Edward R. Torkelson passed away November 27, 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.
A life-long resident of the Renton area, Ed was born on October 27, 1949, the oldest child of George and Jean Torkelson. He grew up playing in the parks, streets, and neighborhoods of Renton with his three brothers, sister, and the neighborhood kids. A proud member of the Renton High class of ’67, he formed lasting friendships with his schoolmates and his city rec softball and flag football teammates. Many of these lifelong friends remained part of his regular Tuesday golf outings, referred to affectionately as “my Renton home boys.” The capacity to make and keep friends came naturally to Ed, and it was perhaps his greatest gift.
Following high school, Ed parlayed his local connections into work at the Renton Parks Department. While there he earned a technical degree in computer programming and arrived in the city’s data processing department at an opportune moment. His talent did not go unnoticed, and in several years was promoted to the position of Director of Data Processing.
Ed was able to look beyond the City of Renton and envisioned opportunities at other municipalities, so he opened his own business, Sound Data Services. Business quickly expanded and he, along with a partner, launched Eden Systems in 1981, which focused on developing, installing and supporting application software for city governments. Ed had a keen eye for talent and brought on the brightest and the best as business grew. Throughout the 80s and 90s, he, his partners, and a dedicated team built Eden Systems into a nationally-known company.
Ed and Kathy Kearney married in 1994. Less than ten years later, Ed sold his company to his biggest competitor and promptly retired. Kathy joined him in retirement shortly thereafter, and they devoted their free time to friends, family, and mostly each other. They built their dream home and traveled often, especially loving their visits to Cabo san Lucas and Sun Valley.
His hobbies and interests were wide and varied. Ed was a tenacious crossworder, ruthless in cribbage and card games, and gracious over dinner with friends. He loved his practical jokes, like covertly scrambling televisions with a watch remote, then “helping” a frustrated friend or hapless employee to reset things.
Ed was a true Seahawks fan, holding season tickets from the inaugural 1976 season and attended home games for 44 years as well as all three of their Super Bowl games. Saturdays in the fall were dedicated to Husky games along with attendant tailgating and sailgating. Ed also traveled to many big away games and considered these weekends some of his most memorable times with friends.
Ed was probably happiest careening downhill on a fast pair of skis. He and Kathy spent their winters skiing with friends and enjoying the ski town life, even making it further afield to European resorts. Several times, along with his ski buddies, Ed accomplished over a million vertical feet in a single season. In the heat of summer, he loved jumping into the lake for a lazy float, taking a leisurely cruise in his boat, or cranking it up to pull family and friends behind. At the end of the day, Ed’s favorite spots were on his deck, around the firepit, or at a comfortable bar, relaxing with Kathy or chatting with a friend over a Bud Light.
Throughout his life Ed gave generously and quietly to those close to him when help was needed. In retirement he began supporting local charities. He volunteered with the Major Taylor Project, an introduction to bike riding for high school students; and for ten years, Ed worked a weekly shift at the Renton Food Bank alongside other dedicated volunteers and staff with whom he became good friends.
As an uncle, brother, and friend Ed made real connections and truly valued those relationships. His conversations were genuine and his humility shone through his every action. Ed flattered everyone he listened to with absolute attention and celebrated others’ successes. He had a sharp wit, a quick mind, and a confident yet self-deprecating manner. Ed’s positive outlook endured through his battle with cancer, and he was always grateful for the good fortune he’d had in life. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends (old and new,) neighbors and co-workers.
Ed is survived by his wife Kathy Kearney, his sister and brother-in-law Marvel and Ty Galvin, his brother and sister-in-law Don and Karen Torkelson, his mother-in-law Leona Kearney, his sisters- and brothers-in-law Glenda Orgill, Charlie Kearney and Hope Guerra, and Jim and Marlena Kearney, along with his nieces and nephews and their families. Ed’s inurnment will be at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Renton alongside his two brothers, Bryce and Tom Torkelson. He is also preceded in death by his parents George and Jean Torkelson, his father-in-law Duane Kearney, and his brother-in-law Pete Orgill.
If you wish to make a donation in Ed’s name, please consider Northwest Harvest or your favorite local organization focused on supporting those in need.
No service is currently planned so to honor Ed’s memory, do what he loved to do: call an old friend and catch up.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ed Torkelson, please visit our floral store.