In Memory

Edward R. Szetela VIEW PROFILE

Edward R. Szetela

Al Mittelmaier - posted this Memorial
"Dear Classmates, Teachers, and Friends,
Included below is a message from YouTube indicating that the KHSMrSzetela 2015 slide show we posted to YouTube has been accepted and is available for viewing.  If you are unable to click on the embedded link, in this message, you may go to YouTube and search for this slide show using the title of KHSMrSzetela 2015.  We hope you find this slide show to spark some happy memories along with some inspirational moments of Mr. Szetela's life.  He was one of our country's "Greatest Generation". Rest In Peace Big Chief!"
HAMPTON - Edward Robert Szetela, 91, known to all as Mr. Ed, died at his home Monday, April 6, 2015 after a long illness. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, he served with the 69th Infantry in Europe and was the only Russian Interpreter on the front lines at the time the United States and Russian forces met at the Elbe River. Following World War II, Mr. Ed returned to the University of Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1948. After earning his Masters Degree from Cornell and attending Clark University for more graduate work, Mr. Szetela moved to Hampton in 1951 to teach at Hampton High School. Recognized for his steel blue eyes and fair discipline, he moved from teacher to Assistant Principal of Hampton High School, then to the brand new Kecoughtan High School to be its first Principal. Later, Mr. Ed was appointed Principal of Pembroke High School, then he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Hampton City Schools and finally to Superintendent of Hampton City Schools until he retired in 1982. During this time, he taught Government and Russian at both Hampton Schools and at the College of William and Mary. He was proud of the fact that some of his students spoke Russian better than he and he was also proud to have taught so many young ladies and young men. Mr. Ed was a member of St. Rose of Lima and The Korean Martyrs Catholic Parish. A past president of the Hampton Rotary Club and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, he also served on many local boards over the years, including Chairman of the Hampton YMCA Board from 1984 - 1986. Mr. Szetela, a combat veteran during World War II, was a member of the 69th Infantry Division Association. Survivors include a nephew, Robert Szetela of South Hadley, MA; a niece Elizabeth Ann Vigeant of Bonita Springs, Florida; a great nephew, Brian Okraska and a great niece, Kerrie Szczuka and their children, Mark Szetela, Lisa Tessier and Suzanne Szetela; and a sister-in-law, Viola Szetela. They thank Marie Archer and her mother Mary Batts for their kind care of Mr. "Z" at his home. The family will receive friends from 5:00 until 8:00 pm Friday at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Ave., downtown Hampton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM Saturday at St. Rose of Lima and The Korean Martyrs Catholic Parish, 2114 Bay Avenue, Hampton, by Rev. Simon Ahn. Burial will be at 2:00 pm Monday, April 13, in Parklawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers for Mr. Ed will be Bobby Croft, Bud Porter, Joey Lawrence, John Bane, Robert Smith and Wythe Holt. Serving as Honorary Pallbearers will be Hardy Cash, Aggie Hogge, Paul Burton and Pat Minetti. Memorials may be in the form of donations to the Hampton YMCA, 1322 LaSalle Ave., Hampton, 23669.



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04/21/15 03:28 PM #1    

Robert Wilson Flournoy (1965)

Who of us knew back in our days at KHS that our steely cold eyed
principal had played such a part in the story of the greatest
generation, a story that would be told decades after our time with him,
decades of seasoning that would only then allow us to understand what
our fathers and mothers had endured, and that Ed Szetela had been a
part of. We had all been aware that we were in the presence of a strong
no nonsense personality, but who among us really knew that his demeanor
and smoldering strength were silently impacting our own nascent
character, an ever so subtle force that we were, almost by osmosis
absorbing. But we were mostly unaware that a strong positive influence 
was impacting our very young, very impressionable minds. We had no idea,nor would it have really mattered to us had we known that Ed Szetela had been part of a storied American fighting unit, the 69thInfantry, as it endured a bloody march through Germany, its' destinythe Elbe River and the Russian army, with whom only Ed couldcommunicate in his native Russian tongue. He could have been anythingafter the war with his skills and experience, but he chose to teach. Us.

