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Sep 11, 2013

R.I.P. Former Racer, AMA Hall Of Famer Ed Kretz,. Jr.

Edward Lawrence Kretz, Jr., died suddenly of congestive heart failure on Sunday, September 9, 2013, while on a short motorcycle ride. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 60 years, Elaine; daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Clint Milazo; granddaughters and husbands, Robin and Jeremy Miller, Michelle and Chris Swofford, Holly Milazo, Nicole Milazo; great-granddaughter, Abigail Marie Miller; and sister and husband, Donna and Ed Forstall, niece, nephews, many cherished relatives and countless friends. Eddie was born on May 3, 1932 in Pomona, California to Irene and Edward Kretz, Sr. He grew up in Monterey Park, California, and had a successful career there as co-owner of Ed Kretz and Son motorcycle shop for over 40 years. After he retired, Ed and Elaine moved to Colorado to be close to their daughter and her family.

His stories were endless and his jokes legendary. No one was a stranger to him as he made friends so quickly. While he may be most remembered for his motorcycle accomplishments, his greatest love and commitment was to his family. His generosity was endless and his love ran deep. He selflessly cared for his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife at home for many years before having to finally place her in an assisted living home this past July. He would visit her almost daily, bringing toys to entertain her and the other residents. He loved to dance and make people smile and would get Elaine and the other ladies up to join him. Her disease is quite advanced so her doctors and family have requested that nothing be said to her about his death. She would be devastated and then not remember why.

Eddie had many accomplishments and many things to be proud of, but the thing that he was most proud of was his family. When he was 29 years old, he welcomed his first and only child, Cindy, which he loved and cherished. He was always so proud of her and her accomplishments, especially his four granddaughters that she and her husband Clint gave to him in the 1980’s. He was a very devoted and loving dad and grandpa, and recently, great-grandpa. He was so excited to be at the hospital for the birth of his first great-grandchild last December. His face would light up whenever he would see her and he enjoyed many fun times with her. His selflessness was also exhibited by his long-term commitment to volunteering at the University of Colorado Cancer Center where he was known and loved by patients and staff alike. He was affectionately known as “The Candy Man,” because he also would always bring bags of candy

Eddie followed in his Dad’s footsteps in his love of motorcycle racing. He won many state and national titles, including winning the 1955 Peoria TT National, plus top off-road finishes at Catalina and Big Bear, as well as being the Pacific Coast TT Champion three times. He stopped racing after his daughter was born because he was watching so many of his friends get killed on the track and wanted to make sure that he was always there for his family. He was inducted into the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002; was inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2012; received the Trailblazers’ top honor, the Dick Hammer Award, in 2013. He loved showing off his many prized “keepers,” an extensive collection of bikes and memorabilia. He was the Ultimate Motorcycle Enthusiast and an incredible individual that will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.