Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm Getting Older, Not too Many Friends Left (Any Young people Out There Need An Old Fart Friend?)

My friend Ed was not a Saint. Ed was not unflawed. Ed was my friend for four decades.
Dr. Ed died after a two year illness last Tuesday morning.

I first met Ed in 1970. We were in geography classes together in College. We had both served in the First Infantry Division in Vietnam and had often been in the exact same place at the exact same time but never actually met until we returned to Oklahoma.

Ed was a competitor. When I wrote a geography paper of 100 pages, he wrote one of 101 pages. When I created a presentation with 14 maps, he created one with 15 maps. When I gave a ten-minute talk, he gave an eleven-minute talk, but it took him thirty minutes to do it.

Ed wrote the longest Geography Master's Thesis in his University's history. It was 520 pages detailing the geographic settlement and movement of the Black population in and around Oklahoma City from 1890 to 1974. That was not an academically safe subject even then. Fortunately for myself, I got my Master’s in California, and because Ed wasn’t around, my thesis was only 60 pages long.

I went to work. Ed went on to earn a Doctorate and then his wife had me find him some work.
Wives are like that. If Ed and perhaps even myself, were left alone we would probably still be in school.

Ed has had a lasting influence on geographic policies and on education for the State of Oklahoma. As a Senior Assistant to a Governor, his influence reached into several other areas as well.

Ed was a central influence in the establishment and funding of the Oklahoma Geographic Education Fund under the National Geographic Society. Over the years this fund has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to schools across Oklahoma to further geographic education.

Ed was also a patriot. In our youth(1960's), being such was not popular. Ed not only volunteered for military duty in the Army, but he had a hernia repaired so that he could join. I gave him grief about that, but he wouldn’t let me forget that he volunteered for only three years, where I volunteered for four. Probably that was the only time I outdid him numerically.

Ed was my friend. I will miss the old curmudgeonly, grumpy, Ed and his dry and oblique sense of humor. In fact, I miss him even as I write this.

10 comments:

Carol said...

That's a nice tribute.

drlobojo said...

Thanks Carol.

Trixie said...

You've outdone Ed again -- you're here to write great things about him. Maybe that's what overachievers get?

Dr. Bill Loney said...

Sign me up doc-- fer the friend thingy. The fartin part ain't literal, is it? Ain't that good fer geographicals, but I's can make a globe outta spam, and I once got brutalized by a quiz bowl team outside of Lawton, and I figures that had some geo questions

sounds like yer bud wuzza good feller...sucks to lose them guys like that

drlobojo said...

Yep Trixie, I've outlived him (and many others), so now my goal is to live to be so old that at my memorial service the attendee will ask the undertaker, " Now who was this guy?" Er, ah, wait, maybe I better live longer than that. Not sure that wouldn't happen today.

Dr. Bill: A globe out of Spam might have gotten you a "A+" in one of Ed's classes, provided of course you didn't let some stray bit of fat pop up in the wrong place to represent an island or mountain range. Ed was a good man, and the fact that the world is indeed full of good men makes staying here tolerable.

drlobojo said...

Dr Bill: "The fartin part ain't literal, is it?"

Dr. Bill you done went and gave yerself away. Your not that "old" are you. Nobody over 50 has to ask such a question.

Dr. Bill Loney said...

Busted--by the time I got to vote they was a Clinton on the ballot...and the fartin ain't literal is it?

drlobojo said...

"... and the fartin ain't literal is it?"

Heh,heh,heh,heh

The problem with stereotypes is that there is always a type to stereo.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Beautiful words. Sorry for your loss. Having lost some old friends recently, I understand the emptiness. Blessings.

drlobojo said...

Thanks