Edward Sylvester Gfeller

Edward Gfeller


Edward Sylvester Gfeller passed away peacefully, surrounded and loved by his family, on February 2nd, 2024 in Oklahoma City, OK.

Ed, or Eddie as many called him, was born and raised in Junction City, KS.  Growing up in the fifties, Eddie had a childhood that looked right out of the Andy Griffith Show. His mother, Helen, was a homemaker that cooked a good meal every night and his father, Syl, worked at the local furniture store. He was their only child and the apple of their eyes. As a child, Eddie was always up for new adventures with his neighborhood friends, getting into many shenanigans.

In high school, Eddie played baseball for the American Legion and played trumpet in the Junction City High School Band. He was known for his politeness, wit, and his Model T car that everyone always wanted to ride in. Ed was the definition of a good, clean cut, all-American boy.

For college, Ed first attended Kansas State University where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. It was here where he met his wife of over 50 years, Jamie Rothberger Gfeller, a member of the Tri-Delta sorority. He later graduated from Washburn University with a degree in Business Administration. During the Vietnam War, Ed served in the National Guard and played tuba in the army band.

Ed worked for the Santa Fe Railroad, Standard Oil, Lederle Pharmaceuticals, Bankers Life, and American Fidelity. He worked at American Fidelity for over 30 years, working his way up to Vice President of Customer Service prior to his retirement in 2010.

The best part of his life was when his sons, Erick and Chris, were born. He loved being a father to his sons, always coaching their sports teams, taking them to their bike races, and attending all of their school events. Ed always attended every activity they were in, smiling and proud, whether he was embarrassed or not. This continued on with all of his grandkids as well.

In his free time, he loved to read, listen to doo-wop music, eat candy, and watch mystery shows and The Waltons. Ed also loved going on, and enjoying, vacations with his grandchildren.

Throughout his life, Ed was always someone to count on. Big or small, he would do anything for his family. From getting medicine when someone was sick, picking up food from anywhere for anyone whenever, keeping track of every important paper, picking up cakes for birthday parties from any area of town, no matter how sketchy, and many more things. He was always a phone call away.

Ed was always a joyful person. He loved to tell jokes, be in a good mood, didn’t like to complain, and served as the official family mediator. He always waved and smiled to everyone he saw, no matter if he knew them or not.  To paint a picture, a “for sale” sign was put on him during a family garage sale and everyone wanted to buy him because he was so nice. That was just him.  His joyful and kind spirit will be missed dearly.

Ed is preceded in death by his parents, Helen and Sylvester Gfeller. Syl passed away with a bang on the Fourth of July, so it’s only fitting that Ed went out with a bang as well on the night of a 5.5 earthquake on a very special holiday – Groundhog’s Day.

He is survived by his wife, Jamie Gfeller, his son and daughter-in-law, Erick and Brawna Gfeller; son and daughter-in-law, Christian and Heather Gfeller; grandson, Tristan Gfeller; grandson and wife; Kaleb and Victoria Gfeller; grandson and wife, Kaden and Cassidy Gfeller; granddaughter, Zoe Gfeller; great grandchildren, Charlotte Gfeller and new arrival coming in July 2024.

Ed would like us to celebrate his life, not mourn, at his death. We ask that everyone leave in the comments something that they admired about Ed or a short story about him. Instead of flowers, please send donations to Bellevue Health and Rehab to give back for the excellent care they provided to Ed. Donations can be addressed to Ed Gfeller’s memory and sent to this address:

Bellevue Health and Rehab Center
6500 N. Portland Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73116

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 11th 2024 at Matthews Funeral Home.

16 thoughts on “Edward Sylvester Gfeller”

  1. Robert Landis

    Jamie chris and Eric so sorry for your loss.
    I remember being over at Chris’s house we where doing something. And Ed came in and said you boys want to see a tornado. We said no way Ed so we went to back sliding door and there it was about a mile west of there house.
    I will never forget that day he was just so calm about the hole thing


  2. The Junction City High School class of 1964 is saddened by the loss of Eddie. We take comfort in knowing he is at peace. Eddie will be remembered in many ways by his classmates, but all will remember him as a kind, polite young man who was liked and respected by everyone. He was a gentle soul. We were fortunate to have him as one of us. Our sincere condolences to his loving family.

  3. I knew my friend Ed for over 50 years. We first met in Des Moines when he came to work for Banker’s Life Company. We had some great times in Des Moines. He and our friend J.T. would get together at the Executive Lounge after work on Friday nights and rehash the events of the past week, and plot adventures for the next. We and our wives would frequently go to a venue where the West Des Moines Dixieland Band was playing. The music was great, and the food was free, and in those days neither of us had many resources, and it was free food!

    In 1977 I accepted a position with American Fidelity. Not long after I began my American Fidelity career, I received a call from Ed asking if I knew of any other open positions. I told him that I had only been with the company for a few weeks, and it was doubtful that they would confide in me about open positions. However, within a week, Ron Yoxsimer (who also recently passed) came into my office and asked if I knew of anybody in Des Moines that might also be willing to relocate. I became the “matchmaker” and Ed and Jamie, Christian and Erick moved to OKC, where our friendship continued for the next 47 years.

    Ed would do anything for anybody. He was always cheerful even when circumstances did not necessarily warrant a cheerful disposition. I never heard anybody say anything adverse about Ed. Why would they? There was nothing adverse to say.

    I could tell you more, but Ed and I had a deal. I would not tell stories about him, if he would not tell stories about me!

