Edward Alexander Haddad
Edward Alexander Haddad of Orlando, Florida died peacefully at home on February 3, 2022 of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ed was born October 11, 1942 in Willimantic, Connecticut to Edward L. Haddad and Virginia Bonney Haddad and grew up in Coventry. He earned his engineering degree from the University of Connecticut and upon graduating, married the love of his life, Mary McSweeney. After college, Ed began working at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton. His career there spanned more than thirty years. His work supported the Apollo space program, as well as the U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet.
A musical prodigy, Ed mastered the piano at an early age. He delighted audiences throughout his life with beautiful renditions of all types of music from classical, jazz and big band to bossa nova, show tunes and spirituals. A consummate performer, Ed was born to be on stage. His endeavors ranged from community theater in Connecticut to opera chorus in Orlando. His starring roles included playing the lead in the musical Finian’s Rainbow and he forged many friendships through his acting career. In his later years, he maintained his flair for the dramatic by becoming a medical actor in training videos.
Ed loved to travel and spent many happy years embarking on adventures and cruises with Mary. He took his family on much-anticipated annual vacations to Florida, beginning just after Disney World opened, before retiring in Orlando. He was just as eager to host his many friends at his home in Florida. He grandly titled it “Club Ed” and had robes and t-shirts printed with the logo to delight his guests.
Ed enjoyed classic cars and could rattle off the year and model of an automobile at a glance. Growing up in the 1950s and experiencing a year living in California as a boy left an indelible impression on him. He loved the music of the Beach Boys and always associated the sun with happy times. He loved dogs and endeared himself to his Orlando neighborhood by his habit of walking or biking with pockets full of dog treats.
Ed refused to be sidelined by the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. He furthered scientific research by participating in drug trials and behavioral studies. He joined multiple support groups and pilot programs, such as the Orlando Museum of Art’s series “Art’s the Spark”. He encouraged and comforted his friends who lost spouses to the disease or were suffering from it. Ed has been an inspiration to many, including the local chapter of the Old Coots Giving Advice in Oviedo, Florida. His gift for what is charitably known as chutzpah made him a perfect fit!
Ed was a dedicated member of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Orlando. His faith brought him lifelong comfort and hope. He served as the requested singer for many of his fellow parishioners’ life events.
Ed loved to laugh, dance and socialize. He was the life of every party he attended and the many he threw. To quote one of his favorite musicals, “What good is sitting alone in your room? Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret!”
Ed is survived by his beloved wife Mary, daughter Betsy of Oviedo, FL, son Rob of Middletown, NJ, brother Thomas of Whitefield, ME and his five cherished grandchildren, Megan, Garrison, Emily, Justin, and Christian.
A Memorial service will be held on February 19th at 2:00 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 26 Willow Drive Orlando, FL 32807, with reception to follow. Burial of ashes will be in the Haddad family plot in Willimantic, CT in June. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UCF Foundation, Inc. for the Edward Haddad Memorial M.D. Scholarship (https://foundation.ucf.edu/haddad) or to Alzheimers & Dementia Resource Center, 1410 Gene St., Winter Park, FL 32789.
Ed was very active in LIFE, including serving a two-year term as our President nearly 20 years ago. As president, he was not just an "officer", but a leader and coordinator. We fondly remember him introducing a wooden train whistle, as his way of calling the class to order.
One thing that places him in historical perspective is that he was President when we signed our first "partnership agreement" with UCF. As a unique program nationally, we were a private 501C3 which was NOT run by UCF, but rather was in a mutually beneficial partnership. The idea of a partnership was so well understood by both UCF and LIFE that for the first 13 years of our operation that we didn't put it in writing. LIFE was run completely by the volunteer members and did so for another 14 years until we had grown so large that we hired a "part-time" administrator who served to coordinate the volunteers and student assistants, and provide continuing leadership.
It was under Ed's leadership that we started a competitive grants program for faculty and their students, and now with the addition of the applied gerontology research program, LIFE has now donated more than $600,00 to our partner, UCF.
When the College of Medicine opened 12 years ago, Ed was one of the first ones to volunteer as an "actor/patient" to help the students with their clinical skills, and continued in that role for many years.
Ed served on many committees but he also willingly shared his beautiful voice and extraordinary piano playing with the members, as well as the senior living communities. On a very personal note, we were fortunate to live next to Betsy in Oviedo for many years, and always looked forward to Ed and Mary's visits with Ed's piano playing, along with very talented Betsy's voice.
Even after Ed was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, he continued to share his artistry by playing the piano for his fellow LIFE members during our 30 minutes break between morning classes.
I'm pleased that his obituary also noted that Ed started a support group for LIFE members who also were dealing with the challenges of dementia, and provided much education about how much could be done, especially in the early stages of this progressive disease. Ed led by example.
We will miss Ed but we look forward to Mary continuing her membership to remind us of all that Ed has meant to LIFE alt UCF.
We extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Ed. He loved life to the core and wouldn't waste away a moment of it. With the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, it didn't surprise us to learn Ed was determined to turn a negative outcome into a positive one by assisting others who were also plagued by this disease. We fondly remember get togethers at your S. Windham home, Mary, with Ed at the piano leading a sing-a-long. One memorable occasion was when the two of you hosted a murder mystery dinner party. Acting came naturally to Ed so he was in his own element. Sensing this wasn't exactly everyone's forte, he helped the less skilled guests to relax allowing us to enjoy the "who-done-it" event. Ed was indeed a very special person. His intellect, wit and charming personality put him above the norm. Bravo to a life well lived! The healing for your loss with be a laborious journey, but we hope small milestones along the road will be achieved. You're a strong family and that strength will help you see each other through the dark times. We wish you peace in the days ahead as you adjust to Ed's absence in your lives. We honor Ed's memory with a donation to the Edward Haddad Memorial M.D. Scholarship.
Fondly, Carol and Michael Rice