Edward A. Holland, 71, of New Bridge, died on March 25, 2005, at the emergency room of St. Elizabeth Health Services en route home from St Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute at Fruitland.
At his request, there will be no funeral.
Edward Arlen was born on Feb. 18, 1934, at Ontario to May and William W. Holland of Harper.
He attended Harper Grade School, and then in 1947 went to the New Bridge Grade School when his father transferred with the state Highway Division from Harper to Richland.
Ed attended Eagle Valley High School at Richland for four years, graduating in 1953. He was a member of the Eagle Valley High School football teams that won state championships twice, first for six-man football and then for eight-man football. He was also selected as a Baker County all-star baseball pitcher.
He spent his summer vacation in 1952 working for the U.S. Forest Service, a job he got in an unusual way. In those days the Forest Service searched for farm boys to hire. When Union District Ranger Harold Dahl was told that Ed Holland was working for farmers he asked Edward Braswell, then Sparta Butte lookout to see if Holland would drive to Lily White to meet the Union District clerk, Reynolds Baxter, to sign employment papers.
Ed took the job and began splitting fence posts, then went on horse bridge construction. After graduation he was stationed at Lily White and was in charge of district field crews. He soon also became a fire control officer’s aid. He moved from timber to engineering when the forest specialized.
During the last 20 years of his service, he held a division boss card on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Fire Suppression Team, which fought project wildfires both on and off the Wallowa-Whitman. He retired on April 11, 1984, on his 31st wedding anniversary.
Ed told wonderful stories of the years he worked in the forest for the Forest Service. He knew every creek, every draw, every inch of the forest. He loved being on “his mountain” and genuinely appreciated the absolute beauty of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, which he told everyone was God’s work. He kept his mountain home and huge yard meticulously neat and well organized.
He was a skilled underwater swimmer and once saved the life of a woman who was drowning in the Thief Valley Reservoir. For a time, he operated a second guide boat in white water for Jim Zanelli of Hells Canyon Navigation. There was not much he couldn’t build, weld or create and his expertise in engine repair was amazing.
His great-grandchildren adored “Papa” and he never ignored their requests for an extra hug, a shared story or going for a walk. If he was talking to somebody and they were at his feet waiting to be picked up, they didn’t have to wait many seconds before, without missing a beat, he would continue his conversation and at the same time, scoop them up into his caring Papa arms and give them his attention.
Survivors include Carmelita Holland, his wife of nearly 52 years; his two sons, Gary and Brian; a grandson, Phillip Wayne Holland; his two cherished great-grandchildren, Phillip Edward, 5, and Kandice, 4; his brother, William W. Holland, and his wife, Doneita; and one niece and two nephews and their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Dale Holland, killed in World War II; his sister, Wilma Gullett; and a nephew, Kenneth Gullett, a casualty of the Vietnam war.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, or a charity of one’s choice through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 1, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor