My buddy Kevin Paetzel, a wicked funny and creative guy, sadly lost his dad, Ed "Chill Lee" Paetzel, last month.
The following obituary, written by his son Kevin (who happens to be a senior writer at The Richards Group in Dallas), gives us a clear and insightful understanding of what it really means to be a True Texas legend and character.
EDWARD GUSTAV PAETZEL passed away on Wednesday, August 22. Known by many as Ed "Chill Lee" Paetzel, the Texas Chili King, he was born on October 2, 1932, in Savannah, Georgia.
After attending Carlisle Military School in Bamberg, South Carolina, and serving in the U.S. Army at the end of the Korean War, the promise of a better life beckoned Ed to Texas. He loaded up his woody wagon and drove west to Austin, eventually earning a business degree at the University of Texas (where he gained the distinction of being the first student ever to wear short pants in class). (Go Ed! HMK)
His business career was in human resources in the hotel industry. But his passion was crafting the perfect "bowl of red." Ed backed up his self-proclaimed title of "world's greatest chili cook" by winning the Texas State Chili Cook-Off twice as well as countless other chili cook-offs.
The envy of other chili cooks and hero of hungry fans, Ed traveled the world demonstrating his chili prowess for royalty, celebrities, and television audiences (his favorite TV host was Tom Snyder who could match Ed beer for beer).
This Lone Star legend also developed a chili product for General Mills and opened a restaurant named Crazy Ed's. His service as a great ambassador to the State of Texas was recognized by the governor with the appointment of Admiral of the Texas Navy. And in recent years he was commander of the Admirals of the Brotherhood of Admirals of the Admirals of the Texas Navy.
Ed lived life to the fullest. And in his last days, he said his only regret was not retrieving a time capsule he claimed that he and Colonel Tom Parker buried one night in 1964 - the contents including a bottle of Scotch, a silver belt buckle, and an autographed photo of Ann-Margret (its exact location he had forgotten, just that it was roughly five miles off the Vegas Strip).
Ed is survived by long-time wife Scotty Owen; children, Kim, Kris and husband Gabriel, Kevin and wife Angela, Karl and wife Kristin; grandchildren, Audrey, Hailey, Maximilian, Parker Rose, and Savannah; and Labradors, Hank and Gracie.
In lieu of flowers, Ed would have preferred you buy Pearl beer to enjoy while visiting his Web site: The Texas Admiral.
Happy Trails Ed!