By Jeff Jefcoat, F118344
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize two FMCA members who passed away this year. Both succumbed to that dreaded and terrible six-letter word: cancer.
John A. Edsall, F13025, was born in Palisades Park, New Jersey, on November 14, 1926. He died in Lakeland, Florida, on May 14, 2002.
John was associated with FMCA convention security and served as chief of security for many years. John also was a past president of the Wild Goose chapter of FMCA.
John and his wife, Jeanne, joined FMCA in 1974 when they bought a bus and converted it to a motorhome. After owning the converted coach for 13 years, they began traveling in a manufactured motorhome. Jeanne now resides in their fifth such unit at Mount Olive Shores, near Polk City, Florida.
The Edsalls attended their first FMCA convention in March 1976 in Harlingen, Texas, which happened to be FMCA’s first winter convention. They enjoyed it so much that they volunteered to work in security during the 1976 summer convention in Centreville, Michigan. John served as a security guard at one of the gates entering the grounds. He was appointed chief of security for the 1978 winter convention in Tampa, Florida.
John was a jack of many trades. He served in the Coast Guard during World War II. He owned his own business; sold RVs; and loved fishing so much that in 1980 he and Jeanne moved to Grassy Key, Florida, where, for the next 18 years, he was a commercial fisherman. He decided to try freshwater fishing for a couple of years at Lake Okeechobee, too. He and Jeanne were camp hosts in the North Dakota state park system for five years.
John was an only child and was very devoted to his mother; she lived with him and Jeanne during the last nine years of her life.
John was too ill to drive his motorhome to Perry, Georgia, for the convention this past March, so a friend, Marty Baluski, F120943, drove it for him. Marty’s wife, Ellen, drove the Baluskis’ coach as part of a caravan from Mount Olive Shores to the convention. The Baluskis serve as FMCA security captains.
Because of his weakness, John ventured out of the coach very little during the Perry convention, but, as always, he monitored the security channel around the clock. He knew everything that was going on, and if someone in security did not answer quickly, he would do so with that strong and booming voice. The Perry gathering was John’s 55th consecutive FMCA convention. He was a very gutsy guy.
In addition to Jeanne, John is survived by a son, John R., of New Britton, Pennsylvania; a daughter, Patricia Shaw, of Clarkston, Michigan; and two grandsons.
Robert P. “Bob” Carney, F179983, passed away on July 8, 2002, in Melbourne, Florida. He and his wife, Barbara, have been featured on the cover of our FMCA membership brochure for several years and on the first of the FMCA membership pages that appear in the magazine each month.
Bob and Barbara posed for this photo during an FMCA convention and, later, from among the many convention photos available, the staff and Executive Committee decided that the Carneys’ photo should be included in the FMCA membership brochure.
In 1996 the Carneys were instrumental in founding an FMCA chapter that they called the National United Travelers (or NUTS, for short). Bob served as chapter president for three years and as national director for another three. Barbara wrote a “Chapter Spotlight” article about the group that appeared in the June 1998 issue of this magazine. The National United Travelers chapter was established for FMCA members who own motorhomes built by National RV Inc. Bob and Barbara served as ambassadors, promoting the company’s products and the FMCA lifestyle. Bob also served as secretary for FMCA’s International Area in 2000 and 2001.
Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1932. With his mature appearance and a little stretching of the truth, he joined the United States Marines in 1948 at the age of 16. Two years later, he joined the Navy. After four years as a sailor, he returned to New York and joined the New York City Police Department, where he worked for the next 20 years. The salt was still in his blood, and in 1972 he became active in the Coast Guard Reserve. He retired from that post in 1992.
Bob lost many friends in the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11, 2001. He and Barbara attended several memorial services for these friends.
Bob was a 30-year member of the Elks and a member of the Lions Club of Melbourne, Florida. His hobbies included reading, motorhoming, and volunteering. He volunteered for Elder Learning of Melbourne and did extensive volunteer work for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where he met former first lady Barbara Bush and was personally acquainted with the center’s co-founder, John Walsh.
In addition to Barbara, Bob is survived by sons Robert of Kingston, New York, and Richard of Rochester, New York; daughters Caryl Gazzola of East Patchogue, New York, and Jeanine Brown of Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania; stepdaughters Kimberly Chen of Hillsboro, Oregon, and Jessica Edwards of Portland, Oregon; a brother, George Carney of Deerfield, Florida; and 10 grandchildren.
We urge Jeanne Edsall and Barbara Carney to keep the motorhome lifestyle on their agendas. We hope to see these fine ladies at future FMCA extravaganzas.