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Little League Mourns the Passing of Ed Piszek, Little League Foundation Trustee

Edward J. Piszek

Edward J. Piszek, who so loved his Polish heritage and recognized the need to nurture Poland’s future generations that he facilitated the growth of Little League in the former Soviet Bloc country, passed away March 28 at his home in Fort Washington, Pa. He was 87.

The founder of Mrs. Paul’s frozen foods, Mr. Piszek’s personal investments were large and varied, but none matched the investments he made in the people of Poland. Steeped in the rich heritage of his native land, Mr. Piszek’s philanthropic endeavors following the end of the cold war most benefited the young people of Poland.

As a trustee of the Little League Foundation since 1995, Mr. Piszek was the driving force behind the development of the Little League Baseball European Leadership Training Center in Kutno, Poland, which also houses Little League’s European region headquarters. On the complex are two baseball fields, including Edward J. Piszek Stadium, where each summer it is decided which country will represent the continent of Europe as that region’s champion at the annual Little League World Series held each August in Williamsport, Pa.

In his years of service to Little League, Mr. Piszek saw the program as one of America’s finest exports of goodwill, and as a proven vehicle for instilling values and leadership qualities in impressionable children. He felt strongly that future generations of Polish and European children must learn that teamwork, responsibility and discipline are the fundamental principles necessary for success. “Little League Baseball teaches these lessons,” Mr. Piszek said.

“Mr. Piszek was a champion for the children of Poland and all of Europe,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League’s president and chief executive officer. “His benevolence and appreciation for the mission of Little League was unwavering. It was through this conviction to his heritage that he has left an endearing legacy, and it is because of people like him that Little League is able to extend its reach around the globe.”

In 1998, Mr. Piszek was awarded one of Poland’s highest honors when he was presented the “Polonia Restituta” Commander’s Cross With a Star by the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski. In 2001, at the 22nd Little League International Congress, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Mr. Piszek received the Peter O’Malley Distinguished Little League Ambassador Award.

Mr. Piszek’s wife, the former Olga Pauline McFadden, died in 1993, and his daughter Ann Louise Reitenbaugh died last year.

He is survived by a daughter, Helen Nelson, of Fort Washington; his sons, Edward Jr., of Gwynedd Valley, Pa.; George, of Lafayette Hill, Pa.; and William, of Lower Gwynedd, Pa.; 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandson.