The final act of Ed Bartheld

Op Ed submitted by Kurt J. Beddingfield

On September twelfth the body of Ed Bartheld was found in the crawlspace of his home.   It appeared that he had shot himself.  He lived alone at the end of a road in the Ghost town of Turret Colorado.  He was 92 years old.  Fate placed me in the middle of this story, and I feel the need to tell it from my point of view.  In my opinion, the media has covered it poorly.  It’s complicated, but let me try to explain.

In the summer of 2008, Ed and Jean Bartheld, an elderly couple, came down from Turret to sell their property.   They had been living there since the mid 1970s.  Gene was 83.  Ed was 85.

Ed thought he was going to die.  He thought he was going to die before Jean, and he wanted his wife to be provided for.  They had lived off the grid for over 30 years and had built their place with their own hands.

I was at a barbeque.  It was summertime and I was playing music with a guy named Balder Saunders.  He’s a mandolin player.  His family was visiting friends here in Salida, and like everyone else, their eyes had glazed over.  They wanted to find a way to live here.

Balder Saunders met Ed Bartheld at Remax Realty in Salida Colorado.  The Barthelds wanted to sell their property, but there were complications.

Ed and Jean wanted to live out their days on their land.   They owned their property out right, but over the last 30 years, living a simple life, they hadn’t put away much money.  They needed a way to get cash, but could find no one who could pay what they were asking up front and allow them to stay on the property.  Balder and his wife were interested.  Over the course of several meetings, the Barthelds agreed to sell Balder the sixty-eight acres in Turret Colorado for $50,000.   Nothing would change.  Ed and Jean could live out their days in their home.

When Jean and Ed passed, it was agreed that Balder would create a music camp for kids and a studio for musicians in the place that the old couple had built.  Jean wanted others to enjoy the beauty of their place, and she liked the idea of children being there.  They had none of their own.  It was my understanding they had no family.  She liked the idea of music.  She also liked Balder and Jen.  She didn’t want their place to be “developed”.  They wanted to pass on the land, but they didn’t want to sell it to the government.  They tried.  Ed didn’t like the government.

Their place was beautiful.  They found it.  They carved their life out of it.  Many people dream of buying land in the mountains building a house growing a garden raising animals and heating with a wood stove.  Ed and Jean did it.   Ed had a background as an electrical engineer and an incredible eye for practical detail. Jean was a former physical education teacher.  As a craftsman, Ed was a master.  As an intellect, he was a genius.  As an old man, he was deaf as a stump.

Ed communicated with everyone through Jean.  You would ask him something, and he’d look at Jean.  Jean would yell what you asked back at him, and then he’d answer you.  He also wore a hearing device.  It wasn’t a hearing aide.  It was a small microphone and speaker that he would hold to his ear.  It ran on rechargeable batteries and it didn’t help much.

After the sale was made, Balder called me to do some work at the house.  He was trying to get the place insured.  Ed didn’t want to work on it anymore, and it was in need of repair.  There was a broken window.  Boards in the decks were rotten, and the insurance company had requirements.  The deck needed handrails.   There was no thermostatically controlled heat.  The house wasn’t built to code.  There was no record of it at the building department.  It was off the grid.

Ed didn’t want me to put up handrails.  It would ruin the view.  He thought the idea of an electric heater was a joke.   They had heated their place with a wood stove for 30 years.  He still cut the wood.  Ed was an old man, but at age 87 he could climb a ladder and stairs without much effort.  He was self- sufficient, and he wanted to be left alone.  He did things himself, and when he did, it was perfect.  He showed me around the place.

He built his own house.  He cut the logs on Monarch pass.  He hauled them to Turret in his pick up.  He built his own barn, same way.  The gates in the goat barn slide on casters with the touch of a finger.  He designed and built his own off grid electrical system where the solar panels tracked with the sun by means of an electric motor powered by the system, in the early 80s, before many knew what solar power was.  He showed me his well.  At some point in time it had gone dry.  They dug another one by hand.  It’s at least eight feet across and sixty feet deep.  Ed would climb down and dig while Jean would pull up the dirt and rocks in five gallon buckets.   At the time they were in their mid sixties.

My friends and I were the only ones that worked on the place other than them.  Ed and Jean had done it all.  I could tell he didn’t like us being there.  He was nice enough.  We drank tea and we asked questions.  We finished the work and left.  Time passed and I forgot about it.

