Edward Katasabek

June 16, 1927 ~ February 20, 2013

Edward Katasabek, 85, formerly of the Sioux City, IA, and S.Sioux City, NE, areas passed away at the Royal C. Johnson Memorial Veteran’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, after a brief illness.

The family had a very moving and special private ceremony at the Veteran’s Hospital.

Edward L. Katasabek was born June 16, 1927, in Sioux City, IA, to Edward F. Katasabek and Lillian Miller, but grew up on a farm near Climbing Hill and the Anthon-Otto areas of IA. He had an older sister, Betty Ann, who passed away at the young age of 7 years old from appendicitis, so he grew up basically as an only child after that. Post high school, he entered the Army in Sept. of 1945 and was honorably discharged from the military in Jan. of 1947. He always joked that he got to Okinawa, Japan, and the Japanese actually did surrender not many months after that……so, he said they heard he was coming and got scared…this also earned him one of his nicknames: “Kamakazi Ed!” He married Marilee (Lee) Wells in December of 1949 and they had their one and only child, Kathy Lee, in Nov. 1952. Shortly after that he began his career in lifetime insurance sales. From that point thereafter, he was always #1 or #2 in top sales month after month for the nearly 40 years he sold insurance. He had an extraordinary mind for numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. and he could tell you his client’s complete information, including their children’s names, birth dates, what kind of insurance they had and so on…..being very kind-hearted, he paid many people’s premiums for them, in order to be able to keep their insurance, and he allowed them to pay him what & when they could…all the while, never writing down or keeping track of it. He could almost tell you within $5.00 at any given time what he had in the bank, but never kept a checkbook record. This affinity and gift of remembering numbers would occasionally get himself in trouble with playing cards. He was however; so adept at the game of poker, that many major casinos in Las Vegas wanted to hire him as their dealer…They felt it better to pay him as an employee and a terrific dealer, rather than having him come out a winner so often! That earned him yet another nickname: “Fast Eddie!”

He was an excellent baseball player and played for a couple of years for a semi-pro team in Sioux City, until a slide into third base blew out his ankle and kneecap. He never lost his love for the game and either attending or watching baseball games remained a favorite past time for his entire life. He did enjoy most other sports, as well, but baseball was always the favored one! The last time he attended a game was with Kathy, Dale and Mitch, in Sioux Falls, SD. He went to visit Kathy & Dale for his 80th birthday and the 4 of them were able to attend a Sioux Falls Canaries (semi-pro league) game on his birthday…Sunday, June 16, 2007. He also was a great golfer and bowler. He enjoyed fishing and the family took many fishing trips up to the Brainerd, MN, area in the summers. He introduced Kathy to ice hockey, bowling and golfing , fishing, wrestling matches (ie: Vern Gagne, The Mad Russian and other colorfully named wrestlers!) and took her to many circuses and carnivals. The family always took summer vacations and the most memorable (and longest one!) was in 1960. Family activities, including this vacation, also included his wonderful mother-in-law, Lauretta Wells, and so for almost 6 weeks he spent many hours of driving in the heat of the western and southern U.S. in a Buick with no air conditioning and he was the only one that drove, although there were three females in the car with him, so he received plenty of “suggestions and directions” from all of them! At that point in his life, he had the patience of a saint!!

In his later years, he endured health issues that would lead to several hospitalizations and eventually force him to retire from insurance sales earlier than he had planned or wanted to. He spent several years in Las Vegas and eventually did come back to the Sioux City area. A few years later, he met a lovely lady, Terry Rhynsburger, and they would end up spending many years together…..with Terry passing away about 8 years ago. The past 18 years, he was living in South Sioux City, NE, and he had some wonderful neighbors that kind of “took him under their wings” (Angel wings)….these sisters, Sherry and Sandy, would make Ed a big, delicious Sunday dinner meal every week and they would also bake him a cake once a week, so he was very fortunate to have had them in his life!!

Ed was never one to go to a doctor for “regular” checkups, so when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December of 2012, it was quite advanced and he was also found to have congestive heart failure. His final 3-4 months of his life were very peaceful and pain-free. His family was able to have him remain at the Veteran’s Hospital for the duration and they were able to visit him often. He was always quite a colorful character and full of stories, so he soon quickly became one of the doctor’s, nurse’s and social worker’s “favorite” patients. He could be quite a “pill” at times, but always entertaining. They all knew he meant well, so they put up with him and eventually “learned to love him!” His family wishes to thank all of you that at one time or another played an important part in Ed’s life and befriended him and took care of him, especially in his later years. The family wishes to say a special thank you to the entire staff at the Sioux Falls Veteran’s Hospital for their extraordinary care, compassion and love shown to our entire family over the past three months.

He is survived by his only child/daughter, Kathy (Dale) Peterson, one grandson, Mitchell Peterson, and one great-granddaughter, Molly Kate Peterson, all of Sioux Falls, SD. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Lee (Ken) Adams of Sioux City, IA, 2 brothers-in-laws, 2 sisters-in-laws, several nieces and nephews, cousins and other extended family and many good friends. Ed was preceded in death by both sets of grandparents, his mother and father, stepfather, sister, and special friend, Terry Rhysnburger.

The family requests that any forms of sympathy be a donation in Ed’s name to any one of the many military organizations.

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  • I have to tell you while reading the Sioux City Journal this morning the name “Edward Katasabek” jumped out at me. I worked in the office (Badgerow Bldg) for Mutual of Omaha back in 1964 to 1968 so knew Ed well. He was indeed a pleasure to know. Some of the names back then were M L Minig, Bob Clark, Bob Schultz, Ed,? Morey, Dorothy Boyle, Don Baker, Bob Coleman, Henry Wiclac and Shirley Green. It was indeed a pleasure to know Ed and was touched by all the things remembered about him in his obituary. Please accept my sympathy.

  • Bill Johnston says:

    I had the honor to meet Ed the last couple of years. Being the Veterans Service Officer we talked about the war but mostly baseball, he really loved to watch ball games on TV or talk about the ones when he played. I think the Cubs were his favorite. Thanks for serving our country Ed you will be missed. I salute you! Bill Johnston DCVSO

  • John Hoover says:

    Hi my grandmother was Clara Ludmilla Katasabek Stirk who lived on a farm between Norfolk/Battle Creek NE.ing Try to find relatives.

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