Edward Roy Ponger, 82, passed away Sunday morning, Feb. 12, 2017 in Sarasota, Florida.
He was born on June 22, 1934 in Jersey City, New Jersey, to the late John A. and Martha Kasmarek Ponger. He moved with his family to Bradenton, Florida, as a young boy. Ed graduated from Manatee High School Class of 1952. It is there he met the love of his life, Joyce Ellyn Seese, and was happily married for 62 years.
Ed, as his family and friends referred to him, started his career in the funeral industry at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home. After graduating from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Ed and Joyce moved to Fort Myers, Florida, working for Leo W. Englehardt Funeral Home. In 1960 he had the opportunity to purchase Harold Aber Funeral Home, moving his family to Punta Gorda, Florida, and forming Ponger Funeral Home. In 1974 Ed and Ron Kays merged forming Kays-Ponger Funeral Homes and still remains. In addition to the funeral homes, they built Royal Palm Memorial Gardens and Southeastern Crematory. In 2005 after a brief retirement Ed and his daughter Allyson continue to own and operator Ponger-Kays- Grady Funeral Homes in Arcadia and Wauchula, Florida.
For many years Ed enjoyed bowling, playing golf and coaching slow pitch softball. If you need a lifeline for a quiz show he knew every baseball team, the players and their stats, especially the Cincinnati Reds! Four years ago, Ed moved to Arcadia where he enjoyed taking care of his “little ranch” which to him was a slice of heaven. Feeding the horses, bush hogging the pastures, fixing a fence and trimming a tree was surely a labor of love.
Ed was the past president of following organizations: Punta Gorda Kiwanis Club, Shriner Club, Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, Punta Gorda Housing Authority, Punta Gorda Country Club, Charlotte Co. Scratch Bowling League, SW Bowling Assn. Hall of Fame, member of the Masonic Order and 32nd degree Mason. Co-founder of WFTX Channel 36 in Fort Myers, Florida.
He is survived by his wife Joyce E. Ponger of Arcadia, Florida.; three daughters, Allyson (Douglas) Christ of Arcadia, Florida.; Susan (Jack) Bogardus and Marianne (Tommy) White all of Port Charlotte, Florida.; granddaughter, Jacquelyn (Anthony) Freeman of Arcadia, Florida.; grandsons Erik (Alison) Sheridan of Gulf Cove, Florida, Jason (Michelle) Dill, Tim (Melissa) White, Brett (Morrisa) White all of Punta Gorda, Florida. Great-grandchildren Madyson, Olivia, Trey and Ashton.
A visitation will be held Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Punta Gorda chapel of Kays-Ponger- Uselton Funeral Homes and 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Arcadia chapel of Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Homes.
Funeral services will be Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Arcadia, 1006 N. Brevard Ave., Arcadia with Rev. Ellis Cross, Rev. Charlie Watts and Rev. Matt Clayton officiating.
Burial will follow in Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia.
Online condolences can be made at pongerkaysgrady.com Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Homes, Arcadia are in charge of the arrangements.