Charles Edward "Ed" Gasaway Jr. of Portage, Michigan passed away on Monday, November 13, 2023, with his family around him at the age of 81. Ed was born in Galatia, Illinois on August 29. 1942, to the late Charles and Pauletta (Cain) Gasaway. Ed married his wife of 60 years, Pat Sheppardson, on June 11, 1963.
Ed moved to Portage at the age of 9, but Southern Illinois remained an important part of his memories. Ed and Pat recently moved back to Portage after having lived in Vicksburg for 46 years. He graduated from Portage Township High School and then went on to Western Michigan University, earning both a Bachelors and an MBA while being a part of the ROTC Program and working full time at the Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital. After graduating from Western, Ed served his country as a 1st Lieutenant in Vietnam and was proud of his service, especially in earning a Bronze Star. One cool thing that he did while there was to set up a scholarship fund for the 4th Infantry Division. The soldiers would donate money in cash boxes as they entered the mess tent (dining tent). He was amazed at how quickly the donation boxes (improvised ammunition boxes) were stuffed full. Everyone wanted to make sure that the kids of fallen soldiers were able to go to college. Today, the fund is still going strong, helping children of soldiers who died while serving with the Fourth Infantry Division go to college.
As a businessman, Ed was at one time the youngest bank president in the State of Michigan and looked back fondly on his time as president of the American National Bank in Portage (now Fifth Third Bank.) But he could see the writing on the wall of coming changes to banking laws and knew it was time for a career change. When trying to figure out his future career path, a wise older attorney suggested he become a financial advisor, because "Kalamazoo needs good advisors who would do what was best for their clients." With that, he entered the financial advising business and worked at three different brokerage firms before starting what would become Gasaway Investment Advisors. Nowadays you regularly hear the word "Fiduciary," which is acting solely in the best interest of your clients, but Ed lived that out in everything that he did, especially in his work with clients.
Ed always felt that it was important to give back to his community and he did that in many ways – serving as both a Deacon and Elder multiple times at the churches that he was a part of; as a founder of the Stulberg International Strings Competition, president of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, president of the Portage Chamber of Commerce, and with involvement in numerous other organizations. As part of the Chamber of Commerce, he was proud to help bring the City of Portage and the City of Kalamazoo together to bring the 911 system to Kalamazoo and also in helping pave the way for the Romence Road extension. In his church and in other organizations, he enjoyed helping the organizations raise money for what they needed.
Throughout his life, Ed had a strong faith in Christ. In everything that he did, Ed worked hard and lived a life of Integrity. He liked to make things happen and was known for his hardy laugh. While he worked hard for his own success, he was always ready to help others be successful and was excited for their successes. He was grateful for the ways that God had blessed him and especially for the good health that he enjoyed for almost his entire lifetime.
Ed loved to travel and to learn about American history. He and Pat traveled to all 50 states over the years and wintered in Orange Beach, Alabama for many years. Ed loved making friends with so many people that he met over the years. He and Pat were so thankful for all that supported them during his difficult last year(s) while he suffered with dementia.
Ed is survived by his loving wife, Pat; two children, Jacki Nee-Gasaway and Jim (Lori) Gasaway; three grandchildren, Brittney Kitiara "Kit" Morgan, Leann and JJ Gasaway; sisters, Irma Fox, Edith Weyenberg; sister-in-law, Terri Gasaway and sister-in-law Sandra Sheppardson; and several special nieces and nephews, all whom he loved and supported very much. He spent every Wednesday with his grandchildren having "Grandpa Day's" with them when they were young and then watching them in various sporting events as they grew older. Spending time with his family was one of his greatest joys.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Pauletta Gasaway; his parents-in-law Ralph and Margaret Sheppardson; brother, Bert Gasaway, brother-in-law, Dale Fox, brother-in-law, Dave Weyenberg, and brother-in-law, Tom Sheppardson.
Friends may visit with the family from 4 - 7pm on Monday, November 20, 2023 at Langeland Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service on 3926 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 with a luncheon to follow. Burial with Military Honors will follow at 2:00PM at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta.
Memorial contributions may be made in Ed's honor to the 4th Infantry Division Scholarship Fund or Kalamazoo Christian Schools Foundation's "Spirit of Kalamazoo Christian Schools" Scholarship. To view Ed's personalized guestbook, please visit https://www.langelands.com.
Donations may also be mailed to:
National 4th Infantry (IVY) Division Association P.O. Box 1914 St. Peters, MO 63376-0035
Note in check memo line: "Scholarship Fund"
Kalamazoo Christian School Foundation
2121 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Note in check memo line: "Spirit of Kalamazoo Christian Award Fund"