Not quite as well known as his son, Ed was a remarkable support person. I have known Ed since day one with the Extension Service. Ed was a graduate of Cornell University in New York with a degree in Dairy Science! His family has citrus in Lake County and moved his family to Umatilla to look after the groves. His wife Jeannette was an outgoing and vivacious lady that passed away at a relative early age. Ed had three children; Nick and two daughters Betsy and Lory. I believe Ed went to work for Golden Gem as shop manager. This guy could fix anything!
Ed then moved into the grove care division with John Kennedy, Dixie Royal, Bob Klingbiel, Harold Straker and Joe McRee. I spent many hours in that office and learned the citrus growing business from an unbelievable group of sharing and knowledgeable men. Ed was in charge of the nutrition program and make sure all 15,000+ acres were fertilized 3 times a year.
Ed had a small shop at his house that allowed him to work on most anything than ran. I understand that for fun Ed would go to the dump and drag out an old outboard motor and spend the weekend rebuilding it. When Nick was old enough to get dirty he was in the shop. They spent many an hour working all kind of machinery. Ed had a couple of Jaguar sports cars off in the edge of a cold pocket and a spare engine in the shop. He was always going to use the to have one nice cR, but never found time to do so. I know Ed would have restored one fine XK 120 if he had found time to make it happen.
My mentor Bob Klingbiel and I bought a sprayer to contract spray for Golden Gem. Nick had a sprayer and he also did contract spraying. As a note, the boyfriend of one of Nick’s sisters had the best summer job in Umatilla because he drove the supply truck for Nick (I think Nick paid on a tank basis). Anyway Bob and I worked hard to get our sprayer going; we sprayed on weekends and Bob’s son and a friend sprayed during the week. We never could put out near as many tanks a week as Nick. I finally figured out why – Ed. Every night Ed and Nick would service and fix anything not perfect on the sprayer and supply truck. They had spare parts and all the equipment necessary to keep the sprayer going. Bob and I would have a flat rear tire on the tractor and be down for two days! What a learning experience for me; showed that the most important person in the grove care business was the mechanic!! And Ed was one of the best.
When Ed retired from Golden Gem he helped Nick with his business. When I stopped by the shop Ed always had a project going. He would fix the annoying things that took time and patience. However, Ed was never too busy that it kept him from stopping to help me. I carried lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, my truck, and Lord knows what else to him. He always cheerfully took on my problem and found a solution. What a friend; never told me he had many jobs to do for Nick he just managed to find time to get it all done.
Well into his 80’s Ed finally reached the point that his back would not let him get to the shop or packinghouse to help out. What a loss. Ed’s last dream was to see Nick selected for the Citrus Hall of Fame. Like us dads, he was extremely proud of his children and grand children. At Nick’s funeral service he told me we needed to get Nick into the Hall of Fame. Thanks to his desire and the hard work of his grand children (Nick’s daughter and son) Ed’s dream came true. He joined family, friends, employees, fellow growers, admires and associates last year to see Nick inducted. I am sure this was the kind of tribute he wanted. Ed was all about helping others. He was a dear friend that I will never forget. Thanks Ed for always finding time to help me and encouraging others (as you did for Lauren and Brian to tell Nick’s story). I hope I have told your story well enough for everyone to know what a true gentleman you were and how crucial you were in the lives of family and all those you helped over the years.