Ed Foth was born in 1919 in Cleveland Ohio. He served in the air force during the second World War, started his own successful company, and had a great marriage for 67 years (until his wife passed away a few years ago, God bless her soul), and was a true family man. He had a ton of interests too – Vegas, Golf, his garden, but in all the time I knew him no interest seemed to come anywhere close to his obsession with Cleveland sports.
I was lucky enough to spend many, many hours discussing every single facet of being a Cleveland fan with Ed which, admittedly, has influenced my fandom. Sitting at the bug game in 2007, watching my Yankees fall to the Indians due to a sudden swarm of gnats, I couldn’t help but feel happy for my family, particularly for Ed, who wanted nothing but to see one of his beloved home teams win another championship. Later, when the Indians finally ousted the Yanks, I thought he might have that chance. (Damn you Boston. May you forever be tormented in you-know-where.)
Ed was your typical trooper when it came to Cleveland teams falling short – he approached the disappointment with a sort of gloomy optimism, surrounding all of his hopefulness with a gigantic swig of negativity. Ed knew as well as anyone else that while next year meant another chance at success, it also meant another opportunity to fall short. Year in and year out I’d hear him lament the past year’s failure, and how the next year could be the year it all came to fruition. But underneath all the positivity was that same distress that plagues us all.
In 2010, my senior year of college, my uncle was lucky enough to snag a bunch of tickets to game 1 of the Cavs/Celtics playoff series. On May 1st, despite Lebron’s “elbow,” we were fortunate enough to watch Mo Williams (crazy dunk and all) and the Cavs beat the Celtics. Things were good, and Ed was happy. I vaguely remember him saying something along the lines of, “I think this could finally be our year.” His positivity was overflowing – he had let his Cleveland guard down, and was anticipating a championship. Of course, we were all wrong, and I’ll spare everyone the recapitulation of what happened next.
And now, less than three years later, Ed has passed. Unlike many of us, he was lucky enough to witness a parade down Euclid Avenue, but also unlike most of us, he knew just how sour being a Cleveland fan can be. And so, as they bury a true American success story, a good man from the great generation, I’ll think not only of the success he achieved in his life, of his patriarchy that ushered in a family of two children, four grand children, and seven great-grandchildren, and of the love he held for his wife until the day he died, but also of his passion for Cleveland sports.
Rest In Peace, Ed. May the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians one day achieve that ever elusive W.