1918 - 2012
Longtime area resident Ed Lawrence, 93, died Sept. 14, 2012, at his beloved farm, Springacres Ranch. Edwin Fulton Lawrence was born Dec. 24, 1918, to Edward and Edna Fulton Lawrence in Moscow, Idaho. His mother, Edna, died in the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1920 and the family decided that Ed would live with Edna’s sister, Katy, and her husband, Frank Neace. In the early 1920s, Frank, Katy and Edwin moved to Inglewood, Calif. Ed attended elementary school there, and the family came home to the Waitsburg farm each summer.
In 1930, Katy, Frank, and Ed moved back to the Waitsburg farm and Ed attended eighth grade at McKay School, a country school on the Neace farm. At Waitsburg High School, he was a Cardinal hurdler, winning medals in the state track meet. He served as student body president, edited the school paper and became a trumpeter in the band.
Ed graduated from Waitsburg High School in 1936 and spent a year at Miramonte College in Atascadero, Calif., before attending Stanford University. At Stanford he majored in journalism, was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and graduated in 1940. In 1941, after briefly looking for journalism work in Los Angeles, he accepted Frank and Katy Neace’s offer to farm their land north of Waitsburg. Ed married Gloria Dumas in 1942 and together they made a life at Springacres Ranch. He was a pioneer in using soil conservation methods such as trashy fallow, strip farming and no-till. Ed and Gloria received the Conservation Farmers of the Year award in 1955. He was active in the Wheat Association and headed up their public relations campaign for several years.
Though farming was Ed’s profession, he did not give up his love for writing. For several years he wrote a weekly column for the Waitsburg Times and Dayton Chronicle. Later, when the Times publishers went on vacation, he took over the editorship and enjoyed giving the paper some unique humorous touches. He was a lover of words, and could often be found scribbling down word combinations or doing crossword puzzles. Ed was also a loyal citizen of Waitsburg and supported a number of civic causes.
As a boy in California, Ed took up golf and and continued to play in high school and college. He fondly remembered playing golf on the nine-hole golf course that existed briefly in Waitsburg in the early 1930s. Ed could be found on the links in Dayton or Walla Walla most Wednesdays and Saturdays for many years.
An avid reader, Ed digested the Wall Street Journal daily along with the local papers. Each day the mailman would bring more magazines to add to the piles beside his chair. He frequently cut out articles of interest and made notes about all kinds of ideas. From boyhood on he had a dog at his side and he gave a happy home to a number of devoted canine friends as well as cats, horses and a number of other animals.
Ed is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Jerry Talbott of Yakima; grandson, Michael Talbott and wife Briana; granddaughter, Christine Carter and husband Jered; and great-grandson, Hawken Talbott. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his wife of 65 years, Gloria, in 2007.
A memorial gathering will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 2:30 p.m. at the ranch at 114 Lost Springs Lane, Waitsburg. All are welcome. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Society or other animal welfare organization, the Ed and Gloria Lawrence fund for the arts at the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Planned Parenthood, or charity of the donor’s choice, through the Hubbard Rogg Funeral Home, 111 S. Second St., Dayton, WA 99328.