“Who’s Ed?” a friend texted. The friend had seen my Facebook posts about our annual memorial ride and decided to go.

So, who is Ed?

I knew who Ed was (and still is) to me. But there are people who truly knew him best, who had the privilege to share their lives with him on a level only they can understand.

When Ed was killed while biking, they’re the ones who feel the loss the most profoundly.

Who is Ed?

Ed Hahne of West Islip, who was 60 when he died, was a musician, a jokester, an avid cyclist, a brother. 

His lifelong friend, Bob Dalpiaz, a retired teacher and professional musician, remembers:

“I met Ed at seventh-grade band rehearsal. We sat together in the first clarinet section and that never changed throughout all of high school. Ed had a ridiculously open-ended, free-thinking sense of humor that matched well with mine.

More than once, people asked if we were brothers.

Ed was a sincere, intelligent, hard-working person with a great sense of humor. He was one of the finest musicians I’ve ever met and he was intense about his family and friends. He gained strength and great enjoyment from bringing people together throughout his life.

In the last few years before Ed’s death we got together almost every week to make conducting batons (a small business venture we started) and to take a bike ride through the park. Those hangs with Ed are sorely missed.”

Who is Ed?

A teacher, a craft beer geek, a shepherd.

John Leddy, Stony Brook University’s Athletic Bands Director Emeritus, met Ed in 1973 when they both began their teaching careers in the Connetquot school district. They “became friends as well as colleagues,” spending 33 years as band directors in the district before both retiring in 2016.

Says John:

“Ed was the funniest, most social person I knew. He was the best friend. He loved spending time with people, hosting great get-togethers and organizing trips to keep fun in our lives.

Using his interests in music, cycling, and home brewing, I know of no one who reached out to more people in friendship than Ed.

He pursued life with a passion and commitment to excellence. Whether it was music, woodworking, home-brewing, or cycling, Ed never stopped learning and always strove to improve his skills. He inspired us.

His great legacy, however, was in his friendships. Ed built communities of folks from diverse backgrounds. I’m thrilled that my circle of friends is bigger and happier than it would ever have been had I not known him.

I think we all regard him so highly because he gave us each other.

He is our glue, and for that we are forever grateful.”

Who is Ed?

A husband. A father. A soulmate.

Lee Ann Hahne has many fond memories of the 36 years she and Ed spent together.

“We enjoyed traveling and visiting breweries but beer was what we enjoyed most! My fondest memories were the quiet, family times in front of the fireplace. Ed loved the movie ‘Beerfest.’ He’d quote lines and laugh until he had tears running down his face.

Right now, my favorite memory was the night before he died. We did a sour beer tasting class at the Back Alley Brew Shop, then had beers at Bobbique, Hoptron, and Tap Room.

At each place we ran into so many people he knew. On the way home he turned to me and said, ‘Thanks for tonight. It was the best!’

Ed was generous, compassionate, and had a strange sense of humor, but I think the thing that stands out was his ability to bring people together.”

Who is Ed?

Standing room only at the wake. The sheer mass of people was fitting for a clergyman, celebrity or great leader. In a way, it was.

Beer geeks, musicians, educators and bikers all gathered that evening under one roof as one tribe. Ed’s tribe.

Who is Ed?

Our friend.

This Sunday, July 15, we’ll be riding a memorial loop in Heckscher State Park in honor of Ed followed by some sudsy toasting at Destination Unknown Beer Company in Bay Shore.

Come on out and ride if you knew Ed or if you knew someone like him; someone who touched your life through thought, compassion and humor.

Someone you miss and that was your friend. 

*****

More information can be found on the Facebook page “A Ride for Ed.” Donations to The Ed Hahne Marching Band Memorial Award are encouraged and greatly appreciated.)