Tributes to Edwin and Esther Prentke
and Contributors to the Prentke Endowment


One of the blessings of both Ed and Esther's lives was the preservation of their dignity during their declining health. Esther had been an astute investor. Even though they both lived long lives, the financial resources were available to allow them to be in control of their destinies.

A significant part of this blessing was the help that was provided by a caring home health team. Here are some of those who contributed to that aspect of Ed and Esther's lives.

Other tributes are below.

Bonnie Priest

 Over these nine years I have truly loved the adventure with Esther and Ed.  They were the most humble and caring people that I have had the pleasure to know.  I have enjoyed their humor and have admired their love for other people. 


It was a privilege to share first hand in a lot of their adventures and experiences.  They had all types of stories and encounters and all types of stories and encounters.


I know personally I will truly miss them and will remember all the good times we had and enjoyed together.  They were like the grandparents you never had.


Both of them have had a true impact on my life.  There are so many jokes and sayings that I will remember.  One from the refrigerator: “We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are.”


Vinnie Curd

"Ed, what's your secret to living so long?"


Ed: "Steal, swear, cheat and lie. Steal away from bad company, swear by your friends, cheat the devil, and lie with the one you love best."


Ed, it has been my pleasure to have been with you and Esther. Taking care of you is one of the few jobs I have had that I really looked forward to coming to work. Thank you for your loving kindness and some of your clean jokes.


I'm going to miss you very much and I will always hold very dear to me the complement that I treat you like your mother. I love you and appreciate you.


Vinnie. One of your girls.

Vernita Ranch-Scott

There are so many things that I could say about Eddie. But most of all, he was someone I will never forget. There were times when Ed would say some of the funniest things to make you laugh. When we would watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights, he would start to sing and ask me to join in. I'll never forget my first cruise to the Caribbean, which was with Ed. I was hanging onto the walker more than Ed was! I was so sick that he told me I didn't have my sea legs.

Just Vernita

Latoy Nelson

Ed always teated us like his children. We were there to take care of him, but somehow it seemed like he was trying to take care of us.


He always asked "Aren't you eating?" or if we were cleaning or fixing dinner Ed would say "You're so busy. Don't you want to take a rest?" or he'd see us reading and he would get up and turn the light on.


My favorite Ed story was one morning, Ed didn't want to get up. He wanted to sleep longer, so I let him. After a period of time, I got up to go check on him -- and found him sitting up in his chair, with the bed railings still up! When I asked him how he got up, he replied, "A helicopter". He said he didn't have enough strength to call me, but he had enough to climb out of that bed!


Ed was a wonderful person. It was a pleasure to get to know him and be "one of his children".


Especially Latoy

Loretta Brooks

I met Ed and Esther Prentke in October 1997. I was working with social worker Phyllis Wolk who had told me that she had a very nice couple that she wanted me to help take care of. I accepted the job and had the pleasure of helping take care of Esther part time. In time, the job became full time in which I could no longer take on the task myself. I decided that I would bring Bonnie Priest from my company At Home Health Care, Inc. to help me and become the manager of the case. I enjoyed many good times with Esther and Ed. We had meals together and went shopping together, but I enjoyed most wonderful stories they shared.

A year before Esther fell very ill, Ed asked the ladies and me that if anything happened to his wife would we continue to assist and take care of him? He had noted the way we cared for Esther and how much we truly loved the both of them. This is a promise that I kept and that we did to the best of our ability.

It was a joy to be around Ed. He was a kind and encouraging man. Ed always had something upbuilding for all of us. We would sometimes feel down or out, but Ed's energy always kept us going. Ed was truly a great man. I would like to thank all his family and frinds for allowing me the pleasure of overseeing the care of Ed and Esther. I will always love you both.

Myra Gantt

I met Ed and Esther on June 10, 1997. It was on a Sunday night. Upon arriving at the apartment, Ed and Esther greeted me and we began making sleeping arrangements. I told Ed that it would be okay for me to sleep on the davenport. Esther took me to the back bathroom and she told me that she and I would be using the back bathroom only during the day. And at night she said I could use Eddie's bathroom.

