Thursday, March 28, 2019
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and drinks will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Dr. Edmund Talanda was a compassionate, generous, man of faith who shared his love with friends and family throughout his ninety-four years. He was a man of few words, yet when he spoke others listened with respect and appreciation. He never stopped reading and learning, and even at 94 years old would vibrantly discuss a new discovery in science, architecture, art, or history that caught his interest. He survived an immigrant’s journey to the US, the Great Depression and World War II to become a beloved husband, father, friend, physician, and patriarch of a large family, every one of whom loves him and is grieving today. He was one of those rare men about whom an unkind word was hardly ever spoken. He was so loved by his patients that several even named their children Talanda.
Dr. Talanda was born December 18, 1924 in the small town of Szczebrzeszyn, Poland to Walter and Frances (Suran) Talanda. The family, which included an older sister, Virginia, immigrated to the United States and ultimately settled in Kalamazoo when Edmund was a baby. The family later welcomed two more girls, Elora and Mildred (Mimi). Elora is 10 years younger, but he always made time for his sisters and cared for them. His family attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church. His beautiful sister Mimi, whom he dearly loved, was taken early in her life due to a tragic car accident, but she was never forgotten.
Young Edmund was a shy child. It took resolve for him to play his stringed instrument with the older musicians in the local Tamburitza (Slavic) band. They would encourage the reserved young Edmund now and then with shouts of “Ya done good.” It was a phrase that would live on for decades into the lives of his children and grandchildren.
Edmund graduated from Kalamazoo Central High in 1942 at the age of 17. He enlisted in the Navy in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was stationed on that very naval base, and spent the next three years as a sonar specialist on Yard Minesweep 297. When he learned the news that the war was finally over, he was standing on Japanese soil. The young man who had never left Kalamazoo, was forever changed by the war in the Pacific and the experiences he shared with the service men and women who would later be known as the Greatest Generation. Both proud and humbled by his service, Edmund embodied the values he learned in WWII. Although Edmund had never seriously considered going to college, his Captain had encouraged him to develop his skills and get an education. He returned from the war determined to better himself and pursue a career which would help others.
Edmund also returned and found love with his childhood friend Dorothy Stender. They were married on June 25, 1949, at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Four years later, they were raising “the big kids” (Kathleen, Michele, Susan and Camille) who were followed by “the little kids” (Laraine, Edmund Mark, Jean and Annette). His children loved him for his gentle heart - a heart not even the cruelties of economic depression and war could harden. His kindness was such that he often found it hard to discipline them. But they never mistook his kindness for weakness, and they never doubted that he always had the courage required to do the right thing. He made each of his children believe that they were his favorite, and always gave them encouragement to better themselves.
Despite the challenges confronting him as an immigrant without wealth or status, he used the GI Bill to get an education and graduated from Western Michigan University and the Marquette Medical School of Wisconsin. Returning to Kalamazoo as County Coroner he set up a flourishing family practice that provided members of his community with outstanding, personalized medical care for decades to come. His staff quickly got used to seeing the letters “N/C” scrawled across the medical bills for many of his patients - No Charge. His patients often showed their gratitude by leaving small gifts, often very personal, on his doorstep.
The Talanda household was centered in their Catholic faith. They sent their children to Catholic Schools and inculcated in them a sense of service to others. Edmund and Dorothy prioritized education for their children and steered them toward intellectual and artistic pursuits. Despite the hard work and pressures of raising eight children, both parents were active readers and continually developed their creative talents. Edmund was an amateur architect, and he designed and built his own home and medical clinic. He loved documentaries, especially about space and physics, and often steered conversations toward science and the natural world.
With a heart that beat for those less fortunate than he was, Edmund’s deep faith lead him to serve his community and give back to the people of Kalamazoo. He was on the Board of Trustees at Nazareth College and Borgess Hospital and supported numerous Catholic organizations and schools, often by providing free medical care. He was a man of extremely high moral character, a man of strong faith in God, and quietly charitable to many people and organizations here and in his native Poland during his lifetime.
He had an insatiable thirst for learning with many hobbies and interests including marksmanship, history, science, gardening, and forestry. He loved spending time outdoors, especially at the family cottage at Gourdneck Lake and in the woods at his various properties. In his earlier years, he was an avid sportsman and known to be a remarkably good (and fast) shot. He prided himself on his ambidexterity and good hearing which allowed him to track in the woods.
He lived 94 years – he would tell you it was a testament to his mushroom-heavy diet and daily exercise regimen. He spent the last 55 years in the home he designed himself in the city he loved with the people he cared for most. He died on March 24, 2019, from injuries from a fall at home occuring just hours after attending mass at St. Augustine’s Cathedral and receiving the Blessed Sacrament of Communion.
Edmund’s family includes his 8 children: Kathleen (Thomas) Potts, Michele (Michael) Kraft, Susan (Thomas) Minehart, Camille (John) Fath, Laraine (Mark) Goetting, Edmund (Katherine) Talanda, Jean (Matthew) Fisher, and Annette (Jeff) Brennan; 32 grandchildren; 41 great-grandchildren; sister, Elora (Grant); and many nieces and nephews. Edmund was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Talanda, in 2017; 2 sisters: Mildred Talanda and Virginia Egan. Visit with family and friends where food and refreshments will be served on Thursday from 5-8PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 10AM at St. Augustine Cathedral. A luncheon will follow the mass in the Cathedral Center. Following the luncheon, burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Edmund’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Augustine’s Cathedral or Kalamazoo Right to Life.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5