John "Ed" Aas
John "Ed" Aas, was born July 21, 1939, and raised on a farm north of Pelican Rapids. Ed was humble, ambitious, kind, and curious throughout his full life. That he started in a 1-room schoolhouse, and ended up earning a Master's degree and becoming a skilled career counselor speaks to his character. He expected no handouts, and worked for everything he had.
After graduating from Pelican Rapids HS in 1957, Ed enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in England for two years. During his time off, he'd take the train to London, where he developed a life-long love of the arts, especially baroque music. After returning to Minnesota, he put himself through college working at a Tonka toy factory. He travelled, worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and eventually for the state as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. He ultimately settled on 7 acres of beautiful land outside Willmar with his wife, Sandy. They had one son, Erin, designed and built a home, hand-planted a 1,100-tree windbreak, and grew their careers. They eventually became interested in the culture & climate of the pacific NW, and relocated to Portland, OR in 1988.
Ed spent the rest of his career helping laid-off workers decide where to head next in their work. When there were no jobs to return to at the factory, Ed would spend time with groups of scared individuals, guiding them through personality inventories and introspective exercises. He helped some decide to go back to school, and others to become crane operators, teachers, or business owners. After his passing, Ed's family found a box of thank you cards from former clients hundreds of individuals expressing gratitude for how he helped them through difficult chapters and choose second careers. To his end. Ed was interested in others' stories and celebrated their successes & transitions.
After retiring, his ambitions shifted to partner dancing, travelling, and studying Norwegian. His curiosity and desire to learn never waned. Ed was a model father, friend, and human; he was loving, consistent, present, generous, selfless, and self-aware. Even as his Lewy Body dementia advanced, his grace and kindness remained. He passed on November 21, 2023, surrounded by people who loved him. He was preceded in death by his parents, Andor & Ovidia Aas, and his sister, Darlene (Ost). We miss him terribly.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Habitat for Humanity or the ASPCA.
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