When Ed had to stop driving he did not like it at all the first day we went out and he had to let Myra Gantt drive his car. He was not happy. It made life hard for me that day. After we returned home, Esther told me Eddie really is a nice man and he did not mean the things he said to you. She asked me not to be upset with him. So I smiled and I told her I understood. After dinner he asked me to forgive him. He gave me a big hug and kiss and made up.

When I first started working for Ed I wasn't sure how I would like it. Ed and Esther treated me like family. Ed's friends and business partner were very nice and made me feel good. I really enjoyed them when we went out to eat.

As days and months and years went by, ...... More from Myra



Other Tributes


Anthony Arnold

Yesterday was a very hard birthday knowing that one of my AAC heroes is no longer with us. But then I began looking at my 2 Pathfinders and ECO-14, and discovered he is still with us, and that's much more than I could possibly ask for, and that's pretty amazing.

Judge Mary Kaye Bozza

Mary Kaye Bozza, Presiding Judge of Lyndhurst Municipal Court, became acquainted with Ed at the end of his driving era. During his appearance in court, Judge Bozza gave a tribute to Ed which was acknowledged by applause from the courtroom, an unusual occurance. Judge Bozza said that she will look forward to attending Ed's 100th birthday party.

Judge Bozza made good on her word and did indeed attend the party. She brought with her a proclamation from the City of Lyndhurst honoring Ed Prentke.

Lyn Emerson

Esther and Ed were truly remarkable, both individually and collectively. They kept good company with each other and possessed the skill of quietly drawing out conversation from those surrounding them. They held a wealth of wisdom, information, and experience, yet were so humble and interested in others. Esther was sweet; Eddie, a bit ornery with his humor at times. But the love, caring, and generosity they shared with each other was deep, and it spilled over onto those close to them.

I was fortunate in these last few years to be part of Ed’s entourage of traveling companions who accompanied him on several cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, an all-terrain jostling open-jeep ride through the mountains of Jamaica, a steam-engine train trip through Colorado and New Mexico, a road-trip to Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks, and of course, the famous California trip to the Playboy mansion. Wherever Eddie went, he attracted a crowd of strangers as if he were a celebrity. And that he was. He proudly wore his yellow baseball cap that was inscribed, “Yes, I really AM 100”, which initiated interest and conversation with strangers wherever he went. The most repeatedly asked question to him was, “What is your secret for living such a long, healthy life?” His little grin would emerge as he disclosed his truth: “I spend time with younger friends.” But at Eddie’s age, EVERYONE was younger!!...... More from Lyn

Milton and Bessie Carleton and Esther

Barbara Carleton Fasiska-Kashar

Ed and Barbara

What a wonderful man Ed was, and Esther was a wonderful woman too. An old sailing friend of my mom and dad who still lives in Cleveland and is about 88 now, I think, called me a few days ago to tell me that she saw the obituary for Ed in the newspaper. Her name is Vera Wood and she and her husband Orville "Woody" Wood sailed a Highlander out of Edgewater Yacht Club where my mom and dad (Bessie and Milton Carleton) and the Prentkes all belonged in the late 50's and 60's. Orville was an expert racing sailor as was his son Gene. Gene was 2 years older than I and he taught me how to race and win. I crewed with him in the Junior Sailors for several years and raced at Put-in-Bay and Buckeye Lake. Although my family had a 30 foot racing sloop at the time which we raced occasionally, my mom was not so keen on racing and she and my dad spent quite a lot of time with the Prentkes on their boat. They sailed together on Ektar on a couple of vacations around the Great Lakes. It was one of the highlights of their lives.

They used to regale my sister and me with many stories of their adventures with Ed and Esther. The funniest one occurred ...... More from Barbara

Ed with Ann Dowdell

Ed and Esther were very special people that we both enjoyed. In the 6 years I worked at metro (85-91) I stopped in @ 7:30 every day to say good morning to Ed whose workshop was next to my office. He always had a joke for me and delighted in showing me his projects. His most memorable was the minature MRI for the pediatric ward, a perfect facsimile! He got a real thrill out of getting the sound effects just perfect and so did I.

