Edward Earl Tourje, 78, of Herrick Twp. and a prominent Forest City businessman, died Monday October 12th at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, New York City. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Mary Krush.
Born in Carbondale, son of the late Earl and Jessie Osgood Tourje, he was an associate member of the Aldenville Baptist Church. He was a graduate of Forest City High School Class of 1960 and the Southern Technical University, Marietta, GA. Edward was a veteran of the United States Air Force, and a member of the American Legion Post 524, Forest City. Edward had a long and successful career at the family owned NEP Telephone Company, Forest City; he served as President of the company until his retirement in 2007, and was currently Chairman of the Board of Directors. He oversaw the expansion of the phone company as they added internet, cable and wireless services to their customer base. Edward enjoyed providing a service to his community and never missed a day of work up until his recent illnesses. He was a lifetime member of the Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania Telephone Association, where he served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1984 to 2007. He also served as the Small Company Chairman and three terms as Chairman of the Board. He was awarded the Distinguished Member Award by the organization in recognition of his work to open dialogue and work towards a compromise position to benefit both large and small PTA members. Edward’s work was instrumental in the implementation of the Pennsylvania Universal Service Fund, which reduced access charges and toll rates for telephone customers, an effort that was recognized industry wide.
Edward was a very philanthropic member of the community, belonging to many civic minded organizations and volunteering at many fundraisers and assisting with many fundraising drives. He was a member of the Mount Hermon Lodge 472 of the Free and Accepted Masons, Union Dale, where he served as Past Master and Past District Deputy Grand Master. He was a member and former President of both the Forest City Lions Club and the Upper Woods Hunting Club. He was also a member of the Forest City Historical Society; and he served as a member of the Susquehanna County Planning Commission and the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority. Edward was honored by the community when he was named the Forest City Distinguished Citizen in 1996.
Edward’s favorite hobby and activity was the time he spent with his antique cars. He could often be found tinkering with his cars in his garage. Ed, along with his son Steven, were long time participants in the Great Race, the Vintage Car Rally Association, and the Northeast Rally Club.
In addition to his wife Mary, he is also survived by a daughter: Tracey Vetter and husband Paul, Wall, NJ; a son: Steven Tourje and wife Marcy, Wrighter Lake, PA; a granddaughter: Ainsley Vetter; a step grandson: Scot Wasilchak, Jr. and companion Ashley Mecca; a step granddaughter: Maddie Wasilchak; and several nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by a sister: Claribel Todd; and a brother: Bernard DeArmond.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services will be private with interment with military honors in Meyers Cemetery, Herrick Center. A celebration of Ed’s life will be held in the spring. Arrangements by the Jones & Brennan Funeral Home, 430 Main Street, Forest City.
Memorial donations may be made to the Forest City Library, 531 Main St., Forest City, PA 18421 or the Meyers Cemetery Association, C/O Charles Barnes PO Box 88, White Mills, PA 18473.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Edward Earl Tourje, please visit our floral store.
Forest City Library
531 Main Street, Forest City PA 18421
Meyers Cemetery Association
c/o Charles Barnes PO BOX 88, White Mills PA 18473