Edward Rysdyk left this earthly plane on July 27, 2023, less than a month shy of his 104th birthday. Born on August 21, 1919, in Philadelphia, PA, and raised in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, Ed was the third of John and Bridget Rysdyk’s three children. Despite being the youngest of the family, from an early age Ed understood the importance of taking care of his family and the value of hard work. In fact, his first job was at age 9, picking up cigarette butts off the Atlantic City boardwalk. His work ethic and dedication to family lasted a lifetime.
Ed loved the ocean and so it made sense that he enlisted in the Navy during World War II. Stationed in the South Pacific as a radio man, Ed enjoyed regaling family and friends with stories of his time in a tropical paradise. After the war ended, Ed returned to his job in DC with the United States government. Although never formally trained, Ed’s natural ingenuity and intellect enabled him to rise through the ranks in logistics, and he remained with the government until his retirement in 1974.
While working in DC, Ed met the woman who he would spend over 60 years with, Gertrude “Tootsie” Mayerhofer. She too worked for the government. They married on March 22, 1947, and would remain devoted to each other until Tootsie died in 2006, having spent the last seven years of her life being cared for diligently by her husband.
Ed and Tootsie settled in Hyattsville, Maryland in the early 1950’s and raised two daughters together. After retirement, Ed and Tootsie moved to Heritage Harbor in Annapolis, Maryland. Ed loved to tinker, and his home was full of inventions to make things easier or more efficient. Ed also enjoyed playing pool and spent many afternoons at the lodge in Heritage Harbor playing in pool tournaments. He played tennis well into his 80’s and had a passion for woodworking. He also loved dancing and liked going to dances in their neighborhood or at the local Moose Lodge.
More than anything, Ed enjoyed being a grandfather and great-grandfather. He doted on his three grandchildren, building them elaborate dollhouses and playsets. He loved spending the holidays together, especially Christmas, and attended countless Grandparents’ Days, softball and basketball games, award ceremonies and every graduation. Annual beach vacations at Rehoboth Beach meant dinners out, digging for sand crabs on the beach, and diving through the waves. Up until the end, Ed enjoyed giving everyone a special serenade on their birthday.
Ed delighted in his great-grandchildren, getting such a kick out of their antics and jokes. Rides on his Hover-round was a favorite pastime of the great-grandkids, and they will all miss him greatly.
Before he passed, Ed was honored with a Final Salute from local veterans through Gilchrist Hospice. His entire family and several friends gathered with him while he was honored with songs, poems, gifts, and a final salute. He loved every second of it and enjoyed visiting with the retired veterans who came to thank him for his service. He even wore his old Navy cap for the occasion.
Ed was preceded in death by his beloved wife Tootsie and his great-grandson James Thomas Emmons, as well as his parents and siblings John and Lillian. He is survived by his daughters, Robyn Johnson and Debra Rysdyk, his son-in-law Michael Johnson who considered him a second father, his three grandchildren Michelle Emmons (Lee), Shannon Velten (Brian), and Matthew Johnson (Ashley), and six great-grandchildren, Henry Emmons, Connor Velten, and Ryan, Luke, Miles, and Emilia Johnson. He will be remembered fondly by countless other family members, friends, and caregivers.