I was a lousy high school student, and did not expect Ed Szetela to
remember me when I ran into him after I got out of the army in 1972,
but he did. We were sitting side by side at a diner counter in Hampton
when we looked at each other and smiled. He asked me what I had become,
and as I told him about my graduation from college (did I see a look of
surprise in that steel blue stare?) and subsequent service in Vietnam
as an army officer, he turned toward me with interest and dozens of
questions about my experience, never mentioning his own war time
service, of which I was ignorant at the time. Looking back, it was all
about me at that counter, and not one word about himself, also a
soldier once, and young. That speaks volumes to me now that I know from
his obituary of his own perilous service. But, I seem to remember now,
43 years after that chance encounter, that his eyes had been
compassionate,and caring. Eyes that were blue. And if my use of his 
first name strikes a note that is off key, that is because it should. Because he 
will always be Mister. Mister Szetela.     Bob Flournoy

04/22/15 02:54 PM #2    

Earl P. Bell, Jr.

As everyone knows there are so many great stories involving Ed Szetela during the first years of Kecoughtan High School.  For those of us teaching in classrooms on the west side of Kecoughtan, one condition stands out in my memory.   When we would take a student to the office for some misadventure, pass the library and reach a junction in the hallways where a teacher had choice to either take student to visit with Mr. Szetela, a turn to a the right hallway or Mr. Bowers, straight ahead and a turn to the left.   Without doubt, students much preferred a personal audience with Mr. Bowers.  In fact, I "vaguely" remember much begging from many students when we began to walk the hallway to Mr. Szetela's office and an impressive amount of impulsive repentance.   Any memories of that fact out there?

Earl Bell

05/15/15 02:12 PM #3    

Deborah Anne Outten (Fisk) (1966)

Judith Patricia Dupre Paranuk

I am very sad to hear of Mr. Szetela's passing. Thank you Debbie for letting us know. I had not seen it in our obituaries. I will try to make the funeral on Friday.

He was a grumpy old bear many of the times I saw him in the halls or in the office (I guess we did drive him crazy!!), but he did have a good heart. He certainly brought to mind many good memories of my KHS days.

I remember him tearing up in the gym, when our class president died unexpectedly, and he had to make the announcement to all of us. I will never forget that day.

May you rest in peace Mr. will be missed by all of us who went to Kecoughtan.

05/15/15 02:14 PM #4    

Deborah Anne Outten (Fisk) (1966)

Thomas Lawson Cline (Stroup, Jr.)

I am sorry to learn of the passing of our KHS principal, Mr. Edward R. Szetela, of Hampton, Va., on April 6 at age 91. His obituary appears in today's "Daily Press," April 9, 2015.

Of my many memories of him, the most dramatic one is from Nov. 22, 1963, when his emotional voice came over the school P.A. to announce that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. He played a live radio feed so that all the school could learn the details as they unfolded and were reported. After JFK was pronounced dead, all the reporting paused for a moment for the playing of "Hail to the Chief."

Mr. Szetela was later promoted to superintendent of Hampton Public Schools.

05/16/15 11:35 AM #5    

Earl P. Bell, Jr.

What I remember about that awful November day, was that most of the teachers left their classrooms went down to the Teacher's Lounge to listen and our amazing students sat without making a sound for a substantial amount of time until the school day ended.   Obviously, the most completely unique and powerful day in my 45 years of teaching.  The Cuban Missile Crisis was another scary time.  Rocky's death was by far the most disturbing time single event ever for me as a teacher.   Basically, the school just feel a part.  He was such a wonderful human being.  Alex Conley's death in Vietnam affects me powerful every time I think of him and that is often.  Another bigger than life, marvelous person who loved people so much and was so generous helping them.  Read his mom's beautiful comments about him on the Vietnam Virtual Wall.  

04/30/20 08:58 AM #6    

John Board Hildebrand (1966)

While attending high school my father passed. Igave up on life and dropped out of school. Six months later Mr.Szetela convince me to come back to kecoughtan high. He was more than a teacher to me. john hildebrand

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