Three years later I read in the paper that their house had caught fire.  Balder called me again and asked if I would go check on Ed and Jean.  They had no phone.  They didn’t use the computer.  The only way to communicate with them was to go find them or send a letter in the mail.  I went up, and the damage was pretty bad.  The roof was thirty years old.  It was shingled with broken cedar shakes that should have been used for kindling.  They were.

Earlier that year Ed had paid a local chimney sweep to clean their wood-burning stove.   They cleaned it and reset the chimney.  Apparently, a cinder had fallen on the roof and ignited.  It was the dead of winter and the dead of night.  Ed smelled smoke.  Somehow they found a neighbor to call the fire department.  The fire department had a hard time with the winter road.  Meanwhile, Ed climbed on top of the house with the broken cedar shingles and a thin layer of snow.  Their water came from the well and was pumped to the attic into a cistern.  The roof was above the attic.  The water wouldn’t flow through a hose onto the roof.   He lowered a five -gallon bucket on a string to Jean.  She filled it half way in the kitchen sink.  He’d pull it up to the roof and douse the fire.  They repeated the process until they put the fire out.  He was 90.  She was 88.

Jean was sad, and Ed was mad.  Ed assumed that after their agreement, Balder had insured the house.  I had done the work for Balder to help meet the insurance requirements.  He couldn’t contact Balder and he needed a claim to pay for the damage.  As we continued to talk, Ed told me there was no insurance.  At least, he thought there was no insurance.  He said he thought it was criminal for Balder not to have insurance with the arrangement they had made, but Ed had never insured the house himself. They had already hired someone else to fix the roof.

I called Balder (in Florida) to tell him what had happened.  I told him that Ed had hired someone else and was upset.  He thanked me for going up.  I told him to let me know if he needed anything else.

Last week I read in the Mountain Mail that a man in Turret had blown himself up.  I saw the picture of the house and knew it was Ed.  Balder called me.  I hadn’t talked to him since the fire.   The police had contacted him after the incident was investigated.   Balder was now the rightful owner of the place, and they needed his cooperation.  He asked me to be his contact with the sheriff and to check on things.

A deputy informed me that the property had been searched and secured.   A neighbor had found Ed dead.  It looked like he had shot himself in the basement.  They called it a crawlspace.  The police were called.  An explosive had gone off.   More explosives were found and the bomb squad was called in.  They cleared the scene.  The local police went back in and found more explosives.  The bomb squad was called back, and they cleared the site again.  The deputy said that the police had performed a thorough search and their work was finished.  I asked if I could go up.  He said that if I had permission from Balder it was fine but to be careful.   I asked about Gene.  He told me she had died in 2012 of a heart attack on Christmas Eve.

I knew someone who lived in Turret, and I thought that he might be one of the neighbors involved.  I didn’t have his phone number, but I knew where to find his brother.  When I stepped into the office it was apparent that he was upset.  He said his brother just wanted to be left alone.  I told him what I knew and how I was involved. He said he’d try to have him call me, but it looked like my buddy had pulled one of the greatest land scams in Colorado History.  The rumor said he got a million dollar property for about $600 dollars and in the process had swindled an old man.

The brother called.  He had found Ed’s body.  We agreed to meet at the gate at noon.  I called two friends to go up with me.  I didn’t want to go alone.

He was there when we pulled up.  He told me that last week he had found his hero dead.  Now, the media was calling his friend crazy.  He had found Ed in the basement and it looked like he had shot himself.   The police searched the scene and had found fertilizer in the crawl space.  They said they had found detonators and explosive devices.  He hadn’t seen any of that.

I told him how sorry I was, how I ‘d known Ed and how much I respected the work he’d done.   He put aside his anger, and listened to what I had to say about Balder.  He said he would do his best to keep an open mind, but the bottom line was, in the end, Ed was ashamed of the deal he had made.

I asked if he wanted to walk through the property with us.  He did.  We saw the greenhouses.  We saw the well.   We walked around the house.  It was locked and secure, so we didn’t go in.   He’d taken the handrails down.  We looked through the windows, and there seemed no damage from the search.  The battery light on the solar control panel was glowing, so the refrigerator was still cold.

We walked out to the goat barn, and I showed the neighbor where Ed had shown me his sprinkler system.   When they had raised goats, Ed had figured out a way to water his alfalfa field.  He ran PVC and black plastic hose for a half mile up the mountain to a spring.  From there the water would run through the pipe and hose by gravity with enough pressure to run a sprinkler for the field.   It was a small field.

