Ed "Fast Eddie" Urbach

July 4, 1919 June 18, 2006

 

 

(Send additions to this page to gjwbiker@optonline.net)

 

Our bike group had the honor and privilege to share the company of a very special person for a number of years.  The world knew him as Ed Urbach, but we knew him as Fast Eddie.  Ed rode his bike with us, sometimes locally, and sometimes in other cities on weekend trips.  We also had some fun rafting trips, and Ed got a kick out of watching the expressions on newcomers' faces when he told them the trip wasn't too rough except for the waterfall.  (There was no waterfall).  He was also known to leave a message on our answering machines identifying himself as "Crazy Old Eddie".  His humor was evident on his own answering machine, which announced that "you have reached the home of E.T.......Urbach, that is".  His humor was from a bygone era, when foul language was unnecessary, and a joke didn't have to insult another human being.  I'll always remember sitting with him on more than one occasion in a restaurant, sometimes with our fellow bikers, and listening to him advise the group "whatever you do, don't get the soup du jour, because you never know what it's going to be from one day to the next".  It was such a corny joke, as many of his were, and I'd love to hear any one of them just one more time.

 

Ed was the kindest and most caring person that you could imagine, and the world has lost someone who will never be replaced.  He leaves behind 3 generations of loving family, and friends who will remember him for the gentleman that he was.  Arrangements have been made for an engraved plaque to be installed on the New York section of the East Coast Greenway Alliance Trail, which runs from Maine to Florida.  This plaque will bear Ed's name, as well as "Fast Eddie".  Ed will live forever in our hearts.  We miss you, Ed.

 

George Waldbusser ("Trail Boss"),

for himself, and on behalf of Ed's "biker" friends.

 

P.S. - While we're waiting for the engraved plaque to be installed, you can view an "e-plaque" here, or a current donor list here.

 

 

Ed's birthday was on July 4th. Over time, we established a tradition of doing the Mattituck bike ride on that day, and then joined Ed's family afterwards for a birthday celebration. Often, we would take a walk up to the bluffs on the north shore in Belle Terre. From there, you could see fireworks from Port Jefferson to Connecticut. One particular year, I was standing with Ed on a sandy stretch that led down to the water. The temperature was comfortable, the bugs hadn't come out yet, and the setting sun made the sky look like a painting. There was a moment of silence in the conversation.  Then, Ed said, "You know, I can't figure out what I did to deserve such a loving family and a great bunch of friends". I looked at him, and saw that his eyes were a bit watery. It's one of those moments that I'll never forget. What he received is a reflection of what he gave. 

 

George Waldbusser ("Trail Boss")

 

 

Karen McKenna-Bergius took me on a Jones Beach bike ride, probably around 1996. That's where I first met Ed and "Trail Boss" who is now my boyfriend. Ed said "I get to kiss all the girls." He was sweet with that old world charm so I did give him a hug and kiss. He told me several corny jokes along the way, and I found him to be quite charming. It was great to see a man in his mid-seventies biking, and I learned from him that it helped to ease the pain of his widower's loneliness. I even fixed him up on a blind date, but his heart was always with his late wife.

I saw Ed infrequently at restaurant dinners and his yearly birthday party. He listened to me attentively and was open about his life. Ed was so caring and considerate that no matter how much time went by between our meetings, he would remember something I had told him that was important to me and ask how it was going. And when he found out that I had a printing business, he involved me in his daughter, Mary's company so that I could do their printing.

I hope Ed is reunited with his wife now. I have such a fondness for him, and his family is wonderful and welcoming. God Bless "Fast Eddie."


Christine Sigel

 

I will always remember Ed's generosity, his upbeat personality and his good sense of humor. He was a good friend to us all and I will always have fond memories of him. He will certainly be missed.

 

Nancy Lutz

 

As I read the tributes to Crazy Eddie (or as my children called him -Uncle Eddie) I can't keep the tears from welling up. Before my kids were born, Ed always joked in such a kind-hearted way, but there also was a father side of him as he wondered when Robert and I were going to have children. Not in a prying way, just a caring one. He was the first to call as news spread of my pregnancy. He was as proud as a father would be. Over the years, my children grew up and regarded Uncle Eddie not as an uncle but as a grandfather since my own father (same age) lives in California and the children didn't get to see him as much as Uncle Ed. Ed lent us a cradle that his son built for Brittany's first "bed". How wonderful and caring Ed was!. The children, as well as the whole family, looked forward to celebrating all the birthdays together since Brit was born on July 2 and Chelsea was born on July 7th.

