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Longtime Portage councilman, Ed Gottschling, dies at age 90

World War II veteran Ed Gottschling salutes while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during a Veterans Day ceremony in 2012. Gottschling, 90, who served on the Portage City Council for 16 years and was active in a myriad of organizations, died Monday.

Times, file

PORTAGE — Longtime City Councilman Ed Gottschling died Monday at the age of 90.

Gottschling served on the Portage City Council for 16 years, 10 as president. He most recently served on the city's Board of Works and was active in several organizations.

"There is just going to be a huge hole in the community because he was so involved in everything," said City Council member Sue Lynch, D-at-large, who also attended church with Gottschling. "He put his whole heart into everything he did."

Both Lynch and fellow City Council member Liz Modesto, D-1st, considered Gottschling their mentor.

Modesto recalled the first time she met Gottschling, 40 to 45 years ago, when her husband was on strike from a local steel mill. Gottschling worked as an interviewer for the township trustee's office. He came to the house to make sure they would qualify for assistance.

"When he left, he pulled a $20 bill out of his wallet and said to get the kids some food with it," she said, adding she never forgot that act of kindness.

Both Lynch and Modesto said Gottschling also could be stubborn and not easily swayed. He would do his homework on an issue before it came before the council.

"He never agreed with everybody for the sake of agreeing. He always spoke his mind. He was honest and gave his honest opinion. He also questioned things," Lynch said. "He was immersed in the community and had a great love for his family."

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary, said, "I will remember Ed as a good friend and one of the kindest individuals I have ever met. He will remain the epitome of what all sincere public servants should strive to be. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

Portage Mayor James Snyder, who appointed Gottschling to the Board of Works several years ago, said on Tuesday, "Portage lost a friend and a servant yesterday. Ed was truly a part of the greatest generation and Portage was blessed to have him."

Gottschling served four full terms on the council and was defeated in the Democratic primary in May 2011. He was also an elder at St. Peter Lutheran Church; a World War II veteran; active with Portage American Legion Post 260 and Portage Exchange Club; and served on the Porter County Aging and Community Service Corp., The Governor's Commission on Aging and State Legislative Committee for AARP.

Funeral services are pending.

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Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for more than 38 years, including 23 years with The Times. She covers municipal and school government in Valparaiso and Portage.