It is with sadness that we must say goodbye to our longest serving club member and friend, Ed Karasek, who passed away November 22, 2017. Ed joined the Kiwanis Club of Berwyn in 1952 and remained a member for the rest of his life. He worked tirelessly over those years on behalf of our community and our children. He was a man of many talents, much energy, and courtly manners, and he always gave generously of his time.
A World War II veteran who flew C-47’s in the China-Burma-India theater, Ed always spoke eloquently at our Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day programs of the sacrifices our Armed Forces made for our great nation. He gently provided the heartfelt reminder to each of us that freedom is not free.
He was recognized as the longest serving Park District commissioner in the State of
Illinois. Hundreds of Berwyn projects and programs benefited from his volunteer efforts, and he became the “face” of Kiwanis, often representing our organization within the Berwyn community.
The 1961 Board of the Kiwanis Club of Berwyn; Ed is seated at far right.
He frequently shared stories of days gone by with the membership and felt privileged to have known over the years many "outstanding Kiwanians," in his words. As our club’s historian, he was the one who reminded us of our past successes. . . as well as those occasions where we might have fallen short.
This gentle man helped promote and organize more Peanut Days and Pancake Days than any other member in our club's history. He was the one who motivated each of us to find a way to obtain more donations on Peanut Day. One could bank on finding him at his usual spot every Peanut Day, always outfitted in Kiwanis gear.
He was always an inspiration who kept our momentum going, pushing each of us to do better than we had the previous year. We eagerly waited to hear his voice every Pancake Day morning announcing “Batter Up.”
He showed his importance within our club time and time again. He was the first to say thank you, on behalf of the children, for a job well done. Whenever we questioned our purpose, he quickly reminded us of our importance to the children of our community and beyond.
Though he was certainly an involved and committed member when it came to service and fundraising, he always stressed fellowship as an important aspect of the club. His attendance record over the decades was astounding. Year after year, he would be the only member with perfect attendance. On the rare occasion when he would miss a Berwyn Kiwanis meeting, he would attend a meeting at a nearby club to make up for his absence. In recent years, his wife Mary often accompanied him to meetings, and he continued to attend regularly until a few months before his passing.
When the Eliminate Project was introduced, Ed was ready to find ways to raise funds for this international project. He energized and challenged us to do more for the children of Berwyn and the children of the world. Ed was nominated for and received the Kiwanis International Zeller Award for his service to these projects.
We wish to recognize and honor Edward Karasek for his years of devoted service to the Berwyn Kiwanis. He will be sorely missed by our Club members and the Berwyn community, as his devotion to club and community never wavered. In his memory we will continue to serve the community and the children of the world.