On the way back down the road we talked about Ed.  We talked about Balder.  After walking through it, we were dumb-founded.  It seemed apparent that Ed had wanted to kill himself, but his neighbor wasn’t sure.   He thought the police had misinterpreted the scene.  Yes, there was an explosive in the basement, but it was fertilizer.  It was in bags that were 20 years old that haven’t been legal since the Oklahoma Bombing.   Was he was just storing them?  He was a gardener.  You need fertilizer to garden in Turret.

In his previous life, before Turret, Ed was an electrical engineer.  There were devices all over the workshop upstairs that looked like transistors, relays and technology from the 70s and 80s.  He was an inventor.  He tinkered with electronics.  He built his own photovoltaic system.  Did the police misinterpret all the equipment for a cache of bomb making devices?  It seemed to us that if Ed had wanted to blow up that house, it would have blown up.

I drove home and called Balder.  He had just gotten out of school.  He’s a music teacher in Florida now.  I told him the rumor and asked him if it was true that he had paid Ed $600 and walked away with the title.

He told me of not being able to get financing.  The house and property did not meet lending standards.   A bank requires an appraisal of a property on every loan.  To a lender, the sixty-eight acres in Turret was land with minor improvements.

Ed didn’t build his house by the rules or building codes.   The bank considered his home an out building.  When buying raw land, a standard down payment at the minimum is twenty percent.  If Ed and Gene had sold their property for a million dollars, the bank would have required a $200,000 up front.

When the deal was about to fall through, Ed had another idea.  In fact, he didn’t want Balder to get financing through a bank at all.  If Balder were to borrow money from a bank to finance the loan, the bank could foreclose on the property.  If Balder missed one payment, Ed and Gene could be evicted.

Ed wanted to finance the loan himself.  He did.  He agreed to a down payment of $15,000 and a payment schedule on a monthly basis until they died.  Afterward, the property would go to Balder and a future music camp.  Balder said that when the papers were finally signed, it was like the Universe was smiling down on him.  It was an unbelievable opportunity.

The next morning I told the police what had happened the day before.   I asked the deputy if he was completely sure that Ed was going to blow up the house.  He was.  He said that a series of explosives and detonators were rigged.  The fertilizer was part of it.  It seemed however, that Ed wasn’t finished with his work when the small explosive went off.   They were not sure of the order of events in relation to the gunshot and explosion, but Ed had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Maybe sometimes the world isn’t as bad as we think.  In general, reading the news, it’s easy to assume that it is.  The story isn’t about an old man being swindled.   It’s not about a crazy hermit blowing himself up while trying to destroy his house out of spite.  In my opinion, this is a story about a man in pain facing the end of his life and grieving the loss of his wife.   It’s about an old man… losing touch.  I feel for Ed.  I feel for Balder.  I feel the need to tell this story.  Fate set me right in the middle of it.  I don’t have all the answers, but I know more about Ed’s story than anyone else.  I respected Ed.  I’d like to do my best to honor his legacy.

Maybe the bargain that Ed had made to provide for his wife in his absence became his greatest regret and all he could think of after she was gone.   Maybe he needed someone to listen.  Maybe he was ashamed.  Maybe he needed someone to blame.

What was it like for Ed those last two years alone in that house?  What was it like to be alone with his thoughts in the middle of the dream he’d built with Jean, with no one and nothing but the sound of silence and the ringing in his ears?

When Jean died, communication with Balder stopped.  Balder sent Ed checks with letters in the mail.  Ed cashed the checks but never responded to the letters.   After his roof caught fire, Ed found out there was no insurance policy on his house.  There was nothing wrong with the paperwork.  The deed had been signed.  The dream was uninsurable.  It would be a hard thing to live with.

Walking back to the gate that day, we were talking about how life can be so confusing.  We weren’t sad.  We were solemn.  There was a sudden rattle and we both jumped off the trail.  The neighbor had stepped over a rattlesnake.  It was a timber rattler.  It hadn’t struck, but it was letting us know it could.  The neighbor bent down, smiled at me and whispered “Hey, Ed.”

 

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

34 Responses to “The final act of Ed Bartheld”

  1. Steve

    Thank you Kurt. I appreciate hearing your perspective and I'm sure Ed would appreciate that you've provided a better portrait of who he and Gene were.

