Edward Anthony Kaschins, professor emeritus

Winter 2018 (January 13, 2018)

Edward Anthony Kaschins, age 78, died peacefully on Nov. 1, 2017, from complications of cancer at Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Marys Campus in Rochester, Minn., surrounded by his wife Elizabeth and sons, Edward and John.

His family greeted friends at a Celebratory Reception on Nov.19, in the Fellowship Hall of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. The memorial service was Nov. 20, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church with Pastor Amy (Zalk) Larson ‘96 and Pastor Marion Pruitt-Jefferson officiating. Organist was Brooke Joyce, and music was provided by the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Choir and Band. A luncheon followed in the Fellowship Hall. The family suggests memorials be directed to Luther College, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Ed was born on March 5, 1939, in Chicago, the only child of Allyce and Anthony Kaschins. After high school graduation in 1956, he enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he first attempted a chemical engineering major but ultimately earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and economics in 1961. Ed married Elizabeth, a recent Northwestern University graduate he met on a double blind date, on June 23, 1962, at Randolph Heights Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, Minn. He pursued graduate studies in economics with the goal of becoming a college teacher, first earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1964.

In the summer of 1965, the late Warren Berg ‘48, chair of the Economics, Accounting, and Management Department, introduced Ed and Elizabeth to Luther College and Decorah. In the fall, Ed and Elizabeth moved from Chicago to Decorah and Ed began his college teaching career. After teaching for two years, Ed left to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Iowa, earning his Ph.D. degree in 1973. Like his master’s paper, his dissertation focused on Karl Marx’s theory of economic crises.

While pursuing his Ph.D., Ed was invited to return to the Luther faculty in the fall of 1970, thus beginning his love affair with Luther College and Decorah. He served as chair of the Department of Economics and Business from 1987-1999 and was the first recipient of the Dahl Chair in Economics, which he held from 1994-2004. Ed retired in May 2004 as an emeritus professor of economics. During his thirty-six years on the faculty, he was an involved presence on campus and deeply invested in the lives of his students - in his classrooms, on the athletic fields and courts, and in campus concert halls and theatres.

Ed was known for his sense of humor. No doubt, many were on the receiving end of his jokes and muttered barbs; his sons inherited this quality. His hobby was being the quintessential superfan: A lifelong Chicago White Sox fan, later adopting the Cubs; an ever-present supporter of Luther’s men’s and women’s athletic teams and performing arts ensembles; Decorah High School co-curricular activities; and his son’s endeavors. He was proud of completing two of Duluth’s Grandma’s Marathons and several shorter races during his jogging-running years. Two of Ed’s favorite places and times were spending summer months with his family and summer friends at their rustic cabin in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado and winter times in the Ocean Beach community of San Diego.

In 1971, after settling into life in Decorah, Ed and Elizabeth became members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He also joined the Decorah Rotary Club, Oneota Golf and Country Club, the Norse Athletic Association, and became an on-stage member of New Minowa Players. As an undergraduate, Ed was an enthusiastic member of the national social fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi; in his professional life he was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society.

After his initial cancer diagnosis in 2010, Ed came under the care of many in the medical and surgical specialties of Mayo Clinic and its hospitals, as well as the Decorah Clinic, Winneshiek Medical Center, and Team Rehab. Ed’s family is grateful for the expert and compassionate care he and they experienced during these past seven years. He also was blessed with support, love, and prayers of his pastors and friends; his family is grateful and sustained by them, now. 

Ed is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Elizabeth; two sons, Edward J. of Boulder, Colo., and John A. of Minneapolis, and brother-in-law Lewis Wenzell, San Diego. He was preceded in death by an infant son, Edward Lewis; his parents Allyce and Anthony Kaschins; his mother-in-law Elizabeth McKinnon; and stepfather-in-law Claire McKinnon.

It was Ed's wish to be cremated; his eyes were donated to the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank.

Ed Kaschins