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Friday, December 22, 2023
Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)
Edwin John Chew, the greatest husband, father and grandad on the planet, passed away Friday, December 15th in Oklahoma City. Eddie was born in Hendon, London, England February 2, 1939 to Sarah (Sally) Chew and Charlie Chew, originally from Aberdare, Wales.
He and his two brothers grew up during World War II London, and their home on York Road was damaged by a German V2 rocket in 1941. His experiences of that time could fill a book. Eddie was the eternal optimist. He dreamed of immigrating to the land of opportunity to pursue the American dream and spent lunchtimes in the library of the American Embassy researching areas to live.
After school, Eddie worked for Frigidaire in London, where he met Maureen Lillian Wheelhouse when he was 19. He proposed three weeks later. Maureen thought that was a bit quick, so he joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed at Bridgnorth. Maureen decided she missed him, so accepted and they were married in 1961. Maureen supported Eddie and thought she would "let him chase his dream" for two years, then they'd move back. Eddie knew the minute he got off the plane he wasn't going back, and felt it was important to move there before they had children, because "what if one of them wants to become president?" So, these two young immigrants arrived with $300 and a suitcase between them to forge a new life. They only knew New York and California, so chose San Diego as their destination. Along the way, they stopped in Bethany Oklahoma to visit friends and break up the long trip. They loved it and never left. Arriving on a Saturday, Eddie had a job in tool and die at Western Electric by Tuesday. Maureen went into the First National Bank of Bethany to apply for a position, and the vice-president saw this small brunette and told someone to "go get that young lady and hire her as my secretary." Brownie Hicks had lost her husband in the war, and always wanted a dark-haired daughter. She became Eddie and Maureen's American mother, and later the kid's Godmother/American grandmother. Daughter Julia was born in 1964 and son Rodney in 1968. Julie and Rod would tell you Eddie was truly the best father in so many aspects. In those early Bethany years, the other kids on the block would knock on the door to see if Eddie could come out and play! If you knew Eddie, you loved being around that infectious laugh and positive outlook. He taught them that education, hard work, integrity, character and faith were most important, and would lead to any opportunity they desired. America was the land of opportunity, after all.
Brownie taught them much about life in America. When they bought their first car, she advised them that they would need something called "insurance,' and sent them to JM and Johnny Westmoreland, who became lifelong friends. Maureen later worked for the Westmorelands, and eventually convinced Eddie he'd make a great State Farm agent. In 1976, the family moved to Yukon, OK and Eddie started a scratch agency with Maureen by his side. They built a successful agency, and it wasn't long before State Farm asked Eddie to move into agency management. He worked with agents in the OKC area until being elected Agency Director in 1989. As AD, Eddie led the Oklahoma agents and was later named Agency Field Executive in Northeast Oklahoma. For that role, Eddie and Maureen moved to Tulsa, where they lived until Eddie's retirement in 2002. He was an exceptional leader and touched countless lives along the way. He absolutely loved his State Farm family.
After retirement, Eddie and Maureen returned to the OKC area and have lived in Edmond since 2003. Their love story is profound. A 62-year marriage is a tremendous feat, but somehow, these two made it look effortless. They couldn't look at each other without smiling and couldn't walk anywhere without holding hands. Their devotion to each other and their family is inspiring.
While Eddie achieved tremendous career and professional success, his most treasured role was grandad to Rod's children Austin and Abby. If you thought he was an incredible husband and father, you should have seen him as a Grandad. He was never so proud or happy as when he was with them. Supporting their baseball, soccer and gymnastics careers brought him so much joy. Their educational and professional success had him bursting with pride. But he was most proud of the incredible, lovely, caring humans they've become.
Eddie was preceded in death by his parents, Charlie and Sally Chew (London, England), his brother and sister-in-law, David and Barbara Chew, (London, England) and his American mother Brownie Hicks (Bethany, OK). He is survived by beloved wife Maureen, daughter Julia Chew (Norman), son Rodney and daughter-in-law Suzanne (Oklahoma City), grandchildren Austin Chew (Austin, TX) and Abby Chew (Baltimore, MD), brother and sister-in-law John and Monica Chew (Ellicottville, NY), niece Shelley Chew (St. Petersburg, FL), niece Jane Chew (Ellicottville, NY) nephew Christopher Chew and wife Genevieve (Dunstable, England), nephew Gareth Chew (London, England), sister and brother-in-law Lorraine and Alan Knowles (Edmonds, WA), nephew Jamie Knowles (Mill Creek, WA) and niece Jodie Knowles (Seattle, WA)
Services Friday, December 22, 2023 11am in the Chapel at Crossings Community Church, 14600 N. Portland Ave, Oklahoma City. Reception immediately following in the Pavilion on the Crossings campus.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to two charities Eddie loved to support:
Project 66 Food Bank https://www.project66.org/
Positive Tomorrows https://www.positivetomorrows.org/
To view the memorial service online, please click the link below