The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

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The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby njt4272 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:56 am

It is my sad duty to report that we have lost one of the founding fathers and a true giant of our hobby.

My dear friend, and the friend of all horn collectors everywhere, Ed Kaspriske passed away last night (2/1) at the age of 78. He now joins the other horn legends that have gone before him, especially his dear friend Elwood Belknap.

I first met Ed in 2009 during my tenure as Volunteer Group Foreman for the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey when I asked him to provide a locomotive horn display at one of our yearly open houses. He was a true friend, a great mentor, a lover of all things Pennsylvania Railroad, and the patriarch of the horn honks that now take place at the world famous Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, PA. We will miss him dearly. Truly a major loss and a sad day for our hobby.

The following is the amazing obituary written by his 2 wonderful sons:

Edward John Kaspriske peacefully passed away on Feb. 1. He
was 78. Our father’s health has been on a steep decline since late summer. Those of you who reached out during the past several months, we want you to know he appreciated your thoughtfulness. Rather than dwell on what has transpired during that time, we would like to share our feelings about our dad.

If you were to ask us to describe “Butch,” “Big Ed,” “Superman,” “Supe,” “Mr. K,” in a word, we’d have to say strong. And not just physically strong—although at one time he was as big as an NFL defensive lineman. We mean strong in every sense of the word. Strong opinions, strong passions, strong beliefs and a strong dedication to duty. Our father’s strong personality resonated with anyone he came in contact with. It’s what made him extraordinary. You never had to guess how our father was feeling about things.

For those of you who did not meet our father until recent years, you might not know he was a very good artist who could pencil sketch virtually anything. Before the age of computer-controlled cars, he could fix, build or rebuild most vehicles from scratch. In fact, to make ends meet when we were kids, our father would come home from work and do tune-ups on cars in our driveway. He was a skilled electrician, no doubt honed from his 30-plus years working for Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey. You know those giant cranes you see on construction sites? He could maneuver one like a kid playing with a toy truck. Our father had very little interest in sports, but one of our fondest memories of dad occurred at family-reunion picnic when we were still in elementary school. There was a softball game that day, and our father picked up a bat and crushed a pitch into the farmland. We looked at each other proudly but in astonishment. Who knew our dad could even swing a bat? Our father also served in the U.S. Army before the Vietnam War. He left as a non-commissioned officer with honorable discharge papers in 1969.

Hard to believe we’ve reached the fourth paragraph without mentioning the one thing our father will be remembered for most. As a child, he lived in Rahway, New Jersey a few hundred yards from one of the busiest railroad lines in America—the “Northeast Corridor.” Our father would walk or ride his bike up the street every chance he could to see the iron horses of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Hour upon hour they would rumble through town on their way to places he had never been. We remember our grandfather, Pop Pop, telling us our dad was awestruck by the smoke, the sound, the power of these steam engines as they sped down the tracks. Those early impressions left a mark on our father that stayed with him throughout his life. Though he only worked for the railroad for a brief time, as a brakeman on the “Pennsy,” he never really left the tracks his entire life. If you knew our father, you couldn’t escape being dragged into his railfan vortex. If you don’t believe us, just look up his name on YouTube. You’ll find roughly 500 videos he produced on trains. He also had in his possession thousands of VHS, DVD and photographs of trains he produced from the early 1950s to 2019. His passion for all-things trains did not go unnoticed in the age of social media. It’s safe to say he was a rockstar to many railfans. True story: Our father came to visit Ron a few years back. Trying to please the ol’ man, Ron hopped on a train with dad and took him to Grand Central Station in New York to see an exhibit on railroading. As he was walking along one of the platforms, a man spotted him and ran over to greet him. He had never met our father but knew him from his many social-media posts about railroads. The guy nearly asked our father for his autograph.