    Like (13)
    • Bob Gomez

      My name is Bob Gomez, I was a realtor at First Colorado Land Office and I had listed the property for the Bartheld's @ 2008. I spent some hours taking pictures and going over the entire house and property with Ed. I probably have over 80 pictures of the house, inside and out and where the property ended to the NE on the patented mining claim that he own out right. The majority of the land was a unpatented mining claim that he leased from the MLB long term. It is a sad story for the End of Ed's life. But missing a long life love, takes it toll. May Ed rest in peace. BG

      Like (0)
  2. Mel Strawn

    Thank you for a sterling story, one that broadens understanding. Ed and Gene were also friends of ours – skiing and hiking companions. Kurt, your unbiased account is appreciated and a marvel of succinct writing, a witnessing to be admired.

    Like (10)
    • kurt j beddingfield

      I'd like to speak with you sometime. As you know, this could be a much bigger story. It's interesting and many are very curious. Thank you for your complements. I have an english degree from The University of Texas, but have been working as a carpenter and songwriter for the last twenty years. Affirmation should not be necessary, but it's very nice.

      Like (7)
      • MaLena

        Hi Curt, we met at a gas station the day I drove back from DIA. Thanks for directing me to The Final Act of Ed Bartheld. I love stories like this, and thought that you did a great job investigating and reporting what you knew, just to set the record straight. We all have a life story with many chapters. Its refreshing to read about Ed, and ponder which truths and who's truths are true. And in the final count they ALL are. Thanks again for sharing and do keep writing. I will be hosting an event in Salida 10/24 and am thinking this website would be a good venue to mention it. Perhaps you can let me know if there a parameters on who can post here? blessings

        Like (0)
  3. rebecca

    Awesome recounting of events and wonderful editorial. The last 5 paragraphs were essential.

    Like (2)
  4. Lisa Humble

    Thank you for telling Ed's story and trying to straighten everything out. You are a good soul. We do not respect our Elders as we should. THe wisdom they carry will be needed when and if society crashes...Just when we need it. We can read books, but it's nothing like hearing it from the horses mouth. Again, thank you for giving Ed his dignity back.

    Like (3)
    • kurt j beddingfield

      I feel the only way to teach children to respect there elders is by taking the time to show them by the example you set, every moment. They see everything. They are the future. But for now, they are our responsibility. Children need to be shown. Give them some respect. Do something about the future and don't worry about doom. It does no good. It will just make you despondent. Volunteer at Boys and Girls Club. Those kids are funny.

      Like (3)
  5. Mandy Trollip

    I loved reading this story, thanks for sharing it with us! Kurt you are a talented writer and a caring generous person.

    Like (3)
  6. Gaylon Stamps

    Good story Kurt. Well written. I'm glad your mother linked me here. Love you bud. Uncle Gaylon

    Like (2)
  7. Betsey Downing

    Gene was a dear hiking friend for 20 years.
    Ed was alone and facing another winter. Perhaps he wished to leave this world on his own terms. It's too bad there is not an easier way than a gun.

    Like (3)
    • Kurt j beddingfield

      I have been asked to further develop this story for another publication. You and others know more about Ed and Gene than myself. I would love to speak with anyone who knew them well. Please contact me with any information you would be willing to provide. I believe my email address is listed here. I'm sorry for your loss. Thanks.

      Like (1)
    • fay

      So glad to see that the event has been told from the viewpoint of one who has researched the story. I knew Gene from only the few hikes we (you, I and others) took together. What I had read about Ed's death just didn't sit right with me. I believe Kurt is correct in this is "a much bigger story". One which Kurt has approached with compassion and dignity.

      Like (0)
  8. Lisa

    Thank you for writing this beautiful account of 2 people who lived amazing lives. It saddens me, but it also shed light on who this person was and their view of the world. It also inspires me that you can do anything, what an amazing soul to create such a place off the grid and far away. What a pioneering spirits he and Gene were.

    Like (0)
  9. Ann

    Great story! I've read it at least three times. Having parents of Ed and Gene's generation gave me such empathy for Ed's circumstances. Though an interestingly sad story, it is refreshing to know that the writer took time to do the right thing just because his compassionate heart told him it was the right thing to do! God bless you, Kurt! Please continue to use your gift for writing as well as righting wrongs in our world of "too busy"!

    Like (3)
  10. Janie Plumlee

    Kurt - Really terrific story! What an incredible adventure for you!!
    Aunt Janie

    Like (1)
  11. Margaret

    Twenty-three years ago my husband and I bought land in Chaffee County, excited about building our dream home in the mountains. We were from the big city and didn't know what it would mean to design and build our own house. I didn't even know how to use a hammer. While we were building, we were living in a camper, on the back of our pick-up.