His family is a true reflection of his love as well. They always opened their hearts and home to the "extended family" of Ed's with their annual 4th of July /Birthday party. Although I understand the bike group meant so much to Ed, I believe he was such an important part of the group, He meant more to us than I'm sure he could have imagined. He, in concert with George, was the glue that held this bike group together for so many years, (I believe over 25 but George can correct me). Although riders came and went over the years, Ed was always there. He would hold winter parties because too much time passed between bike seasons. Ed would cook up a storm. I hadn't eaten red cabbage since my own mother passed away. It reminded me of my own family dinners at home growing up. Over the recent years, even though Ed wasn't riding anymore, he still made it a point to go on trips or social gatherings. Missing him is such an understatement. Many prayers of love and caring were spoken and I know he must be with his wife smiling down. I can only think that his last thoughts were happy ones as he was just about to celebrate Father's Day with his family. And what a loving family he has. You know he is a proud Papa. We love you Ed!!

 

Karen Mann-Attride

 

Ed has been one of my very best friends for nearly 20 years. I always told him that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like him. He was a beautiful person in every way. He was generous, thoughtful, and completely devoted to his family and friends. Anyone who knew him, would consider themselves lucky. I certainly feel blessed to have been his friend. We always continued to keep in touch, even after we stopped going on the bike rides (sorry Trail Boss).

There are so many great memories to share. It's hard to pick the best ones. No one had a better sense of humor, than Ed. Whether we were riding bikes, paddling canoes, rafting down the Delaware River or having dinner together, he was always funny, entertaining and a loving and supportive friend.

Those of you who heard us talk to each other, were used to our silly greetings. I would call him a "rotten old thing" or a "dirty old dog" and he would call me a "rotten thing" and leave me hilarious messages on the answering machine saying "where the heck are you, you never call, you never write, you're such a rotten thing". Then he would say "you know who this is, love you." In fact, just a few weeks before he passed away, he called us. When Rich answered the phone, Ed said, "You just celebrated your first anniversary, I can't believe that you made it that long with her!" Of course we all cracked up. This was just his way of telling us how happy he was for us. He was his usual feisty self that day. And as we look back it's so good to know that he was still cracking jokes and making us laugh!

Over the years, we all became part of his extended family. Every year, we were all warmly welcomed to Margaret and Frank's home to celebrate Ed's Birthday on the 4th of July. I'll never forget their generosity and friendship for making us feel part of their wonderful family. One of my favorite memories was when we were swimming in the pool at Margaret's and Franks, and Ed came down the slide, into the pool, head first! I think he was probably 72 or 73 years old that year. It didn't matter, he was always a kid at heart.

And there was no one more generous than Ed. We used to fight over who would pay the bill whenever we had dinner. One time, he tried to grab the check out of my hand and ripped it, in half! He used to bring cheese and crackers, beer, wine coolers and soda and set up a Fast Eddie style tailgate party after some of the rides. He always made sure he had something for everyone.

One year, when we were canoeing on the Peconic River, he yelled at me and Lisa, as we were trying to switch places in the canoe and said, "sit down, you broads, you're rocking the boat!" We all laughed so hard, we almost tipped the canoe over. Then, we went down the famous steel pipe in the Peconic, and when we came out at the bottom he said, "let's go again!"

Those of us who went to Montauk each year will remember that Ed used to let everyone use his room to shower and change on Sunday night. Since we had all checked out, but he had his room for another night, he let everyone use the room. One year, I remember he had about 12 bikes stored inside his hotel room and he kept calling the front desk for more towels until they practically ran out!

There were sad times too. I know that every year, in early June, when we would go to Montauk, he would become somewhat quiet and sad... this was because he was thinking about his beloved wife. We knew how much he missed her, especially on their anniversary. He missed her very much, every day. He was forever devoted to her and their family. When he passed away, the only thought that helped me overcome my sadness was the fact that he was once again with his wife, the love of his life.

I know that he touched all of our lives, in many ways. And his spirit lives on. He was without a doubt "one of a kind." I know that every year, the 4th of July will continue to be much more than Independence Day for Ed's friends and family. It will be a day that we will all smile as we remember him... Here's to Fast Eddie!

Karen McKenna Bergius and Rich Bergius