Like any sons’ relationships with their dad, ours had good times and bad. Neither of us shared many of our dad’s views on the world, and as we got older, those differences of opinion led to some clashes we’d like to forget. That being said, we always respected him. He was a kind man. A funny man. A provider. A dad you could look up to and learn from. And now he’s gone. Our story is probably no different than the story you might tell about your fathers. And for that, we can sympathize. As our father aged and we could see this day approaching, the memories of who Edward Kaspriske is/was came flooding back. We shared some laughs, some tears and some smiles thinking back on those days. That’s the stuff we’ll keep in our hearts from now until it’s our turn.

There’s no way to surmise our relationship with dad. But this lyric speaks to us about how our feelings have changed over time.

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be OK

In the end, we were OK. Sweet dreams, Butch.

Love, George and Ron
- Nathan P5r24 - NC1,2,4,5,OC3 -The 'Fantasy Quality' P5 from the 'P-Unit Primer'
- Ex-NJT Wabco AA-2
- 1952 Nathan M5 ABF
- Nathan P3X: P235 ABF - NC2,3,OC5 - F,G#,C#
- OC Nathan P01235 - Elwood Belknap collection
- Wabco E2-B1 - Ed Kaspriske collection

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby elliotpederson » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:02 am

Thinking of Ed’s family and friends during this time.

Deepest sympathy,
SE Wisconsin

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby superfleet » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:32 pm

Our deepest sympathies, honored to have gotten to know him from afar in Kansas.


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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby bubbabear36 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:35 pm

I am sad to hear of Ed K's passing. I had never met Ed as the years he would be at Oak Ridge, I would not be and when I was there, he was not. Did meet Elwood B.
I had talked with Ed over the phone a few times and had several VHS tapes and later DVD's.
Always a nice guy, wanted to know what we did in Kansas for train stuff.
Elwood and Ed are now modding horns in Heaven.
Godspeed Mr. K.

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Iron Horse
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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby Iron Horse » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:11 pm

Ed was my introduction to the world of train horns and whistles, I first heard of him through an ad he placed in Trains magazine for his 'Diesel Air Horn Primer' back in 1999 or so. It was he that inspired me to collect my first horn and to learn more about this wonderful hobby. Now he joins Elwood, 'Doc' Bryant and others among those who will be remembered fondly.

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby AzHonker » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:46 pm

I"m very sorry to hear this. Rest In Peace, Ed.

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby volatone » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:49 pm

Ed introduced me to the hobby back in 1993 when I answered a horn related ad he had placed in Trains magazine. It wasn't long before he was helping me identify the first horn in my collection a K3LA and setting up a reliable horn honk system. His horn identification audio cassettes and related VHS movies sure would come in handy too. Ed also introduced me to Horn and Whistle Journal. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Ed or his good buddy Elwood in person.

RIP dear friend and mentor,

Ron Chamberlain

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the former deafrn
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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby the former deafrn » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:58 pm

I'm saddened to hear that Ed Kaspriske had passed away. A lot of people got their introduction to the hobby from Ed, and there weren't many who maintained the level of enthusiasm that he had.

I am one of the graybeards who never met Ed in person either, though I did communicate with him now and then back in the day (beginning far enough back that it was by U.S. Mail or telephone, IIRC). In fact, Ed bought one of only three locomotive horns that I ever truly regretted selling after the fact... but because it went to Ed, I knew for certain that it was with someone who valued it as much or more than I did.

RIP, Ed.

the former deafrn
"It was considered junk at the time."

"Every now and then, in those days, the boys would tell me I ought to get one Jim Blaine to tell me the stirring story of his grandfather's old air horn-"

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby Derailed 2005 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:06 pm

I never had the pleasure of meeting Ed in person, but through others in this group I became familiar his name and his website and extensive collection in my early days of horn collecting. It helped inspire me to really dig in, and along with the other elders in the hobby a whole new world of enjoyment opened up to me.

Rest In Peace, Ed, and whenever whenever a horn blows consider it a tribute to you and those who have passed before and have given so much to others.

~ Ron ~

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Re: The passing of a legend: Ed Kaspriske 1941-2019

Postby Iron Horse » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:28 am

Oak Ridge 2009


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