    We allowed ourselves a day a week to hike. Which is how we met Jean. I loved talking to this older, more experienced woman as we hiked the trails. She was humble, and kind, interested in sharing our excitement at what we were doing, asking questions, enjoying our enjoyment of our new land. On one hiking outing, as the weather was getting cooler, I was complaining a bit about how cold my fingers were while we were working on the house, as at that time, we were pulling wire and the wire was stiff. I was having to jerk it through the holes in the rafters while standing on a ladder. Gloves would have gotten in the way. Although our house-in-progress was enclosed, there was not heat in it as yet.

    Jean smiled as I talked. Then she said, "Yes, I know. When we were building our house we were living in a cave.

    At that moment, I realized that this humble woman had taught me a big life lesson, and I doubt she even knew she had just "put me in my place." Yes, the new house was chilly, and yes, my fingers were a little cold. And, yes, the camper was cramped for two of us. BUT, there was a propane heater in the camper, running water, and a bathroom. We had a warm place to go at the end of the day. I immediately felt like a whiner, not appreciating what I had.

    She shared with me that they were either digging their well, or they had dug it. Or they were deepening it. I can't remember which. What I do remember is that they had dug it by hand. We had hired someone to come and drill our well!

    We haven't hiked in quite a while as our life has gone in a different direction, so I haven't seen Jean in many, many years. I didn't know she had died.

    However, over the years when I have needed to remind myself that I am whining, and I really do have the grit and determination to do what I want/need to do, I have thought of Jean. Her words still live inside of me: "Yes, I know. When we were building our house we were living in a cave." What I remember is that there was not an ounce of complaint in her words. She was happy to be living in a cave. That gave them the opportunity to build their home on the beautiful land that they loved. With such an opportunity, why would one complain?

    Like (4)
  12. Gene

    What I remember is tht Ed went to the library once a week to check out the New York Times. Which he then returned the following week. Ed knew what was going on in the world.

    Like (1)
  13. kurt j beddingfield

    thank you for your complements. of course, i am watching the comments for the public's reaction. I have been asked to develop the story. I have found out more this week since it was written. I have also been asked to leave it alone and take the story down. Maybe it's time to put back on my tool vest. A letter to the editor was turned in. A letter turned into a story about personal experience. The story turned into a research project. The research project has consumed me. It briefly turned a carpenter into an investigative reporter, for which I am grossly under-qualified. I am sorry. The story was posted prematurely. The difference between posting something on a website and putting it in a paper is that all fact must be checked and checked again. At times, I am an idiot. In the original posting I misspelled Jean's name. I also said that the home was sold in 2007. The calculation was based on the age of my children at the time. I missed it by a year. The home was actually sold in 2008. I asked the salidacitizen to repost the article with the revisions. They did.
    I spoke with another neighbor this afternoon. He said he had read my story. He liked what i said about Ed. He told me he didn't like the man i represented and that I probably hadn't changed anyone's mind. I told him that wasn't my job. We talked for a while, but before I rode away I shook his hand and asked his name again. As I rode off he pointed out his house. If you come back up here....stop by....I'll buy you a beer.
    Thanks again for your kind words, and Mel Strawn, if I ever need to write another resume, I'm finding you for a reference. YOU should be a reviewer.

    Like (0)
  14. Maggie

    Bravo! Life events are always multifaceted and all to often we neglect to take the time to scatch beyond the surface. We want to see the world in black and white instead of through the richness of color. Thank you for taking the time to expose the complexities of the truth. The press should take lessons from you.

    Like (1)
  15. Karen counts

    Amazing story, Kurt! I will tell my girls to read it. It is very impressive writing..

    Cousin Karen

    Like (1)
  16. Renee Lodder

    Thank you for the beautiful piece you wrote. Ed was my great paternal uncle. It has been years since I've spent time with him, but I have precious memories of visiting him and Aunt Jean as a young child. Spending time with them on the property was magical. I remember going for a ride in a small mining cart on tracks that led to a mine. I remember the big well that I thought was a huge swimming pool. I remember the greenhouse and beautiful garden of vegetables and fruits that was better than anything you could find in a store. I remember their devoted efforts to reuse items and not let things go to waste, such as rinsing out plastic bags and reusing them. I remember the fresh goats milk, the beautiful artwork they drew and painted. I remember Uncle Ed and Aunt Jean as close loving companions. They were wonderful caring people. They liked their privacy, but had huge hearts and welcomed my parent, four siblings, and my self to their home. Looking back, that had to been difficult with five children visiting them, but they were troopers. They shared and explored their land with us, taught us how to garden, milk cows, told stories. Thank you for those beautiful memories Uncle Ed and Aunt Jean. And thank you to the writer of this piece that captured them in a way that their friends and families remember them as.

