I’m still wrapping my head around it. I can’t believe he is gone, so sudden. Ed was an amazing guy, naturally humble in heart, welcoming to anyone and everyone, including an arrogant young minister like me when I served with him in Miami Presbytery (Ohio)—believe it or not, I was even more stubborn back then! I have so many hand written notes from him with his catch phrase that was posted at Kirkmont Presbyterian Center:
He was an encourager, a true friend to just about anyone he met, even those for whom his genuine affection was not mutual. His compassion and grace, even in the face of such incredible un-grace, was truly remarkable. It took me several years to realize that I wish I could be as welcoming and compassionate as Ed and his wife, Becky. He and Becky were always ready to welcome anyone into their home for a beer or glass of wine, a cup of coffee, or even to spend the night, and always with generous hospitality. When you are at their home, you are family.
Not only was Ed good at building relationships, it came so naturally to him. He truly wanted to be in relationship with just about everyone. I remember when I received a note from him that he had arrived at Ghost Ranch to be the new program director, a dream he had for many years, there was the invitation: “Eric, come visit! You’ll have a free place to stay on The Ranch!” I was planning a trip out there this year to see them.
It is cliche to say the world lost an amazing person, but we really did. He was a kind old soul, the kind that it is hard to be around without getting warm fuzzies and an oddly familiar feeling of being truly connected to something huge. Ed was connected, in more ways than I think he even realized, to Jesus’ ways of being. He was connected to something that made him see the good in the world, even when the crap was being thrown at him. I don’t want to build him up into a saint, because I know he had his dark nights of the soul as so many of us do. But he had a way of muddling through it with such faith and dignity, at least from my vantage point, that I could only be in awe.
I, along with the thousands of others he touched in small and profound ways, will miss him.