Edwin “Zorro” Ezernack named Oldest Logger

 

By Daniel Jones, editor

Each year, the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival honors the Oldest Logger of the Year with a special ceremony during the festival, which is held each year during the second weekend in May.  Chosen this year is the beloved George Edwin Ezernack, widely known by his nickname, “Zorro.”

He was born and raised in the Zwolle area to the late Abram and Lela Ezernack and had your typical childhood for someone growing up there.  He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School for the most part and was a Zwolle Hawk for a while, but left formal education to work with his father at Ezernack’s Garage.

Deciding to enter the logging industry, he began by contracting for A.T. and Pie Martinez by cutting and skidding.  Later, he’d buy his own truck and haul short pulpwood for Cade Wood for several years. 

By 1977, Edwin Ezernack Logging was born, and he was employed by Palmer and Jones.  That company later became Forestry South.

“I put in some hard years,” he said.  “Been through lots of trucks and equipment but it was all worth it.”

Along the way, he met his wife, Dorothy, and started a family.  They were blessed with four sons and five daughters.  Now, they have 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  A seventh could very well be here by the time the festival rolls around.

He tells the story of how his daughter, Gwen, was born on the first day that he was on his own in the industry.  He was “in the woods,” of course, but getting a flat tire fixed allowed him enough of a break to stop by the hospital and see the newest member of his family.

Ezernack worked and his wife supported him greatly, oftentimes being up well before dawn to prepare a hearty breakfast due to the strenuous schedule her husband had to keep, in addition to helping with the kids and making sure the house ran smoothly.

In the early 1990s, he began working with Walsh Timber Co., and Edwin Ezernack and Sons was formed.  He is still employed with Walsh Timber to this day.

He’s slowed down greatly in past years but is pleased that his four sons have taken such an interest in keeping the business going.  All of his sons and some of his grandsons work in the logging industry.  They are either employed by him or his son-in-law, Huey.  Their hard work should keep the industry solid for decades to come.  Like many of this area, logging is a family tradition.

When told of the honor, Zorro was truly humbled and took a bit of time to accept.  He agreed to do so at the encouragement of his wife and children.

“We’ve always loved and supported the festival,” she said.  “P.M. and Shirley Woods had a meeting at the VFW Hall and we gladly provided some funding to help in getting things started.”

Although admittedly slower than in previous years, the couple keeps busy, mostly with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Family get-togethers are a common occurrence.

“We go to their ballgames and school events, basically anything they do,” he says, proudly.

They sincerely invite everyone to the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival, which will take place the weekend of May 10-11.

 

 

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