Photos by Steve Shay
A memorial mass for Ed Kingston was held Saturday, Oct. 22, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle. A reception followed celebrating Ed’s life in Holy Rosary’s Lanigan Gym. Pictured is Laura, Ed's wife, and a close friend of Ed's from Western Washington University, Brian Meza, who shared some memories and thoughts on the mic. On right is an enlargement of Ed.

Family and friends say goodbye to Ed Kingston and promise to cherish his legacy

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Ed Kingston's friends and family attended his mass and reception today at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle. He passed away suddenly Oct. 8, leaving behind his wife, Laura, son, Jack, 7, and daughter, Reese, 2.

We interviewed Laura Kingston here.

Speakers at the reception honored Laura and offered bittersweet comments about Ed, a popular teacher, sports coach, and motivator, by expressing the hole his death has left in their lives as both a void, and a space that hope can fill over time.

Behind the podium and microphone, an ongoing slide show was projected with images of the Kingstons' wedding day, jack and Reese as babies, Laura and Ed embracing, and of course lots of soccer pictures.

Brian Meza

Brian Meza of Ballard was a close friend of Ed since their sophomore year at Western Washington University, and spoke optimistically about Ed's positive legacy.

"We shared the major milestones, weddings, births of our children, family vacations," Mesa told over 100 attendees. "Ed as father, he was an imagination cultivator. He was so impressive in his desire to share teams' scores, and final minutes scenarios with his son Jack. Watching Ed gave me game plans for my interactions with my own little ones. He navigated sadness, anger, pain and joy in his children artfully. He made me a better parent.

Meza remembered, "He phoned me at Western, and said, 'I think she's the one. I really think this is it. Can you believe it?'

Meza added, "He was my rock. Our rock. We called him 'the iceberg', 'the berg', a man on a basketball court who was literally impossible to move. Ed's signature was his laugh, his sign of complete freedom and enjoyment, that often accompanied a feeling in me that what I was doing in that moment was exactly what I should be doing.

"Ed made play come alive," said Meza. "Leaders must be authentic or they get exposed. Ed's leadership was real in all facets of life, father, husband, friend, teacher. What can I do now without Ed here on Earth? How do I still play? What would Ed have to say? I am called to find grace in this darkness."

Laura's father, Ed

"He was one of a kind," said Laura's tearful father, Ed Fijalka. "He was taller than me, bigger than me, and I looked up to him. He was a neat guy (...) I know I'll miss him."

Laura speaks

Laura also spoke. She cried, caught her breath and said, "I can do this."

She continued, "It's so funny listening to everyone talk about Ed because they talk about football, and soccer, and they talk about all these things..."

She revealed she did not share his enthusiasm for competitive sports, but said they shared plenty.

"He made me who I am," she said. "He pushed me, challenged me. He was always positive. We were the kind of couple to go with our gut, not our logic. We moved to Boston with Jack who was little (about one year old) and we didn't know anybody. When we got there all our furniture was destroyed. His credit card had been stolen (...) But we'd made this decision together. We knew how each other felt. That's been around us all the time we were together and to look and see all you guys here I just want to say thank you so much. He loved you so much, and I love you just as much as Ed. I hope you know that."

Michael Hickey

Laura teaches English at South Seattle Community College. Michael Hickey, her colleague in that department, has taught there 20 years. He attended the memorial with his wife and two young children and told the West Seattle Herald that the college will be a solid source of emotional support for her.

"When somebody dies who is close, people don't know what to say and avoid you," said Hickey, a West Seattle resident. "I was 21 when my mother died and a lot of friends never came around anymore because they didn't know what to say. I think what you say is, 'I don't know what to say but I am here for you and I support you and pray for you.' That's what we are doing at the college. We don't want to overwhelm Laura but we want to be available.

"Laura is an extraordinary individual," Hickey said. "I knew as soon as I got on to her tenure committee that it was going to be a great experience, and it was. Laura brings just the right mix or positive energy and strictness. Some people think that because she smiles a lot or tells a few jokes that she is going to be an easy grade, an easy touch. That's not her. She's very much 'tough love'. She's an outstanding instructor. She's fair, a kind of person, and will stay after class as long as it takes to help you. Her attitude is have fun but work hard to be successful. You have to have a goal, and a plan for that goal. From what I know about her husband, he was the same way."

At the mass

"At the mass, they talked about how Ed gave everybody so much, including hope for the future," said close friend Kimberly Tish, adding, "and taking a piece of who Ed was, and that will live on in all of us and we will teach that to our kids as well.

"Kimberly's son turned eight and invited all the families to spend his birthday with him," recalled mutual friend Ann Marie Ricard. "It was the night before Ed passed away. We all remember laughing together that night and just having such a wonderful time, and Ed's smile, and laugh. It was an absolutely perfect night."

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund for the family has been set up at Sound Community Bank. Contributions can be made at http://www.edkingston.com/

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