Cover photo for Edward R. Addicott's Obituary
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Edward R. Addicott

June 12, 1944 — April 3, 2024

Edward R. Addicott

Edward R. Addicott, a man well traveled and well read; an accomplished civil engineer, patron of the arts, and philanthropist; a farm boy from Ohio whose interests, loves, and spirit led him on far-flung adventures of discovery and awe,  passed away peacefully Wednesday, April 3, at his home in Bratenahl, in the company of family and friends. With courage, grace, and a sense of completion and contentment, his life's journey came to an end at the age of 79.

A kind and gentle soul, he was a member of Mensa, a student of literature and history; a lover of poetry, classical music, and jazz; a proud member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity; and a consummate gentleman.  His tastes in entertainment ran the gamut from the Cleveland Orchestra and Shakespeare to the Marx brothers and the Bowery Boys. 

He is survived by a son, David, currently living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; a sister, Patricia Sullivan, of Warren; stepdaughter Elizabeth Ban Rohring, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and stepson Stephen Ban of Chicago. He is also survived by two nephews, Lee Robertson and Michael Addicott, and nieces Maddie Addicott and Stephanie Hutchinson, as well as numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Clara (nee) Pesquera of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who died in 1994, and his second wife, Gay Cull Addicott, who passed away in 2022. “A wise man will aspire to marry a woman too good for him,” he told friends many times over the years. “I did that twice, and still have no idea how it happened.”

He was also preceded in death by an older brother, David Addicott. Ed was born in 1944 in Warren, Ohio. His father Ralph (deceased), of Williamsfield Ohio, was a steelworker at Republic Steel in Warren. His mother, Mattie (Winstead) Addicott (deceased), of Farnham Virginia, was a registered nurse.

He grew up on a farm in the small, quiet town of Bristolville OH and attended Bristol High School. Nothing especially distinguishing or dramatic about those early years, he recalled, other than the still-unsolved mystery involving the 1958 Halloween night over-turning of the four-seater public outhouse on the town square behind the Methodist church. The culprits were never identified or brought to justice, and the public accommodations were never restored to service. Ed fondly re-told that story over the years, always with a sly smile and a knowing glint in his eye. “No comment” beyond that.

In elementary and high school, he enjoyed reading, and graded well in History and English. But because of an employee benefit that Republic Steel offered for children of employees, he took advantage of aptitude testing and career counseling that led  to something he had never considered and, he would admit, did not fully understand:  civil engineering. So, he applied to and was accepted by the Engineering School at Fenn College in Cleveland (later to become Cleveland State University). It was there that he proceeded on the civil engineering track, but also was able to nurture his interests in the fine arts, classical music, and literature. 

“Unlike any other guy in Engineering,” recalled a fraternity brother and close friend, “he could quote Shakespeare in one moment and then recite dialogue from Marx Brothers movies in the next.”   

He graduated from CSU in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Fifty five years later, in 2023, in gratitude for the launch of a very successful career and in tribute to a faculty mentor, he established and endowed a scholarship fund for civil engineering students at CSU, The Addicott-Harris Scholarship. It was named in part for Ernie Harris, head of the department when Ed was a student. 


After graduation, he remained in Cleveland, first with Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff, then, later, at Euthenics, Inc.  In 1977, he moved to Northern Virginia and took a job in Leesburg with Paciulli, Simmons & Associates, a family-owned and operated engineering firm that traced its business lineage back to 1744.


In 1982, he met his first wife, Clara, an attorney in the U.S. Navy Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C. through the auspices of a fraternity brother and his wife, who also was an attorney in the same Navy office. The couple felt that Ed's and Clara's interests and intellects might be a good match. They were right. They married in 1983 and  welcomed a son, David, in 1987. During those years, they made several trips to visit family and friends in Puerto Rico. Clara died of cancer in 1994. 


