Ed Sylvester, 73, of West Columbia, unexpectedly passed away on February 1, 2023. His family is both shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of their big brother and devoted uncle.
Born in Raeford, North Carolina in 1949, Ed was raised in Greenville, SC, by two strong women: his mother, Ruth Sylvester, an Army captain and nurse, and his grandmother, Olive Waldrop. He adored them both and shared them with his two younger brothers, Richard and Joe.
Ed graduated from Brookland-Cayce High School in 1967, and served in Vietnam for most of 1970 as a generator mechanic stationed at Long Bien. After his tour, Ed worked as a printer with the Harland Check Company for nearly forty years until his retirement.
Ed enthusiastically pursued his passions and interests. He achieved the goal of 1,000 free-fall parachute jumps by his sixtieth birthday and was licensed as a master parachute rigger. Ed earned his private pilot’s license and on occasion, had the pleasure of flying to jump meets. He shared these activities with friend and near-brother Derral Linder.
Additionally, Ed was a builder and flyer of radio controlled planes and was a member of Congaree Flyers. He was a member of the South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation and the South Carolina Military Club. For over twenty years, he was an ambassador for the history of war dogs and an avid supporter of the War Dogs Memorial in Columbia, SC. He admired the tenacity of his friend, Johnny Mayo, who envisioned the memorial and made it a reality. Ed was eager to care for Johnny’s dogs while Johnny traveled for educational and fundraising purposes. As a life-long dog and animal lover, Ed volunteered for many years with Carolina Wildlife and Cotton Branch Farm Sanctuary. He gave many grateful dogs their forever home.
Also, as an amateur herpetologist, Ed eagerly shared his knowledge of snakes. He travelled throughout the midlands with his snakes and shared them with young students. A class favorite was a corn snake, which Ed had named “Kellogg Corn Snake.” He enjoyed working alongside Hammond Schools’ naturalist-in-residence, Tom Mancke, and was only a phone call away to help rescue a wayward snake.
Ed was constantly busy and learning. For many years as a ham radio operator, he collected call sign cards from around the world. More recently, Ed pursued an interest in the art of blacksmithing. In his later years, Ed amazed his family and friends by growing out his hair, which he cut and donated to Locks of Love on multiple occasions. He recently remarked, “Only two more inches to go, and I can make another hair donation.”
He will be forever missed by family: brothers Richard Sylvester (Shannon), Joe Sylvester (Marie); niece, Jessica Jones (Paul); and many cousins scattered across the country. He leaves behind his beloved “Coal,” an older rescue dog, who provided him with much love and companionship.
In lieu of flowers, the family lovingly suggests a donation to THE SCOOTER FUND, which provides veterinary care for stray and needy animals. Donations will be accepted in Ed’s memory at Crossroads Animal Hospital, 704 Two Notch Road, Lexington, SC 29073. Ed would be pleased, and we thank you.