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Published: Saturday, 7/25/2009

Speedway registrar worked pits since 1964

Edward J. "Edziu" Knakiewicz, 64, an official the last 45 years at Toledo and Flat Rock speedways, died Thursday in Toledo Hospital from complications of pneumonia.

He was ill about a month, his wife, Cathy, said.

Mr. Knakiewicz since 1964 was pit registrar at Toledo and Flat Rock events and at other stock car races around the Midwest managed by the Automobile Racing Club of America, said Ron Drager, president of ARCA, which his grandfather, John Marcum, founded in 1953.

The drivers, mechanics, and owners had to see him to sign insurance releases and pay fees.

"That gave Ed the opportunity to know all those racers over all those years," Mr. Drager said. "He greeted people and kind of set the right tone for the night.

"Here's a guy who gave up every Friday and Saturday night of the summer for 45 years," Mr. Drager said. "For someone to be that loyal and dedicated, it's a rarity. If someone came [to Toledo Speedway] and hadn't been at the facility for 20 years, there was still Ed. So they still felt connected. He really loved what he did. He gave as much as he got."

Mr. Knakiewicz's wife was with him as a ticket seller at the tracks.

He grew up in North Toledo and attended the former Macomber Vocational High School and the University of Toledo.

He was employed the last six years at Reliable Belting & Transmission.

He held managerial positions for 25 years at Craft Master, the maker of paint-by-number kits, and was a manager at Toledo Auto Stamping and O'Connell Machine & Tool.

A Mason, he was a member of the Damascus-Collingwood Lodge. He bowled with the Anthony Wayne Merchants League.

Surviving are his wife, Catherine, whom he married April 17, 1971; mother, Helen; sister, Frances Blazey, and brother, Wallace.

The body will be in the Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a recitation of the Rosary at 6 p.m. and a Masonic service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Monday in St. Hyacinth Church, where he was a member.

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