Ed Ghelfi was a man who knew how to appreciate life’s simple pleasures: Hershey kisses, police scanner broadcasts, fishing, dogs sitting in his lap, honey-lemon cough drops, and a good newspaper. Most of all, however, Ed appreciated the people in his life: his cherished friends and beloved family members. Ed saw a friend in everyone he met and, as a result, his long life was filled with laughter, joy, and friendship.
Edward was born on September 9, 1927, to proud parents Joseph and Anna (Simon) Ghelfi. Joseph and Anna were farmers, and Ed and his siblings (Robert, Carl, Lorena, Greg and Grace) grew up on the family farm situated on top of a bluff near Romance, Wisconsin. Ed attended classes at Romance School, where he completed grade school. As a boy, Ed enjoyed fishing with his friend George Jambois of Genoa, Wisconsin, who would become his lifelong best friend.
From a young age, Ed learned the value of hard work. As a teenager, he worked on a horse farm with his uncles. Later, in the 1950s, he moved to Milwaukee, where he found a job as a mechanic with Heiser Ford on Prospect Avenue. Ed would be a loyal employee of Heiser Ford for the next 25 years, until his retirement in 1982.
In 1957, Ed met a young lady named Florence Wisinski at Century Hall Bowling Alley, which was right next to Heiser Ford. Ed and Florence hit it off right away, and started dating. The happy couple was married on October 17, 1959, at St. Hedwig’s Church in Milwaukee.
In the years to come, Ed and Florence were blessed with two children: Margaret and Janine (sadly, Margaret died in infancy). The Ghelfi family usually included a dog or two as well, and pets included Chloe, Buddy, Riley, Benji, and Little Ricky. Ed was a great cook, and his specialties included risotto, Italian rice and chicken, and his signature beef stew, which had everything but the kitchen sink thrown in! He had a tradition of cooking breakfast every Sunday morning after church, which was usually scrambled eggs and bacon. In the evenings, Ed sat in his special recliner chair to read the newspaper and watch TV. The dogs liked to take turns sitting in his lap – when one barked, the other would get down so the next could have a turn sitting in his lap (this could go on for hours). All animals loved Ed’s gentle touch and spirit, right down to the little squirrels that came by him in the garage.
Ed was a friendly, outgoing guy, and made friends wherever he went. A few of his good friends were Ernest Chapman and Larry Schieble, who lived in the same neighborhood. They often helped Ed with garden and yard projects, and enjoyed shooting the breeze in the garage. Ed loved tinkering, and often fixed up lawn mowers and snow blowers in his garage workshop. He was generous with his time, and could always be counted to clear the snow from neighbors’ driveways with his snowplow tractor. He also had a green thumb, and spent many happy hours in the back yard with his dogs, working in his vegetable garden. Of course, he always shared his produce with friends and neighbors!
After his retirement in 1982, Ed and Florence were able to do some travelling. They made many trips to Las Vegas with their friends, George and Shirley Jambois. They also looked forward to the Jambois Family Fourth of July Event, held every year in Genoa, Wisconsin. Ed and his family attended as honorary members, and enjoyed festivities complete with grilled chicken, Italian rice, and tons of family and friends. Closer to home, Ed enjoyed fishing, riverboats, and local casinos – he always had his eye on the big jackpot!
Ed was a talented mechanic, and loved spending time in his garage working on projects. When it came to things with a small motor, there wasn’t much he couldn’t fix! He had quite a reputation as a handyman, and people from all over brought him things to fix. He could spend hours in the garage, working on a project with country music or his police scanner playing in the background.
In 1993, Ed was delighted to become a grandfather with the birth of his grandson, Andre, who is now studying civil engineering at Marquette University.
The family would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to all those who helped Ed in his final years. This includes: Jeffrey Olenchek and Kenny Spears, who helped Ed around the house and in the garage; Bruce Hendricks, who often brightened Ed’s days by calling him up on the phone; and all the healthcare workers who cared for Ed: Dr. Guglielmo Sala and staff at Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee/Prospect Commons, the staff on the 7th floor of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, the staff at Milwaukee Catholic Home 2nd floor Rehab Unit, Dr. Olson and staff at the Cancer Center Radiation Oncology at Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee, the staff at Horizon Home Health Care, the staff at Horizon In Home Hospice, the staff at Horizon In Patient Hospice at Columbia St. Mary’s Mequon/Ozaukee, and dentist Dr. Joseph Stiglitz and staff.
Ed was a gentle, friendly, and kind-hearted man: a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather, and a loyal friend. Ed will be deeply missed by his family, friends and dogs. We know he is up there, fixing lawn mowers and snow blowers, and planting a big garden with his famous big boy tomatoes. We love you, Dad, and we know you are watchin’ over us until we meet again.
Edward C. Ghelfi died on November 10, 2012, at the age of 85. Ed’s family includes his wife, Florence (nee Wisinski); his children, Janine Ghelfi and the late Margaret Ghelfi; his grandson, Andre Ghelfi-Thomas; siblings Lorena, Virgin, Greg Ghelfi, Grace Ghelfi; and other relatives and friends.
Family and friends will gather Sunday June 9, 2013 at Three Holy Women Parish – St. Hedwig Church, 1702 N. Humboldt Avenue from 12 Noon until time of the Memorial Mass at 1:00 P.M. Please visit Ed’s personal memory page at www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com to learn more about his life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.
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