It was great to be with you for his birthday celebration, thank you for our picture together, and for providing the interesting reading on the internet of all his accomplishments. We will always treasure our friendship

Bill and Ann Dowdell

David and Edith Orenstein
and Mark and Joan Green

Our Aunt Esther and Uncle Ed -


Trips to the museum, symphony, circus, dog show, pumpkin patch, lake, park and zoo to name but a few


Rides in the 60’s in convertibles with you – the Fiat was red and the Sunbeam was blue


Holidays, birthdays and other occasions celebrated with our folks, varied conversations but always laced with jokes


Inventions galore always at the ready, especially fun was the electric fork with which you twisted spaghetti


A helping hand with outlook, manners, schoolwork and more always coming down the pike, along with items such as a brand new bike


Encouragement to learn and develop knowledge, a great desire to see us all go to college


As role models and more you have our love, gratitude and admiration, we hope to help carry on your legacy for many a generation


Katya Hill

Eddie and I shared a special bond that taught me about partnerships, mentorship, friendship and the family members we choose in our lifetime. Eddie and I frequently shared our time with Barry. Eddie’s place was “The Stop” coming and going between Wooster and Edinboro. This meant I got to hear Eddie’s latest joke, while Eddie was the first person to receive Barry’s purchases of church nut rolls, and other ethnic and holiday cookies and breads on his return. I was one of those who were blessed to witness the close, personal relationship between Ed and Barry that is rare among business partners today. ...... More from Katya

Mary Hobratschk


  My experience of Ed and Esther Prentke was that they strictly adhered to what they valued…honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, discipline, creativity, service to others, the arts, generosity, love, a conservative lifestyle, humor, loyalty to each other and those they loved.  I was inspired by their integrity and wisdom.


Among many fond memories, perhaps the last call from Ed exemplifies his love and appreciation for life the most.


Two weeks ago, at his request, Barry took Ed out in his bright yellow convertible with the top down.  They drove to Chagrin Falls for an ice cream cone. Fortunately, I did not hear the call because his spirit will live on in this message. Click here (200K file)


Although somewhat small in stature, Ed was a “giant” in my experience.


It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  It would take thousands of words to attempt to describe the legacy he has left.  Fortunately, we have lots of pictures that will keep this awesome human alive in our hearts.


Les the Handyman

More content coming.

Sarah and Anne Lever

My daughter, Sarah and I met Mr. Prentke at a Minspeak Conference in 1996. It was the 30th anniversary of the Prentke Romich Company. Mr. Prentke was a slender, elderly gentleman, using a cane to support his small frame. He spoke to us with enthusiasm, saying, “Do you know why our devices are so good? It’s because we use Motorola parts.” I have carried this meeting in my heart as a blessing.

Our sympathies go to Mr. Prentke’s family, Barry Romich, and friends.

Anne & Sarah Lever

Vince Messina

What comes to mind right now, thinking of Ed, is his fascination with the story that each person he met represented. Anytime I'd invite a new person to sail with us Ed would, at some point during the sail, sit close to him or her and ask a few questions for starters, "What do you do for a living? Where are you from?" and if he'd found someone who enjoyed talking about himself Ed's interest would increase with each factoid until he had a new friend.


People always left the boat impressed with the unusual little man that tugged unwittingly at their heartstrings.

David, Edith, Melissa, Emily


Bill Pitts

Many former stroke patients at Highland View Hospital benefited from the numerous electronic therapeutic devices which Ed Prentke developed to help them regain some semblance of their former language skills. Ed also taught me the positive formula toward enjoying a happy life style: enjoy life, not fight it, and to think young. He was an excellent teacher.

Rose Poporad

To know my cherished friend Edwin is to know that he loved his dear Esther…. nice cars….. a good steak …. the color yellow……and a precociously naughty joke.

For years we laughed – we sang – his deep baritone finishing notes of our favorite song….. “You are My Sunshine”.  Indeed, he truly was sunshine to me…… often I went to visit him hoping to cheer him up – and I left realizing that it was I who had been cheered!  

Dear Edwin….. special friend……The Lord truly blessed me by bringing you into my life.

Barry Romich

Prentke Romich Company
1022 Heyl Road
Wooster, OH 44691-9786

Tel: 330 (or 800) -262-1984 ext. 211

Ed and Esther Prentke entered my life in 1965, in my second year of engineering school. They had already tried to retire and were now working in a research program at Highland View Hospital. Ed and I hit it off right away and we started to work together building things for patients and researchers. When we decided to formalize our relationship, Ed graciously suggested a 50-50 split and Prentke Romich Company was born.

