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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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August 18, 2010

'Fast Eddie' Soistman dies in car accident

Edward C. “Fast Eddie” Soistman, 91, lay minister of St. John Lutheran Church, Winter Park, Fla., was killed in an early-morning automobile collision Monday after leaving his home to make a hospital visit.

Soistman was featured in the February issue of “The Lutheran” magazine: “Meet ‘Fast Eddie’: He’ll give you cookies, communion and a $2 bill.” Until last year, when Soistman’s official status became “retired,” he was the oldest active associate in ministry on ELCA records.
    
At age 55 Soistman retired from a 36-year career at Martin Marietta Corp. (now Lockheed Martin) to work at his church for no pay. Within 15 minutes of his Martin Marietta retirement lunch he was making the first of some 1,600 hospital calls he logged that first year of ministry.
    
Soistman left his home at 5:30 Monday morning for yet another hospital call to pray with a member awaiting surgery. After pulling out of his driveway and onto a nearby street, his car was struck by a sheriff’s deputy car.
    
In 2009 the Florida-Bahamas Synod and the community designated Feb. 22 “Eddie Soistman Day.” Walt Disney World presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, calling him “a spiritual beacon to generations of Walt Disney World cast members and guests.” In more than 28 years, Soistman conducted 220 worship services at Disney.

Soistman was known for the $2 bills he gave away with John 3:16 written on them (in memory of his wife Dorothy “Dot”). Sometimes the bills were taped to a copy of Luther’s Small Catechism. He said his secret for a long, active life was massage, pedicure and an occasional beer: “It’s OK to have a good time... in moderation.”

In an envelope Soistman had left to be opened after his death were the instructions: "Celebrate and have a great time."

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