Ed Staiger, longtime Northsider and former president of the Northside chapter of Parents Without Partners, would’ve been 79 in March.
By Katia Faroun
The life of the party. Passionate about people. A team player and a leader. A life saver.
This is how friends and family describe Ed Staiger, a Northside resident of 50 years and active member of the community. He was involved in the Northside Elks Club, Teutonia Männerchor, the Masons, the Democratic Party, and was the president of the Northside chapter of Parents Without Partners (PWP). His love for people and his dedication to helping them made him unforgettable for those whose lives he impacted.
Staiger, who would’ve been 79 in March, died on December 27, 2019. He left behind him a community changed by his devotion to helping the people in it and bringing a smile to their faces.
“He was very passionate about people,” Greg White, a friend of Staiger’s, wrote in a letter to The Northside Chronicle. “Part of his nature was to help people in all walks of life.”
One of the staples of Staiger’s life was his involvement with PWP. An international nonprofit devoted to the welfare and interests of single parents and their children, Staiger found help from the organization during his divorce, and stuck with it to help others, including White. Staiger and White met in 1992, when the organization held meetings at the Northside Elks Club. White was going through his own divorce at the time, and Staiger quickly became his best friend.
“He was there as a friend, someone to talk to. He shared his stories, so I related to him. He related to me,” White said.
Founded in 1957 in New York City, PWP provides single parents with an environment of support, friendship, and the exchange of parenting techniques. The organization offers educational, family, and social activities for members and their children. Since Staiger and White’s involvement, the Northside chapter of the organization has dissolved, but left behind a local chapter in Monroeville.
At PWP, Staiger was known for being a jokester. He never failed to make people laugh, from his constant jokes and quips to his roles in numerous skits. White shared that once at an old restaurant with friends, Staiger’s chair slipped and he fell with his head landing on a bench. From the floor, he immediately quipped, “Well, who ordered John the Baptist?”
Staiger also loved to dress up. Aside from his usual suit and hat with the staple boutonniere on his left lapel, Staiger was known for impersonating Dolly Parton; he performed in front of the PWP group, wig and all, and had some runs as the organization’s Santa Claus.
“He loved to perform. All 270 pounds of him — he would dress in a bikini and lip sync the songs and dance in front of the people there in the Elks Club … people were just rolling in the aisle,” White recalled.
Staiger was dedicated to helping people in the Northside. He lived above his accounting business, called Staiger Accounting, and would do taxes for free for those who couldn’t afford to pay him. He would also receive visitors from Light of Life Rescue Mission who would stop by his office to chat, and would give them food or money if they needed it.
“People on the street would be stopping him,” White said. “He just knew everybody in the Northside.”
Staiger has three daughters who live in the Pittsburgh area. He was able to visit them on occasional Sundays for dinner, when he could see his eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He never met his ninth great-grandchild, who was born at the end of May.
Staiger spent the last few days of his life with his daughters, living in the home of Jan Lang, his eldest. He spent his last Christmas with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, dressed as Santa, before passing away two days later.
Staiger’s friends and family planned on having a celebration of life on his birthday, March 31, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced them to postpone the event indefinitely. His loved ones have arranged for people close to him to purchase memorial stones made with Staiger’s ashes, with all proceeds going to the Light of Life Rescue Mission.
“We wanted to give everyone the chance to say goodbye or keep a piece of Ed with them forever,” Lang said.
Donations can be made to the Light of Life Rescue Mission in memory of Ed Staiger. Requests for a memorial stone can be sent to email@example.com.