Popular Boy Scout leader Edward Basar dies in Walled Lake at 82 – Detroit Free Press

Edward John Basar II, a retired Detroit physical education teacher and beloved Boy Scout leader, inspired generations of boys — and more recently, girls — to reach scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout, firing them up with his catchphrase, “You gotta believe!”
Mr. Basar, as his students and Scouts called him, died Monday at his Walled Lake home. He was 82.
“Ed established a passion for helping to develop the very best in young people,” the Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts of America said in a widely distributed email. “As an Eagle Scout, he took the values harnessed in the scouting program and put them to work as a young scoutmaster and camp staff member.”
From the rows of square knots sewn to his uniform alone, anyone could see Basar had dedicated his life to the youth organization. Each knot — a scout emblem chosen because it is an old but simple binding used to secure objects — represented a significant accomplishment in the organization.
But more than that, Basar was a believer in young people’s potential. Even as Boy Scouts of America faced criticism, lawsuits, and changes to keep up with the times, he kept the faith. Through scouting, he sought to prepare those who would come after him.
Basar graduated from Cooley High School and Wayne State University, and, in addition to 40 years of teaching in the Detroit schools, he also owned a landscape service, Looks Good Garden & Landscaping, where he worked, his daughter-in-law Karen Kosky said, until “the day he died.”
“He approached everyone as a good, good friend,” she added. “He wasn’t a customer, he was his friend.”
Basar believed in — and lived — the Scout Oath, Theresa Osvath, who worked with him for 36 years, said.
He encouraged others to live the oath — “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight” — as well.
He aimed to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent” and he taught his students and his Scouts to be, too. He wanted them, he’d say at meetings with parents, to grow up to be good citizens and good men — and women.
And while only a small percentage of Scouts ever reached the rank of Eagle as he did, Basar believed all Scouts — with the right opportunity and attitude — had the potential to do so. To help Scouts who might not have enough support from their troop, he created an intense, one-week summer camp at D-Bar-A, calling it Trail to Eagle.
The camp, he said, offered the opportunity.
But no one, he’d add, was going to do the work for the Scouts, they had to do that themselves.
For 25 years, Trail to Eagle flourished under Basar’s leadership. He liked to tout that Scouts from all over Michigan, and even America and sometimes the world, would sign up for it, and the camp also brought together adults to organize it and be role models, and not just for that week.
In its email, the Michigan council described Basar’s camp as the “largest and most successful of its kind in the entire organization.” So far, the council said, more than 3,000 Scouts have passed through the camp. And whenever campers became Eagle Scouts, Basar did his best to attend their formal celebrations.
More:Michigan has unofficial 2022 election results. Here’s what happens next.
More:Anita Baker charts first national tour in 28 years, including Pine Knob show in July
Basar served on the camp staff of the Charles Howell Scout Reservation in Brighton starting in the late ’50s. It later closed, and he worked on staff and as a camp director at D-bar-A Scout Ranch in Metamora. He was an active Arrowman and Vigil Honor member, a national aquatics instructor and an aquatics director of the National Camping School.
Among his other high scouting honors: Life member of the National Eagle Scout Association, member of the James E. West Fellowship Endowment Committee and the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, George Meany Award, Lamb Award, District Award of Merit, and the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope medals.
Former Scouts have been posting recollections of their scout leader on the digital tribute wall, praising him for being an “amazing man,” a “hero” a role model, a mentor, and a friend, especially when they needed one most in their lives.
“He was one of the first to put his arms around my shoulders and comfort me when I was broken,” one former scout wrote, adding that in addition to life skills, Basar also taught him about “compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and giving someone a chance,” and yet, he “never knew how much I admired him, looked up to him and sought out his guidance.”
He probably did know, relatives said, but wouldn’t want anyone getting all mushy and sentimental about it.
Basar is survived by Irene, his wife of 29 years; five sons, Steve (Brenda) Basar, Chris (Jessica) Basar, Jim (Karen) Kosky, Jon (Charlene) Kosky and Frank (Kelly) Kosky; two brothers Donald (Kay) Wragg, Keith (the late Victoria) Basar, 13 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation is scheduled from 2-8 p.m. Sunday, at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 340 North Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake, with a scouting remembrance at 7:30 p.m. Scouts and scout leaders are asked to attend in uniform.
The funeral is set for 10 a.m. Monday at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 2040 South Commerce Rd., Walled Lake, with interment Tuesday at Roseland Park Cemetery in Berkley. Memorials may be made to the Boy Scouts of America Detroit Council, St. Matthew Lutheran Church or the American Red Cross.
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or fwitsil@freepress.com.