Edward F. Martz, Jr., Veterans Air Express Navigator
[Journal excerpts, Monday, 4 April 2016]
A sad day. I lost an honored friend and sweet Spirit. Not a long-time friend, but a friend of shared memories and connections. And Veterans Air Express lost a family member. Ed Martz died last night. He was 91.
Ed knew my Dad. Helped Saunie build a dream. Remembered his physicality and remembered his character. From an early meeting with Ed:
“Do you remember my Dad? What was he like?”
“Sure. Smart. Nice guy. Had enough sense to keep it going.”
I can’t say I know many people today that knew my Dad. The count would be less than five. And Ed lessened that count today. I grieve his loss for his loving family – and selfishly for myself.
For his entire life, Ed was an adventurer – certainly dating back to 1945, just like Saunie. He saw something in the dream. In my Dad. In the other man he met while deciding if he should venture forth with them. He took the chance.
Ed didn’t just navigate
He added his navigating skills to transatlantic flights, yes. But he didn’t just fly. He flew bravely, boldly, trustingly. He joined forces with the likes of Thomas Cowart and Captain Morgan Cooper Walker and guided those four-engine, silver bird DC-4s to places other civilian aircraft had never flown. Behind the Iron Curtain. Multiple times. Each flight bringing 56,000 hatching eggs to Prague and Warsaw. The courage and belief and confidence that was part of his character, his Spirit…we all lost him today.
I owe him stories I still haven’t written.
I see him so clearly, hear his strong voice, his sure storytelling. I’m terribly disappointed that I still owe him stories I didn’t write in time. It makes me sad.
I also didn’t fulfill my promise to send him photos of the B-29 Memorial in Great Bend, Kansas. It was there, during World War II, that Ed became a B-29 radar navigation instructor. I was there one cold rainy day this January and felt so connected to the place because of Ed.
But I will forever be glad that I flew to New Jersey when I did last November. If I had waited for my scheduled trip at the end of this month, I would have missed him, his friendship, his smile, his stories, my photos – few though they are.
Joy in bringing back Ed’s good memories…
I do have the joy and satisfaction of knowing I brought good memories back to him. And that his wife Marie and their daughters Marie and Sue heard parts of his life they knew nothing about.
As I write and cry, I’m humbled to have known him, proud to have found him – and will surely miss him.
God speed, Ed Martz. Say hello to Saunie for me.
Love – lots of it,