Trying to keep our costs low, Ed and I would go downtown to Electronic Surplus on Saturdays to buy parts for the things we would build. But when we needed to build more of the same thing, the parts previously purchased might no longer be available and we'd need to redesign. Later we bought real parts.

The Prentkes brought a welcome and new aspect to my life. I appreciated the widsom and peace that their years had brought them. The diverse experiences of their lives showed me what was possible. As I am now around the age that Ed was when we first met well over forty years ago, I value the model that he has given for living life to the fullest.

Ed and Esther Prentke were remarkable people.

Ben and Marian Romich

We always enjoyed our times with Esther and Ed Prentke. They were both fascinated with the various machines and models at the farm. Ed especially enjoyed the summer picnics and liked to watch the ice cream maker turning under the power of an old engine.


Ed wasn't satisfied with sitting on the sideline and watching. He wanted the full experience. Here is granddaughter Hannah taking Ed for a ride.

Rita and Bob Saslaw

As one of the very few remaining members of the Prentke clan we have know Ed for 81-50 years respectively. Through that time Ed has not changed in his work ethic, his wide spread interests from engineering, photography, food and his great love of Esther.

It was always fun to go out to eat with them and listen to Ed's old jokes that always brought hysterical laughter from Esther no matter how many times she had heard the joke. The enormous appetite was also something to see, and has continued through the generations to his cousin Bob, who even through his serious illness continues to eat and remain thin.

What a wonderful life for both Esther and Edwin. It was special to know you and to be related to you.

Dipak & Shobha Sheth

One day after his 100th birthday, we wished Ed Happy Birthday, with a musical candle, and his curiosity of new things is evident on his facial expressions.


We live in the same building as Ed. He recently attended the 75th Birthday Party we had organized for Shobha's father, and invited individuals from the age groups 80s, 90s and 100s. Ed wore his "Ageless Wonder" button and was fascinated with the edible fruit arrangment.

He was telling his usual jokes and stories, including the topic of sailing.. When asked when he stopped sailing, he replied "I haven't".



Jay A. Weisman
Financial Planning Specialist
Second Vice President-Wealth Management
Smith Barney, a division of Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

5565 Glenridge Connector, Suite 1900
Atlanta, Georgia 30342

Phone: 404.459.3808 or 1.800.825.7171
FAX: 404.459.3838

I wanted to share a few thoughts about Ed and Esther Prentke. What is somewhat remarkable about this relationship is how it began, and that it endured for more than two decades despite being miles apart geographically.

I was referred to Ed and Esther by a friend of theirs---Joseph Green. I believe he was a life long friend, and had met Ed when they were both in school at Case.

About one year after I met Ed and Esther, I moved to Atlanta (Oct, 1986). Despite this move I remained in close contact and was able to see the unfolding of an amazing couple. As everyone knows, they were both extremely kind, intelligent, and very giving.

Perhaps my "favorite" Ed story was when I called him on his 99th birthday. To me at least, it sums up the incredible nature of this remarkable man. You see, he had just lost his beloved Esther a few months earlier, and most people (of his age) would have found it easy to shut down, mourn and no longer live life. Instead, he chose to continue to be optimistic, upbeat and live life to the fullest.

I recall asking Ed a very specific question that day. After wishing him all the best on his birthday, etc---I asked him if he had any regrets in his life. His initial response was that he had none. I continued on and said surely there must be at least ONE instance in 99 years! At that point you could imagine the twinkle in his eye (even over the telephone!) and he admitted that perhaps he DID have one small regret. I asked him to share it. He answered that he regretted NOT attending his 80th high school reunion the previous summer! When Ed told me this, my initial thought was there would not have been anyone there, but his quick follow up remark summed up the very nature of the man. He continued on and said, "I do not think I would recognize anyone there!". So typical of Ed, always looking at the bright side of things.

I will miss both of them, but feel confident that their legacy will live on through all of their many lifetime projects.

It was an honor to be counted as part of their circle of friends.



Other financial contributors to the Esther and Edwin Prentke Endowment:

Bruce Baker / Semantic Compaction Systems

Joanne and Russell Hill

Rebecca Long

Tamara Long


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