Edward Warsyk Jr., 79, Was Veteran, Engineer

Edward Anthony Warsyk Jr. died on Monday, April 22, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was courageous to the end. During the 30 years that he lived on the Vineyard, many Islanders sought his help in the many areas of his expertise.

Mr. Warsyk was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 28, 1923. He survived his parents, Edward and Helen Warshyk, and his three sisters, Geraldine Wise, Connie Schou and Lynn Jansen, all of Florida. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and later worked in the research lab of the Sperry Corporation, which is where his passion for engineering began.

He met his future wife, Barbara Nelson, on August 3, 1941 after he and his cousin showed up unexpectedly at a mutual friend's house and quickly put out a small fire burning from under the dashboard. They then drove in the Ford convertible, from Brooklyn to Massapequa for ice cream. They fell in love and were married 18 months later. They shared their 59th anniversary on Feb. 21. The couple has three children, Jacqueline Parnell of South Setauket N.Y., Jeraldine Upson of Rehoboth and Christine Scott of Vineyard Haven, and seven grandchildren.

Ed was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944, and served as an infantryman in the European Theatre of Operations with the 83rd Division. He saw action from the closing phases of the Battle of the Bulge through Central Rhineland, to the end of the war, when his regiment was one of the first to link up with the Russian Army at the Elbe River. Until his discharge in 1946 he served as an Army photographer in Austria documenting the war's aftermath.

His career was long and varied, from being plant manager to owning several engineering companies on Long Island, the first being EMCO (Electro Mechanical Components), which during the Korean War was busy with subcontracting government jobs and the design and manufacture of complex instruments such as angle-of-attack indicators and vertical altimeters for airplanes and special air conditioning systems for fighter planes. Another of Mr. Warsyk's companies was Space Components. He especially liked the design and prototype work. Among other instruments, he designed and produced small gyroscopes and inertial guidance systems for the U.S. space program and an apparatus to assist surgeons performing skin grafts.

He was always generating inventions; he had a side business that sold telescoping outriggers of his design that could be articulated through two 180-degree planes.

After the sale of his last company in which he was involved in the early development of the first automatic lathes and drill presses, Ed and his wife, Barbara, left Long Island for Martha's Vineyard in 1970. He moved with ease into the next phase of his career, building two custom homes, distinct in their style. They were warm and woody, and Ed built the fireplaces with fieldstone and brick by hand.

He then scaled down his construction work and a started another small business building customized dental cabinetry. His woodworking abilities were recognized by many Islanders who wanted his special touch and unique style for their homes. All of his work was met with tolerances of a micrometer. He was also employed by R.M. Packer Company in Vineyard Haven, where he worked on various engineering and building projects.

Boating was his pastime; it is actually how he and Barbara first came to love Martha's Vineyard, vacationing for many summers at the Coastwise Wharf. In his lifetime, Ed proudly owned five separate boats. His favorite was a custom-built 47-foot Wheeler which they named Solitaire. His latest was an easily identified 21-foot Boston Whaler in the Vineyard Haven harbor called the Snafu, which he customized to look like a miniature sport fishing boat, complete with a tuna tower and dual controls. He designed and built all of the added bridgework, pulpit, console and electronics. He could be spotted fishing for bluefish in Middle Ground most summer days. This boat was docked in the Lagoon just outside his boathouse home on Beach Rd where he and his wife lived for 28 years.

Ed Warsyk's shop on the first floor of the boathouse was a busy place. He was a walking encyclopedia of information; his expertise with engineering, metal, and his woodworking skills were shared with the many friends and clients who sought his help. It was no surprise to anybody who knew Ed that he could restore or repair anything with generosity and perfection.

His ability to tell a story was renowned and will long be remembered by the regulars at the Black Dog Tavern, where he entertained the regulars for more than 25 years during every breakfast and lunch. He was a familiar face sitting at the table by the fire. A bronze plaque of a BLT sandwich and coffee mug hangs on the wall next to his table. It honors a flawless attendance record and patriarchal duties as well.

His family and friend's will miss seeing Ed driving his 1973 Land Rover, wearing his habitual Ray-Bans and navy blue cap.

Surviving him are his wife, Barbara; his family, Jacqueline and Buddy Parnell, Jeraldine and Dickinson Upson and Christine and Bruce Scott; and grandchildren Karen Parnell, Brad Parnell, David Parnell and Sarah Parnell, Katlin Upson and Brooke Upson and Benjamin Scott.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on May 25 at the boathouse on Beach Road. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice, Windemere or Martha's Vineyard Community Services Inc.