    Like (2)
  17. Edward de Brito

    Hello All, Thank you so very much for taking the time to write so many kind and heartfelt words about my uncle, Edwin von Bartheld. Kurt, thank you ever so much for your wonderful tribute to my uncle. It was so masterfully written!

    I would like to add a few words about Uncle Ed. My understanding is that Uncle Ed had a degree in geology from Syracuse University. In fact he gave me some of his textbooks when I was about 12. Ed explored for oil in Alaska and attempted to homestead land in Sitka, but was driven out by the mosquitoes. Ed and Jean each climbed every mountain peak in the continental United States over 14,000 ft. Jean climbed two peaks in the Andes Mountains that were over 22,000 ft. without oxygen! Ed was an accomplished water color artist. Some of his work was published in Ford Times magazine. He took art courses at the Chicago Art Institute. He painted landscapes-no portraits or paintings with people in them with one exception, a beautiful watercolor of The Last Supper, but it was set in a barroom where the desciples were cowboys! I'm texting now from my office where I have one of Ed's watercolors titled "Mountain Freight Line". It is of a tractor trailer cresting a mountain peak, presumably in Colorado. Ed also worked at the Manhattan Project which produced the atomic bomb. Most definitely was a genius. He had a very wry sense of humor. He was blessed in that he lived to be 92 without ever having had to use a cane or a wheelchair. To the very end he all his faculties and no loss of memory. I last saw Ed and Jean two months before Jean passed away. I thank all of you for your kind words. They make his passing so much easier to bear. Thanks again! Ed

    Like (3)
    • Tom McGhee

      I am a reporter for The Denver Post and I am writing a story about your uncle, Edwin Bartheld. I would like to talk to you about him. I can be reached at 303 954 1671. Thanks, Tom McGhee, The Denver Post

      Like (0)
  18. Jeanifer

    Great writing and great perspective Kurt. You are right we tend to jump to conclusions and all too often they are the worst possible conclusions. Thanks for sharing your perspective and the story of an interesting man that lived an amazing life.

    Like (0)
  19. Nathan Ward

    Great story Kurt. I always heard there was a really cool couple living up in Turret that did everything in ingenious sustainable ways, but I never met them. Of course, we all want to know what happens next in the story...

    Like (0)
  20. Suzanne Ward

    We bought a car from Ed and Jean a few years ago. We communicated by mail. We went up to their home to try out the car and then spent the next three hours, marveling at everything they had built. They were very gracious.

    Like (0)
  21. Denise

    Hi Kurt,
    Ed Bartheld was my uncle. I see some of my cousins have added comments. I too have wonderful memories of Uncle Ed and Aunt Jean. What they did there was amazing, living alone like that. I remember when I was a child, they use to send us homemade bread and jam at Christmas. It was always so good. I loved it when it arrived year after year. When I was really young, when Uncle Ed was living alone in Evergreen Colorado in another cabin. He would send me envelopes that were a painted scene in watercolors and there would be $5.00 inside for Christmas or my birthday. I always felt so special when I received them.
    Thank you for taking the time to share how special he really was.

    Like (1)
  22. Elaine deBrito

    Hello,
    Edwin von Bartheld as my uncle. My mother (Vivian) was uncle Ed's sister. I'm grateful for the article. Thank you. I hadn't had many visits with uncle Ed when I became an adult, but we did exchange letters through the years.

    Denise I still have one of his painted envelopes from when I was kid. I used to get so excited when my mom would give them to me.
    My fondest memory was when we went to visit Uncle Ed the sumner I was about 14 years old. He had me assemble one of the kayaks he designed. It consisted of a wooden frame that, once assembled, was covered by a canvas sleave with a rubberized, waterproof coating. Once I got it assembled, Uncle Ed took me out on the river in it. He had me try to paddle it myself, but I was strong enough to paddle against the current. Our family had one of his kayaks and I remember my brothers taking it on lakes on camping vacations and ask ng it out on a local lake after I got my driver's license.

    My mom also told me that when Ed and aunt Joan were kids, aunt Joan got mad at uncle Ed and put peanut butter between the pages of his school book. I laughed because I just couldn't imagine uncle Ed and aunt Joan fighting like that.

    I'm emotional right now. I grieve the loss of uncle Ed and aunt Joan andy mom ad well. Again I thank everyone for their kind thoughts of my uncle.

    Like (1)