Edward K. Asplundh, a community leader who devoted a lifetime of energy and acumen to the utility industry and healthcare philanthropy, died Dec. 31, 2020 at Abington Memorial Hospital. He was 88.
Mr. Asplundh worked for 34 years at the Asplundh Tree Expert Company, a family-owned utility business based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, founded in 1928 by his father Carl Asplundh and uncles Griffith and Lester. Edward Asplundh served as president of the company from 1982 to 1992, when he retired.
“Edward was a passionate leader with a strong business ethic. He always remembered how our family values would positively guide the entire company,” said Scott Asplundh, current Chairman and CEO of ATE on Friday.
Mr. Asplundh also spent 29 years serving on various boards at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pennsylvania, including raising $20 million for nursing scholarships for the Dixon School of Nursing. He was elected to the Abington Memorial Hospital Board in 2001, where he served 19 years, and was vice chair 2003-2004 and chair 2004-2007. In 2002, Mr. Asplundh chaired the hospital’s five-year “Building on the Best” campaign, raising $50 million to build a new wing for the hospital.
“It's impossible to adequately put into words what Ed has meant to Abington, “ said Jill Kyle, senior vice president for regional advancement at Abington-Jefferson Health on Friday. “His generous contributions to our safety and quality program will make a difference for many decades to come. He was a kind and gentle leader who cared deeply. He was so beloved and will be missed by the entire hospital family.”
Mr. Asplundh was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1932, to Emilie Kessel Asplundh and Carl H. Asplundh of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania who were members of the Church of the New Jerusalem, a religion based on the writings of the 17th century theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg. Mr. Asplundh grew up In Bryn Athyn and attended church schools, including the Academy of the New Church.
Mr. Asplundh supported New Church schools and local hospitals including Abington, Doylestown Hospital, Holy Redeemer Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia during his many years as chair of the Asplundh Foundation Board. He also formed ABG Partners with two other successful childhood friends, Dick Brickman of Florida and Howard Gurney of Michigan, providing business advice and venture capital to young New Church entrepreneurs.
“Ed and I were great friends for more than 70 years,” said Mr. Brickman. “And what we mostly talked about and worked toward was improving the organization of the General Church and the New Church Schools. Ed was fascinated by and dedicated to that purpose for the last 25 years of his life.”
Mr. Asplundh graduated with a degree in accounting from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania in 1954, also serving in the Air Force ROTC during his years at university. He entered the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lt. in January 1955. He flew as an Air Force pilot out of bases in Tucson, Arizona, San Angelo, Texas and Dover, Delaware. After leaving the Air Force in 1958, Mr. Asplundh continued to fly privately into his late 70s.
“One of the greatest passions of my life has been aviation, “ Mr. Asplundh wrote in a memoir published in 2012. “From age 16 to 80, I flew many different airplanes and met many wonderful people. The happiest days of my life were spent as a pilot in the United States Air Force, serving my country and doing what I loved: a wonderful combination.”
A resident of Palm Beach, Florida, Mr. Asplundh and his wife of 66 years, Gwendolyn McQueen Asplundh, also maintained homes in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania and Boothbay Harbor, Maine. He and his wife loved the Boothbay region and supported the Harbor Theater.
Mr. Asplundh is survived by a sister, Emily Jane Lemole; a brother, Carl Asplundh Jr.; his wife, Gwendolyn; four daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Mr. Asplundh passed away after a brief hospitalization, following an extended fight with coronary artery disease.
A private funeral service will be held on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 3:45 p.m.
Those wishing to view the service are welcome to live stream it at https://boxcast.tv/view/memorial-service-for-edward-asplundh-943631. A recording will also be available for later viewing.
A celebration of Edward Asplundh’s life will be held for all family and friends later in 2021.