed cut over the years.
Ed was born in New York City on June 11, 1933, the oldest of six children born to Edward Albert and Gertrude (Fitzpatrick) Wetzel. His childhood years were spent in Scarsdale, N.Y., where he attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Grammar School and Stepinac High School. Ed graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in 1955. Following graduation from college he began a career in advertising. For 20 years he worked in the field, becoming an officer of two of the largest advertising agencies in New York City. He would often share stories about the brainstorming meetings or barroom conversation where some of the most famous tag-lines were imagined, including the United Negro College Fundâ€™s â€œA Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.â€
On Oct. 6, 1956, Ed married Carra Quinlan. Eventually Ed and his family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he managed the office of another large advertising agency. There, in 1978, Ed almost died of alcohol dependence. After several months of physical recuperation, Ed began the second half of his life, devoting his energies to his own recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous and to the recovery of those he could help. He became a substance abuse counselor and worked at treatment facilities in Georgia and Virginia. He was most involved with those whose addictions had led them into the criminal justice system.
In 1995, Ed and his wife, Carra, moved to Powell to be near their son and his family. Ed assisted in developing the Park County Drug Court and served as the coordinator during its formative years.
His spiritual journey led him to St. Johnâ€™s Episcopal Church. On his first visit there, the church was hosting a carry-in dinner. He sat at the table and ate and remarked with his trademark charm and wit: â€œEverything Iâ€™ve heard about Episcopalians is trueâ€¦real plates!â€
He was called by the congregation to enter ordained ministry and was ordained a priest in January 2008. He also served on the board of the Park County Library Foundation and, at the time of his death, was a member of the board of the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic.
He was, as his brother William put it, â€œa major backerâ€ in our lives. He encouraged and inspired his family, friends and parishioners with his bedrock faith, humor, and ability to know what was important. He knew his life had been redeemed by God, and he made the most of his time living in that redemption, and calling others to it.
During his illness, he opened himself to all of us, and let us walk near him on his path, even on the steepest and most difficult passages. Doubtless is he on that mountain top and sitting at the feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines. On real plates.
Blessings, brother. We will miss you.