Ed lived a full life from his birth on March 30, 1931 in Eunice, Louisiana until God called him home on November 27, 2016, surrounded by his beloved wife, children and grandchildren. The Stelly family has always said that sometimes it seems that God works in strange ways. A first-time-ever plan to postpone the Thanksgiving Holiday celebration to Friday meant that he was blessed by the presence of his entire family on the days preceding his death.
In 1952 while on leave, he met Jaqueline Fay Bacon via a blind date arranged by a cousin. Through his persistence, they married in 1953. It was an age where you married young, lived within your means, and looked forward to having a family. Three sons and one daughter were raised with love and the values he treasured—honesty, faith and loyalty.
Ed went to college and trained to become a mechanical engineer. He volunteered for the Army in 1951, stopping college temporarily, to serve America during the Korean War. He completed his degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Ed’s career began at Sandia Base. He then worked at Texas Instruments where a love for the Dallas Cowboys developed and never wavered. In 1963, he began to work at NASA and retired from there in 1989. His talents at NASA tapped his creativity and ingenuity as he created environments to test equipment under extreme conditions. He picked up many tools when help was needed.
Ed was very giving of his time to others and showed his convictions. He was an active church member at St. Mary Catholic Church in League City, TX as well as a city councilman for sixteen years. He helped countless people, including strangers, anytime help was needed. He was especially quick to volunteer help when it involved repairing or constructing something. “My dad can fix it” were words spoken as soon as the Stelly kids could talk. Epoxy glue, duct tape and re-machined parts were part of ordinary life for his family. Fay made it possible for the family to reach out with time and energy to the community. Ed knew she was always expertly juggling, taking care of the family and home.
Retirement after NASA was certainly not idle time. He became a municipal judge in League City, TX and served for almost 10 years and sought to never see a young person return to his court room. Essays were often accepted as an appropriate means to deal with transgressions. Researching the law that was broken and turning in an essay to Judge Stelly emphasized pride and not shame. He reported that he had only one return visitor.
He often had a project or two (really a daily undertaking) and loved to see them to completion. Although a classic engineer personality, even he had to shake his head at times and remind us that “better “could be the enemy of “good”. It could be hard to remember that sometimes a job done good enough actually was good enough as he took so much care and pride in all his endeavors. The project that brought him the most joy was the building of a lake house on Toledo Bend in the 1970s. Fay spent many evenings holding a light so that work could be completed after dark. She even got to help literally with the heavy lifting and she added many finishing touches to a house built to stand up to any weather using Egyptian-pyramid-building techniques. He was particularly thrilled to see his grandchildren and their friends having great times there. Many large meals have been served there with family and friends. Even up to a few days before he died, he dreamed of going to the lake just one more time.
Ed is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jacqueline Fay Bacon Stelly. In addition to his wife he is survived by his children Aubrey Stelly and wife Bethany, Craig Stelly, Charlotte Stelly-Seitz and husband Bill Seitz, Mark Stelly and wife Pam, as well as his grandchildren Samantha and husband Ryan Schlickeisen, Taylor Seitz, Carly Seitz, Elizabeth Stelly and Emily Stelly.
Visitation and a rosary will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church, 1612 East Walker, League City, TX 77573 on Thursday December 1, 2016 from 5-7 pm. The funeral mass will be at 10 AM on Friday, December 2, 2016 at St. Mary Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Forest Park East with arrangements by Crowder Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to League City Animal Shelter, 821 North Kansas Avenue, League City, TX 77573, 281-554-1377, www.adoptapet.com as there was never a dog that didn’t like Ed.