Homer gathers for police officer's final call
Homer police officer Ed Stading, honored at a memorial Saturday after his recent death from cancer, was known in the community as the officer you didn't want to mess with.
"I remember working with him in Barrow," said Lt. Joseph Gamache with Anchorage's Airport Police and Fire. "I watched him pick up men like they were babies, run through walls and fences. He got things in order pretty quick."
Stading was also the man who would do anything for anyone.
"He'd always ask, 'Is there anything I can do for you?'" Gamache said. "It didn't matter who you were, he wanted to help."
In the 1990s, Gamache and Stading worked on the North Slope together. In 2004, Stading and his wife Robanne moved to Homer.
"He moved to Homer with his wife while still working on the Slope," Gamache said. "He knew he wanted to eventually work in Homer and finally when an opening was available there; he applied and got the job. He was pretty happy."
Stading started working for the Homer Police Department in 2005. This fall, Stading was working towards retirement with plans to spend more time with his kids Clara, Alexander and Anastasia.
"He loved those kids," said HPD Investigator Jim Knott. "He'd pull out there pictures any chance he had. He'd talk about them all the time. He loved his kids and his wife Robanne. He pretty much did most of the talking."
On Valentine's Day of this year, Ed's future plans would drastically change. Just months before, Ed noticed he was more short of breath than normal. A visit to his doctor revealed news he wasn't expecting.
"My doctor told me, 'The good news is you don't have kidney stones; the bad news is you have kidney cancer,'" he told KTVA in May. "We decided to be aggressive with it and got started immediately."
Ed was sent to the Fred Hutch Center in Seattle. He was initially given about two weeks to live, but after months of intensive treatment there were signs of progress.
Ed's story touched so many people including friends of his wife.
"I'm part of a police wives Facebook page and shared what I was going through," Robanne Stading said. "Immediately a woman from Kansas and another from New York started the #StadingStrong page with different themes each week for Ed. It was pretty amazing and we both were quite humbled."
In August, Ed made it back to Homer. He was greeted at the Homer Airport with a full lobby of friends and family members.
"Even some people Ed had arrested before were there," Robanne said. "It was a pretty special day."
Three weeks after Ed returned home, on Sept. 3, he passed away.
"The cancer came back with a vengeance," Robanne said.
Ed's house of worship, Glacierview Baptist Church, held his memorial service Saturday, followed by a barbecue and a police-escorted procession down the Homer Spit to the Seafarer's Memorial. At the memorial, Ed wife and his three children spread some of his ashes. Ed also received his final call from the Homer Police Department.
"Officer Edward John Stading...is cleared from his final tour of duty," a dispatcher's voice echoed through police two-way speakers. "Thank you for your service."
Ed Stading will be remembered as an amazing teacher. He loved guns and teaching people how to properly use them. He loved his church and would have loved the sight of seeing so many of his coworkers at his memorial.
"It's very humbling," said Ed's brother, Lloyd Stading said. "I'm grateful to see the turnout. Ed always did everything 100 percent."
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