Mr. Edwin Bristol, age 79, of Comstock Park went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

He grew up in Alpine Township and was a 1949 graduate of Sparta High School. Ed had part-time jobs at the Vinton farm and also the ice cream shop (Bloomstein)—a job that he loved.

As a young man, Ed accepted Christ as his personal Savior. After high school he served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. While in the Navy, he met a beautiful lady, Ethel. On one evening he took her over to the church so he could play the organ for her. The first song he always played was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” After a loving courtship of eight months, they were married on March 7, 1953.

When they returned to Sparta, Ed attended barber school and opened his practice on Courtland Street in Rockford. He made it very clear that there would be no off-colored jokes or cussing in the shop. After 34 years of dedicated service, Ed retired.

He was always playing gospel music. Ed was a man who knew the Lord and walked the walk. He was a lifetime member of Alpine Baptist Church, where he served as Deacon. Ed enjoyed music and played the organ and piano. At special times, his son Jim would play the saxophone while Ed played the organ.

Ed enjoyed preserving his 1943 John Deere M, which was his father’s tractor and now belongs to his son. His daughter Leona would affectionately call her father “Poppy.” Every morning Ed would sit in the sunroom and have quiet time with his devotions.

He is survived by his loving wife, Ethel; his daughter, Leona and William Rusco of Comstock Park; his son, James and Linda Bristol Sr. of Belmont; daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lois Bristol; 11 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren with the much anticipated arrival of one more; his brother, Harold and Faye Ann Bristol; several nieces and nephews. Ed was preceded in death by his son, Edwin Bristol Jr.; brother, Erwin (Shirley) Bristol; and daughter-in-law, Brenda Bristol.

The service of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ for Mr. Bristol was Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Alpine Baptist Church with Pastor Scott Florida officiating. Military honors were under the auspices of the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard with interment in Pine Grove Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the building fund at Alpine Baptist Church.

Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.