OBITUARY

Edward G. Bulka

May 15, 1930September 18, 2013

Colonel Edward George Bulka, USAF, Retired

Edward George Bulka, Col. USAF, Ret., born May 15, 1930, to Lithuanian immigrants, Kajatanas and Ana Bulka, in Chicago, Illinois, died September 18, 2013, in Birmingham, Alabama. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Norma Jean Chamlee Bulka, and his older brother, Ray. Edd’s early education was at Tilden Technical High School, and he graduated with a B.A. from DePaul University in Chicago. Upon graduating from DePaul, Edd joined the Air Force in 1951 as an Airman. After basic training, he was chosen to attend Officers Candidate School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. From OCS, he went through pilot training, ultimately flying 17 different types of aircraft, ranging from the T-6 through the supersonic F-106. He volunteered for Vietnam in 1969 in order to fly the A-1 Skyraider. Edd said flying the A-1 was actively flying, not just monitoring the sophisticated computer systems on the fighter jets. He flew a total of 214 combat missions. Edd made the Air Force his career and retired as a full Colonel with 32 years of service. Edd’s life was never dull. He was stationed at 20 bases including being Base Commander of Lackland Air Force Base from 1977-1979. While serving in Vietnam from 1969-1970, he was awarded the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. Edd said his Vietnam experience was the most satisfying of all in his career: the mission was meaningful, the camaraderie intense and real, and the close association with the Rangers was humbling. He admired them and often quoted their motto: “You have not lived until you have almost died.” In Edd’s words, “I have had a great ride….” After retiring from the Air Force, Edd did not slow down. He worked in several small businesses, was very active in the Montgomery Lions Club, served as an officer of the Montgomery Ballet, the Southeast Regional Ballet Association, and the VFW. Edd loved to play golf and enjoyed his weekly poker games with his buddies. In 2011 he attended the A-1 Skyraider pilots’ reunion in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, wearing his flight suit proudly. Edd enjoyed being outside sunning himself and he loved a daily glass of “red wine you can’t see through.” While reminiscing recently, Edd repeated that he did have a great ride, not only with his active service in the Air Force, but also with his family and friends. His four children were born on different AF bases, the youngest while he was in Vietnam, and he recognized the difficulty they had moving from base to base and school to school. He always gave credit to his wife, Norma, for holding the family together. Edd said that service people became very familiar with the old adage that the two best assignments in the world were the one you just left and the one you are going to. Edd has just gone to his last assignment. Edd leaves behind to cherish his memory his beloved children: Mark Bulka, Portland, Oregon; Michelle Geyer, San Antonio, Texas, and her two children, Nicholas and Jessica, his grandchildren; Allison (Alley) Bulka, Birmingham, Alabama, and Christopher Bulka and his partner Andrew Hebbeler, Washington, DC. He also is survived by his brother, Peter Bulka, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who always knew how to cheer Edd up; his “sister,” Jane Jamison, his confidante and dear friend; his nieces and nephews, and Godson, Michael Jamison. He leaves many, many friends. Colonel Edward G. Bulka will be laid to rest, along with his wife Norma, on January 08, 2014 at 11:00 AM, at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, you may honor Edd with donations to the Lions Club, Wounded Warriors, or a charity of your choice.

Services

  • Graveside Service Wednesday, January 8, 2014
REMEMBERING

Edward G. Bulka

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Jennifer Formell

January 9, 2014

Today (8 Jan) I met the Bulka family. Thank you for the opportunity to pay my respects to amazing parents. Thank you for sharing both of them with the Air Force.
Rest easy, Col Bulka…we've got the watch.
--Maj Formell

December 5, 2013

My brother Edd and I had a great and adventuresome childhood...Growing up on the South Side of. Chicago...We played in the many City parks...swam in many ponds and lagoons....We played in the railroad yards and hitched rides on the boxcars.
We enjoyed many a Saturday matinee in our favorite neighborhood theater.
We enjoyed playing sports and we played "kick the can".."three feet off the mud puddle" "hide and seek"...and many other games that youngsters do not play today.
We spent our summers outdoors and our winters in school.
Everyday was an adventure..we never had any money or needed any money...We cooked potatoes in the ground..... when we could get some and what a delicacy that was.
We were so fortunate to have the parents we had...they instilled so much knowledge of right and wrong and to respect life in general.
It was no surprise to me that my brother EDD was decorated for GALLENTRY as we lived our lives to the fullest....he was my hero.
I miss my brother...very much.....Love Peter B. (Indianapolis Indiana)

Diane Christy

December 4, 2013

He was "Edwardo" to me - a friend, mentor, business colleague and occasional co-conspirator. There were uncounted hours spent watching Montgomery Ballet rehearsals with him and Norma. Always a joy to be around. A man of courage and unquestioned integrity. And an amazing seamster (or whatever the masculine version of seamstress would be).

Ron Joullian

December 3, 2013

Sorry to hear of your loss Alley!

Edie Moore

December 3, 2013

Dear Ally and family, So sorry to read of the passing of your grandfather. He was blessed with an amazing and adventurous life, few of us can say that. May you all rejoice in a life well lived. Love and God bless, Edie Moore

alley bulka

December 3, 2013

I miss him so much... He was my good friend as well as my father. We traveled together, spent time everyday either on the phone or visiting. He was the silliest and most unique man I have ever known....ox

<Michelle Geyer

December 3, 2013

My daddy told me I could be whatever I wanted...he instilled a positive mental attitude in me...he wouldn't ask a question he did not want to know the answer to...he grounded me whenever I would give him a reason for being late if he did not ask for one (cuz he believed it was "rehearsed")...he was an awesome grandfather to my kids. I miss him and mom so much.

Alley Bulka

December 3, 2013

This is my dad. He was a stern, kind man when I was growing up and a goofy, silly and eccentric old man when I became an adult...I cannot express adequately how much his absence in my life affects me daily. I miss him beyond comprehension. I am so grateful he is no longer dealing with his cancer and left on his terms..oxox I love you daddy...

Judy Nolan

October 7, 2013

Uncle Ed will be remembered always in my mind. My family and Uncle Ed and Aunt Norma were in Alaska together for 5 years in the USAF. He was always there for us and we could depend on them. He was my only uncle to serve in the military, and will always be missed.

FROM THE FAMILY