Edward Mathew McCabe

September 1, 2020

Ed McCabe, a Chicago native who served on destroyers during World War II before earning a doctorate at Michigan State that led to a career as a food biochemist at Nestle, died Sept. 1, 2020. He was 92.

 

He passed away of natural causes at his home in Marysville, where he raised four children, served on the school board, performed in community theater and started the town’s first credit union.

 

Edward Mathew McCabe was born in Chicago on Sept. 14, 1927, two years before the Great Depression. He was the eldest of six siblings who grew up on the South Side with his parents Sylvestor McCabe and Veronica (Kennedy) McCabe.

 

He never forgot his hardscrabble life as a child and how he helped his family eke out a living by delivering newspapers as a boy and working in the rail yards. Throughout the rest of his life he quietly helped those in need by buying them groceries or helping them find shelter.

 

Ed left high school to join the U.S. Navy during World War II and witnessed the devastation of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan. He also was a boxer in the service — bantamweight — and that fitness training also lasted throughout his life.

 

Ed was the first in his family to go to college, using the GI Bill to finance his education. He earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Nebraska and a doctorate in biochemistry from Michigan State.

 

He met the love of his life, Misako Marjorie Katano, a Japanese-American nurse from California, while both worked at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. They lived in North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Michigan before moving to Marysville in the late 1960s when Ed took a job at Westreco Inc., a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle.

 

A food biochemist, Ed worked on proteins and helped Nestle establish soy-based protein systems in the Philippines and Ecuador. He often said this would be a way for people who didn’t have access to meat to get much-needed protein in their diets.

 

When Ed retired from Westreco, he never stopped working. He became a certified tax preparer and started a tax business with Goldie Brewer in Marion that ran for 20 years.

 

His big hobbies were hiking and sailing. He sailed in Chesapeake and Tampa Bays and he also teamed up with one of his dear friends — Chico Alvarez — to crew on sailboats that raced in the Gulf of Mexico. But he always considered himself a Great Lakes sailor with decades spent on Lake Erie in his 27-foot Ericson.

 

Ed traveled all over the world — Europe and Asia — but he cherished his hiking trips, which took him to Glacier Park, Montana, and all over the West. One of his favorite spots was the Escalante Wilderness in Utah.

 

He was a loving father who often sang songs like “Shenandoah” to his daughters before bedtime, did magic tricks, showed up at all of his children’s events, and loved to talk and debate on a number of topics. There was nothing Ed wouldn’t try to fix with duct tape or epoxy. It was a miracle these concoctions never ended up on his children.

 

Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Misako, and brothers Larry and Joe.

 

He is survived by his sisters, Veronica and Madeline; brother James; his four children: Harold (Starla) of St. Paul, Minn., Kathryn (Ira Pilchen) of Chicago, Diana (Gary Robbins) of San Diego and Sandra (Bob Hunt) of Philadelphia. Ed also is survived by five grandchildren: Naomi Vallis, Abigail Heiberger, Caleb McCabe, Cornelius McCabe and Laura Pilchen.

 

He is also survived by seven great-grandchildren: Madilyn, Jaeyden, Guinevere, Samuel, Kathryn, Eleanor and Edward.

Ed and Misako will be interred at The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Joliet, Ill. Memorial donations: Loving Care Hospice and Home Health at 779 London Ave., Marysville 43040. Underwood Funeral Home is assisting the family.

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