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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

WWII/Korean War Veteran passes - Edward Caza was 92-years-old

Submitted file photo: During a visit to South Korea in 2010, Ed Caza visited his fallen fellows at the United Nations Cemetery. Pictured above, he stands next to a memorial constructed there. It reads: ‘We will never forget you brave sons of Canada.’

by Sylene Argent On Sunday, March 29, Edward “Ed” Caza, a WWII and Korean War Veteran, passed away from natural causes at the age of 92.   Caza served his country from 1943-1955, spending time in both the Canadian Armed Forces through the Army and Navy. He was around 15-years-old when he first enlisted, which was right around the tail-end of the Second World War. In the past, Caza noted he had fibbed about his age to get enlisted.   According to the Southern Ontario Military Muster website, Caza reenlisted with Royal Canadian Navy in 1946, after the Second World War, and served on the Tribal Class Destroyer HMCS Haida, the Minesweeper HMCS Portage, and the HMCS La Hulloise. He worked as a stoker in the boiler room. Three years later, he transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corp. Starting in July 1951, Caza served in Korea as a non-commissioned officer for 15 months, where he worked in the Service Corps and with a medical unit. In November of 2010, the Essex and Community Historical Research Society (ECHRS) saluted veterans for their selfless involvement in past wars. Caza was one of the veterans honoured at this event.   One of the happier times while in Korea, Caza said then, was also sad. He and his Corporal had found an abandoned, crying baby dressed in rags. They brought the baby to a near-by hospital and many of the servicemen, including Caza, donated money out of each of their pay cheques to adopt an orphanage.   “To me, I think it was the happiest thing we ever did,” he said at that event.   In 2010, Caza revisited Korea with his son, Erroll.   “It was awesome,” Erroll said of the trip. He said there were around two buses of Canadians, four buses of Americans, and three buses of British veterans on that one-week trip. Every day on the trip, Erroll said, the veterans participated in at least three parades, which he said was pretty taxing on the former service personnel members.   Around the mid-point of the trip, Erroll said the veterans began sharing stories amongst each other when they saw the rice fields. He noted that the veterans said they wished they had as much respect in Canada as they were shown on that trip to Korea. Erroll said he had explained then that the Koreans showed their respect in a certain way because the war was fought on their lands, they saw it firsthand. Canadians, he added then, also respect their veterans.   Caza, Erroll said, would share good stories about his time in Korea. One that stood out was when he played baseball in South Korea on a makeshift baseball diamond.     Three-years ago, Caza returned to Korea with his grandson.   Caza later served in Montreal and in London at the Instructional Cadre. He was released in December of 1955.   Caza, for many years, attended local Remembrance Day ceremonies and the Legion Week Wreath Laying Ceremony.   In September of 2016, Quilts of Valour volunteer Pauline Gaudette, and Regional Representative, Janet Bergeron, proudly presented handmade quilts to three local veterans and military service personnel, including Caza, Joe McLeod, and Jeff Artale.   The quilts are presented through this program to recognize and thank Veterans for their service.   “It is a wonderful feeling to be remembered,” Caza had said at the event that was hosted at the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) as a homemade quilt was wrapped around his shoulders.   Erroll noted his dad passed of natural causes. “When he passed, his mind was still in great shape,” he said, adding, “Dad was a principled guy who was involved with the Legions for years.”   Caza was a Legion member in Tecumseh before transferring to Essex. “He was a fixture there [at the Essex Legion] for the last 15-years,” Erroll said. His dad’s popularity at the Essex Legion was endearingly akin to Norm when he entered the bar in the show, “Cheers.”   Erroll noted that two of Caza’s sons were in quarantine for 14-days after retuning from Mexico during the Coronavirus pandemic. The day their quarantine was over, they were able to visit dad one last time.   “He held on for that moment,” Erroll said. “Dad definitely cared about his family.   A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held in Caza’s honour in July. He and his late wife, Claudette, had six children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.       Erroll is currently the President of the Essex Legion. He said the main reason Canadians have to show respect to veterans, and remember fallen soldiers, is because, “The price of Freedom isn’t free. People who wore a uniform, paid the price for our freedom. The sacrifices they gave allow people today to enjoy the freedoms they have.”   It is important to start talking to those service personnel who served in the Afghanistan War and the Cold War to preserve their accounts, Erroll said.

EFP File Photo: Quilts of Valour volunteer Pauline Gaudette and Regional Representative Janet Bergeron proudly presented handmade quilts to three local veterans and military service personnel, Joe McLeod, Ed Caza, and Jeff Artale in September of 2016.

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