Ed Kujawa's drum corps career started in the early '60s when he joined the Murray Hose Company No. 4 Drum and Bugle Corps in his hometown of Dunkirk, NY. He was a drummer and also a volunteer firefighter—when he became old enough. This corps largely evolved into the Dunkirk Patriots in the late '60s, a field corps that competed in RCA (Red Carpet Association). This is where I met him in 1971: we marched together briefly: he was a seasoned drummer, and I was a rookie baritone player.
He then joined the Rochester Crusaders where he made many friends and acquaintances, and after that he returned to march with the resurrected Murray Hose Company No 4. Then in 1977, after I had gotten out of the Air Force, I ran into him at a Memorial Day parade, and we have been great friends ever since.
During the late '70s Ed judged percussion with the Great Lakes Judging Association: field shows for RCA as well as parades.
In the early '80s he, along with his brother Jack, arranged for and taught the percussion section of the Dunkirk Patriots Drum and Bugle Corps, now a parade corps. He also marched in the snare line, drove the truck and built the drums the corps couldn't otherwise afford.
At that time I was playing mallet percussion with the Rochester Crusaders: Ed had introduced me to the Crusaders' staff and encouraged me to make the move. Eventually I landed up running the bingo games, the casino nights and driving the truck. In 1984 I called Ed and screamed for help. Even though he lived more than 100 miles away, Ed immediately volunteered to drive the Crusaders' truck and recruited a group of volunteers to handle the equipment and line the practice fields. He also came up to work casino nights and occasional special bingo games. Additionally he cooked for the corps, built props, repaired instruments, trucks, buses, tractors and just about everything else including people: he was and EMT. He stayed with the Crusaders in all these capacities until 1993 when he moved to Las Vagas to take a better job.
Ed returned to upstate New York about 5 years ago. He did the percussion arrangements for the Johnsonburg, Penn. Grey Knights and then did the same for the Western New York Alumi Drum and Bugle Corps in addition to driving their equipment truck.
He did whatever was needed for whatever corps he was with. Every corps should be lucky enough to have an Ed Kujawa on their staff.
Services will be held on Thursday, February 21 from 6 to 8pm at the Newman Funeral Home,
201 S Zebra St, Dunkirk, NY 14048: (716) 366-5333