Edward Thomas Schulze was born in the Projects in Chicago, on November 2, 1931, at the beginning of the Great Depression. He was blessed with the talented hands of an artist. He first turned his hands to building models as a child. He later worked his hands in wood, learning the skill from his father.
He joined the Navy in April, 1951 at 19 years old. He put those same street smart hands to use by boxing for the Navy. He took his initial training at Interior Communication Electrician Mate School. He graduated just after Christmas, 1951. Soon after, he stood in line with 30 other guys in the companionway of the squadron offices. He was told that subs were oily, stank, made moves that scared the Hell out of you, and served good food. That was enough for Ed. He volunteered for duty and was ordered to the USS Cusk SSG-348.
He dropped his sea bag through the Control Room access hatch on July 3rd, 1952. While aboard the Cusk, Ed turned his hand to drawing cartoons of the events around him. He designed the Cusk war patch. Ed remembered qualifying July of 1952 and subsequently being tossed overboard.
Ed was transferred to the USS Jallao SS-368 on October, 1953. He helped re-commission the Jallao during his service on her. He brought his cartoons with him and continued to add more drawings. He also designed the Jallao war patch. He served aboard as the IC Electrician. Of course, he carried the nickname “Sparky.” One of his favorite memories was of steering the sub through a turn in open water and panicking everyone into thinking there was another ship nearby when he accidentally crossed his own wake. Ed reached the level of E5 before he achieved his Honorable Discharge in April, 1955. He then went on to graduate with a BS in Civil Engineering from Bradley University, Illinois.
With gentle hands, he gave a ring to his love on September 5th, 1959. He and Dr.raised three girls. Sometimes his hands were stern, sometimes soft, always strong as he taught Mary Katherine, Theresa Gail, and Dr. Susan Elizabeth Schulze to live their lives. He shook hands at the marriages of Mary to Robert Chadduck and Theresa to Kevin Brown. Ed’s hands softly blanketed two of his granddaughters Megan Aileen and Marlene Amelia in pink. His hands shook as he straightened the tiny dress of his third granddaughter, Beatrice Elizabeth Grace, who preceded him in death. Ed’s hands proudly wrapped four grandsons in blue as each came in turn; Colin Erofei, Christopher Kevin, Aidan. His hands were older, but still strong, when he first held his Great-Granddaughter, Elizabeth Aileen.
During all of this time, Ed worked as a Civil Engineer. He eventually retired as City Engineer from Granite City, IL. He did not rest his hands as he continued to actively participate in activities. He was a member of East Lodge No. 504, Fairview Heights, AF&AM, of Illinois; Mecca Chapter No. 901, OES, of Illinois; Ainad Shriners’ AAONMS of East St. Louis, of Illinois; and Lodge Council Chapter Consistory Scottish Rite, Valley of Southern Illinois. He was a member of American Legion Post 24, Alexandria, Virginia and a proud member of the United States Submarine Veterans Bremerton Base. He was a Hero Volunteer Blood Donor.
Ed continued to turn his hands to art throughout his life. He delicately worked three scrimshaw pieces including one of the Jallao. Ed always wore a buckle he designed and executed made of brass and silver that featured his submarine. He became a professional artist, formulating and specializing in a heavy-handed oil painting technique dubbed “boilerplate.” His weathered hands produced dozens of paintings and hundreds of drawings, pen and inks, sketches, and cartoons. His cartoons were often featured as “Cusk Cartoon Capers” in the USS Cusk newsletters. He was extremely proud when his cover design was chosen in a national competition for the May–June 2000 issue of the “American Submariner.”
Ed was surrounded by his wife of 48 years and his three daughters when he died of cancer in Alexandria, Virginia on January 14th, 2007. His last act was to raise his hand to cup Peg’s face. He stopped breathing at 2:05 am, but his heart continued to beat until 2:10 am. I know… because I held his hand.