    I will miss my friend Ed Gfeller!

    1. Donna Ledlow

      Beautifully put, Rob. Hope you are well in retirement.

      Donna (formerly Davenport, formerly Lady, now) Ledlow from AFA

  4. Ed had a MG convertible and occasionally I would catch a ride to work with him. Not having a lot of hair, I carefully combed it in the morning. Of course he drove with the top down, which would absolutely muss my hair. Can you imagine his embarrassment when he looked over and I was riding with the satchel over my head!!!! We had a lot of laughs together over the years. I will miss him.

  5. Gabriella Amparan

    My mentor..my friend!! Thanks for stepping in to give me the push needed to start my professional journey, your support and guidance has been cherished and something that I have looked back on with a smile. RIP…Fast Eddie!!!!!!
    Gabriella Amparan

  6. Donna Ledlow

    Ed Gfeller was exactly as they mentioned in his memorial. A kind, smiling, sincere man who was respectful of others, who knew how to do his job and garner loyalty from those around him. He was the kind of man that belonged at American Fidelity.
    I knew him for almost 19 years, when he retired. Maybe it was longer, but I was at Security General first, and that was long ago!
    We will miss you, Ed. You will be remembered for your sweet smile. Go rest high on that mountain with your momma & daddy. We’ll all be along directly.

    Donna Ledlow

  7. Jamie Gfeller

    We met on a blind date arranged by my best and his best friend. It was love at first sight and from then on we were always together. We got married the following year and things got tough. The Vietnam War was going strong and Ed got drafted so he immediately join the Army National Guard and played the tuba in the band which was not something he had played before but it was the only opening they had and he was a fast learner. When he enlisted in the National Guard I found out I was pregnant. Starting at this point our life became a sitcom. I was teaching art at the high school and Ed had to quit college and go to basic training in South Carolina. I do remember that my starting pay for a high school teacher was $650 a month. Our food budget per week was $15 which would not hardly buy a meal at a fast food restaurant. We did not care because we thought we had everything. We got a crib from his parents and set it up in our kitchen and that was the new nursery. He left for training and came back one month before Erick was born. When he got back he got a job at the Santa Fe Offices in Topeka and enrolled in Washburn to finish his degree. At that time Ed was smoking and driving back and forth from Topeka to Lawrence, He was almost home and threw cigarette out the window but forgot he had the back window open. He started to smell smoke and looked around and the back seat was on fire so he pulled into a farm and started knocking on the door shouting help. The lady was scared seeing a man and just opened the door and handed him a box of baking soda. He poured it on the seat and he thought it was put out and drove off. When he got back to the apartment he told me what happened and took me to see the car and when we got there the seat was engulfed in flames and the inside of the car was full of smoke. I went and called the fire department and they came out with a hook and ladder truck and a small vehicle. I just could not help but laugh at the situation. They took an ax and tore the seat apart but they put out the fire. Well then Ed and I had to rebuild that crazy seat with wood and padding and old blankets. We drove around in that car for several years with that homemade seat. I never let him live that one down. We had Erick several weeks later. Back then you stayed in the hospital for two weeks and flat on your back 10 days. The bill without insurance for everything was $615.00. I must say I miss that crazy old man. He was the apple of my eye.

  8. Jodi Adams Sturgeon

    I feel very blessed to have know Ed, and to have called him family, even for a short time. My favorite memories with Ed center around Christmas with his in laws. He was always full of smiles and laughs! He loved his family with all his heart! Jamie, Erick and Chris- my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  9. Jo Ann Dickey

    Ed was a person that everyone was glad to see. He had a wonderful sense of humor and we shared many a laugh. I remember him fondly and regret his loss.

  10. cheryl Charter

    I remember being very intimidated when I first started at American Fidelity at the age of 19 oh so many years ago. I didn’t work on Ed’s team but he went out of his way to come by and introduce himself and always had a cheerful hello or a few kind words every time he passed by. I admired his professionalism, knowledge and kindness as did many of my coworkers. A true gentlemen in every way.

  11. Frances E. Johnston

    I went to school with Ed. I was in the class of 1963. I really got to know him when he worked at Hood and Spencers while he was in high school. He even accepted me to go to the Saddie Hawkins Dance. He was such a kind person and had a smile for everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  12. Jack Willome

    Eddie was a great friend from elementary school all the way through high school. Great memories of being in band together! I was along for some crazy rides in the model T! It leaked oil by the quart and recall that he carried bottles of recycled oil in trunk. He’d stop frequently so we could pour in another bottle.

    Grateful that you were in my life, dear friend!

  13. Steven and Terry Bradford

    Ed was a wonderful neighbor!! My husband and I try to walk the neighborhood every day and during our walks Ed would always wave, smile, and speak to us. Ed enjoyed being outside talking with his son Erick and watching him work in his garage. We had some great yard conversations. His smile was so contagious . Ed you will be missed. Our prayers and thoughts are with his loving and caring family.

  14. John Edminster

    Sorry to hear of Eddie’s passing. I do remember him in high school band. He was such a good guy. My immediate memory of him was that he was always smiling and or laughing. Deepest condolences to his family.

  15. Wanda Andrews Kiger

    I worked for Ed at American Fidelity..He was the best boss I ever had..We were constantly playing tricks on him and he would laugh as much as we did..He always had a smile for you
    And was the kindest person in the world..What a wonderful world it would be if we had all Ed”s in the world…I never forgot you Ed and I never will..I know you are smiling with the angels..

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