In 2006, after a very successful career focused largely on public works and military projects, he retired from Paciulli & Simmons as a partner and part owner. During his 29-year career there, he had lived in Vienna, Balston, Alexandria, and Reston, but decided to move back to Cleveland because “It still felt like home,” he explained. 

In 2008, through another fraternity-related connection, he was introduced to Gay Cull of Hunting Valley, a recent widow prominent and active in Greater Cleveland's cultural and civic circles. 

Like Ed, she had a deep appreciation for classical music and the arts. She and her late second husband Robert Cull, were Life Trustees of the Cleveland Orchestra. She also served on the boards of the Music and Drama Society of Cleveland and of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). 

As patrons and benefactors of CIM and the Orchestra, where they had box seats, Ed and Gay had very similar musical tastes: Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Handel, Chopin. They parted, however, on Johannes Brahms, not a favorite of Ed's.  “What about the Brahms Lullaby,” Gay asked him during a lively discussion of composers on their very first date. “Isn't it absolutely lovely?” she asked. “I don't know,” he dead-panned, “I've never been able to stay awake to hear the whole thing.” They married in 2010.


They were both actively involved in a number of other cultural and philanthropic organizations, including the Holden Arboretum, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. He was also a board member of the charitable Cull Family Foundation. 


In addition to their common interests, they also shared a love of travel, and they had the luxury of time to do so extensively. More than once, they visited the museums, opera houses, and architectural treasures of Rome, Milan, Florence, Sorrento, Capri, Tuscany, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast; and the same kinds of wonders in Giverny, Reims, and Paris, including the Louvre and the Rodin Museum. They also cruised the coasts of Alaska and Maine. But their favorite getaway was the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, where Gay and her late husband had been going for years to escape Ohio winters. At a stunning villa built atop huge boulders, wrapped by sweeping veranda that overlooks Crooks Bay, Ed and Gay could relax, listen to their vast collection of classical music, read, and then take short strolls to nearby beaches and dine at the island's distinctively Caribbean restaurants. Often, immersed in the glow and glory of the morning sun rising above the rocky bay below, they welcomed the day to the soft strains of "Morning Mood"  from  Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt. They especially enjoyed inviting friends from back home to share time with them on the island. And even there, 1,900 miles from Cleveland, both were also huge fans and devout viewers of the TV game show Jeopardy. 

In his earlier days, Ed loved climbing onto whatever motorcycle he fancied at the time –- Honda 450, Triumph Bonneville, BMW  –- and hit the road “looking for adventure” (Steppenwolf). Those treks included the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley; the windswept shores of the Outer Banks; and the cornfields of Kansas en route to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. He even toured central Italy on a motorcycle excursion. With a fellow cyclist and fraternity brother, they rode around the Great Lake of Michigan, across the Mackinac Bridge and into the remote and rugged Upper Peninsula.  On another notable trip, the fraternity brother recalled, Ed agreed to spend one night camping somewhere in a Pennsylvania forest. “It surprised me,” the friend said, “because Ed's idea of roughing it was slow room service.” That night, notable for the unexpected bone-rattling roar and rumble of a very long freight train at 2 a.m., was his last camping trip.   

Recently, after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, he took one last trip to Virgin Gorda where he spent a week with family and friends. He then later traveled to Paris one last time to spend a week with other friends. Whatever life lay ahead of him, he reasoned, was there to be lived with gusto.

Upon learning his life was nearing an unexpected and, sadly, a hurried end, he referred friends to a poem, Requiem, by Robert Louis Stevenson to explain how he felt and how he wanted others to think of him.

“Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

“This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.”

The family wishes to express its gratitude to the staff of the Hospice of the Western Reserve for their professionalism and care during the past few months. 

Ed and his family request that in lieu of flowers that friends consider a contribution in his name to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, 13815 Coit Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106,or the Cleveland Institute of Music ATTN: Development Office 11201 East Blvd Cleveland, OH 44106.  


In memory of Edward R. Addicott, please consider making a donation to one of the following charities:

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