My mother wrote this beautiful tribute to my Grandfather.
Korean War Hero, Long-time City Employee dies at age 86.
He refused to be called a hero. “The true heroes,” he insisted, “Are the ones who didn’t make it home.”
Edward Volz, Captain, USMC-Retired, was among the tens of thousands of Marines who went off to a “police action” in Korea in the Fall of 1950, promising their families that they would be home for Christmas. He was one of the few who kept that promise. Wounded and frostbitten in the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir, the young Private First Class was evacuated from Korea and arrived at a hospital in Oakland, California on Christmas Eve.
When he first arrived in Korea, the young communications technician was engaged in assisting airplane landings at Inchon. Then, his unit was ordered to march to Yudam-ni. “All I knew,” he once told his family, “Is that Yudam-ni was too damn far.” But the long march was only the beginning, and Ed soon became a participant in the historic, decisive battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Surrounded and severely outnumbered by a mass of Chinese fighters, the Marines did not retreat, but simply “attacked in another direction.” Cut off from their supplies, suffering the coldest Korean winter in 100 years, hungry and frostbitten, Ed became one of the “Chosin Few,” or “Frozen Chosin” as he described himself and the brotherhood of Marines who fought with him.
After almost a year of recuperation, Ed was returned to active duty and stationed in his home town of San Diego. It was there that he met his future wife, Ruth Jenson, a tall auburn-haired Navy Wave from North Dakota who was stationed at the Naval Training Center. When Ruth was transferred to Washington, D.C., Ed was able to arrange a transfer to near-by Quantico, Virginia. They were married on May 12, 1953 in Arlington, Virginia.
Ed served 23 years in the Marine Corps, stationed at Quantico, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; San Diego; Kaneohe, Hawaii, First Marine Division Camp Pendleton; and MCAS El Toro. He also served two tours in Viet Nam (1965-66 and 1969-70). It was during his first tour in Viet Nam that he received a field commission and promotion from Gunnery Sergeant to Second Lieutenant. He later was promoted to First Lieutenant and eventually Captain.
When he was getting ready for his final deployment, the family knew that he would retire upon his return and that they could choose anywhere in the world to establish their new lives as civilians. They chose Vista, where they had previously lived from 1964-1966 while stationed at Camp Pendleton. For the first time, they purchased a home, and upon his return in June, 1970, Ed came home to his permanent home.
Ed worked a few jobs after his retirement before he was hired by the City of Vista on a temporary “hire a vet” program. The temporary job became permanent, and Ed worked for more than 20 years in the City’s Parks and Recreation Department (later called Community Services). In the evenings, he attended classes at Palomar College and earned an Associate’s Degree in Parks Management. By the end of his career, Ed was the head of maintenance at the City’s Brengle Terrace Park, where he was involved in the early days of the Moonlight Amphitheatre and the Gloria McClellan Senior Center. He was in charge of a group of maintenance workers who affectionately called him “Dad” or “Captain Ed.” Upon his retirement in 1992, his crew presented him with a Marine Officer’s sword.
Leaving his job in the park was another “homecoming” for Ed, but he didn’t stay there much. Ruth was still working as the manager of Faith Lutheran Thrift Shop, and he fulfilled the role of “Thrift Shop Husband,” helping out in almost every capacity. The couple loved to travel, and Ed especially enjoyed visiting Civil War sites. He was also the “on call parent” for his grandchildren, who loved spending time with him. He loved the family Charger game parties every Sunday during football season. Ed was a second-generation Charger fan, and his family is convinced that Ed would say the best day of his life had nothing to do with births or weddings, but was the day the Chargers went to the Super Bowl – on Ed’s birthday.
On a visit to Germany in 1981, Ed discovered “toy soldiers” and he soon began making hundreds of lead miniatures, which he painted with historically accurate uniforms. He had a room full of colorful books on military history, and was an expert on the American Civil War.
In 2002, Ruth was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and Ed lovingly cared for her until her death on December 6, 2003. He continued to stay active in the community, particularly the Senior Center, until he suffered a series of strokes which limited his mobility. Eventually, Ed found himself fighting his own battle with dementia, and he passed away quietly on May 2, 2016. It was one final homecoming for a hero. Ed always believed the streets of Heaven are guarded by United States Marines, and no doubt he’s already settled into his new post.
Ed is survived by his wife Beatrice, whom he married in 2008, and his daughters, Deborah Schuster of Lancaster, California; Cindy Tyler of Vista, and Rebecca Jaburg of Escondido. He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Jay Schuster, Natalie Larsen, Kimberly Brentner, Melissa Tyler, Erik Tyler, Patricia Jaburg, Colin Jaburg, and Lauren Jaburg; and by seven great grandchildren: Zachary Loudon, Christopher Schuster, Caleb Larsen, Charlotte Larsen, Edward Brentner, Serenity Brentner, and Rhett Tyler. He is also survived by his sisters, Juanita Geraci of San Jose, California, and Eileen Greason of San Diego. He was preceded in death by his brothers William Volz and Frederick Volz, and his sister, Virginia Jensen, and his parents Helen and Edward C. Volz.
A military graveside service will be held on May 13, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. at Eternal Hills in Oceanside, and a Celebration of Life service is scheduled for May 14 at 2:00 at Faith Lutheran Church in Vista.