January 14, 2014 | 04:28 PMEditor’s note: The following is a slightly edited eulogy by Sal Dimiceli presented at the funeral of Edwin Meltzer, who died the day after Christmas. I hadn’t known of Ed. But at the funeral luncheon afterward, story after story was told about this eccentric character, with a barn full of paintings and a life full of experiences.
— John Halverson, editor
A good friend, Edwin C. Meltzer, recently passed away. Ed has been a cancer survivor for the last few years and his cancer was in remission.
I met Ed in the year 2000 when I was developing Trinity Mt. Estates off of Krueger Road across from Hawks View Golf Course.
While developing Trinity Mt Estate I often saw a man with long white hair in a ponytail leaning on the fence line, watching us work for hours. He looked like a pirate from an Errol Flynn movie. Several days would go by without seeing him and then he would reappear.
One day, a woman drove her car over to where we were working and introduced herself. She said she knew me from The Time Is Now To Help.
She said, “I know you help the poverty stricken elderly. How about those that are lonely?”
I asked, “What do you mean?”
She said, “Have you noticed the gentleman watching?”
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I said, as I looked off into the distance, “That gentleman?”
She said, “Yes, that’s Ed Meltzer.”
I said, “I have noticed him watching us on and off for hours for the last several months.”
She replied, “He doesn’t have a lot of friends. He’s never been married and does not have any children. Would you mind visiting with him? I told him all about your charity work.”
I said, “Sure, if he would like to meet, I will take him out to lunch or dinner. I don’t want to see anybody lonely.”
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She smiled, gave me a hug, and said, “Great! Thank you. I will let Ed know. What time can you come by?”
I told her I could take him to dinner at 6:30. She got in her car and happily drove off. I looked off in the distance to see if Ed was watching us talking, but he was not.
Later when I went to pick Ed up, I noticed that Ed was standing at the edge of his driveway right on Krueger Rd.
I put down the passenger window and said, “Ed?” and he said, “You must be Sal!” I said, “Yes, I guess we are going out to dinner.”
He said, “Thank you!” and jumped right in the passenger side.
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I quickly found out Ed was not a very shy person. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t have a lot of friends. Later, I found out Ed was very cautious. He started to tell me how he heard all about my charity work. He was very curious about the charity work I did. It turned out that the lady who came to visit me regarding Ed had been talking to him about The Time Is Now a lot.
We went out to dinner that evening, a Thursday night. Well, the next Thursday I was driving down Krueger Rd. at about 7 p.m. I noticed Ed was standing at the end of his driveway again.
As I stopped to say hello, he opened the door and hopped in and said, “Hi.”
As I looked at him, he said “I have a special place in mind for dinner tonight.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I knew nothing of us going to dinner and we had no plans.
Ed was like a human GPS. He would direct, and I would drive. We went to some absolute great places to eat. If you knew Ed you knew he loved a good meal out. Sometimes we would drive for an hour and a half to go to a special hidden place.
This went on for several months, every Thursday, even though we didn’t make any plans the previous Thursday. I would drive by just to make sure that this charismatic, outspoken, eccentric, different … there are no words that can really characterize Ed, was not standing alone on Krueger Road. There he was every Thursday waiting to get in my car and go to dinner.
We genuinely had a great time and enjoyed each other’s company. Other than those Thursdays, between my businesses and charity, my life was consumed with work seven days a week. My wife and family, understanding and supporting my long days and long hours, knew I needed my time off with my good friend Ed Meltzer. That is the story about how I met Ed and how our friendship grew over many years.
During that time I discovered that Ed was a talented artist. He also had been a farmer, a dairy farmer, owned Mt. Fuji Ski Hill, Yosemite Sam’s restaurant, and even promoted many rock concerts on what would one day become Hawks View Golf Course.
One day Ed emptied out his dairy barn, and gathered together his paintings to display in his barn. I have to admit this was my idea because everywhere I turned Ed had his paintings stacked up.
He never really did anything with them other than his own self-satisfaction. Ed just wanted to express himself on how he felt through his art. I even did a video interview with Ed on his thoughts of his paintings. It was very interesting. I could see his passion for his art was deep and gave him great self-satisfaction of expression.
I encouraged Ed to put them together into a collection. After he cleaned out his dairy barn, he put up a display, covering all the walls and ceiling! Ed had accumulated over a thousand paintings.
I showed a friend of mine who was the master curator and director of an art museum Ed’s Art collection. He liked Ed’s abstract art in particular.
Anybody that knew Ed, knew he was hard of hearing, and no matter where he was he talked very loud. Quite often he was asking, “What?” So you have to repeat yourself even louder. Whenever Ed had a thought or something to say, just like his brush strokes on a canvas, he would let them out. He often did not filter what he said and many of his thoughts were very comical, witty and entertaining.
His parents had passed away years ago, and as time went by, his two brothers and one sister passed away, none of which ever had children. Ed was alone. A few years ago, after a long cultivating relationship, Ed asked if I would mind being his trustee/executor if something ever happened to him. I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said, “Nothing is going to happen to you. Forget about it, you will be fine.”
He persisted over the next several months.
Finally, one day while sitting in his kitchen, Ed looked at me and asked me again with tears in his eyes.
Ed said, “My good friend Charlie Moelter agrees with me. With your heart for The Time Is Now To Help, who else can I trust? Please, Sal, I need your help.” With that, he hugged me. I hugged him back.
I agreed, but told him under one condition. I told him, “God forbid something happens 20-30 years from now, and God willing if I am still alive, then it has to go to The Time Is Now and the Edwin Meltzer Art Foundation.” Ed smiled and said, “Yes!”
After that I was helping organize Ed’s art as we archived a couple hundred of his abstract paintings into books, as the old art masters did. I talked to different people about Ed’s art. They would ask me if Ed was still alive. I asked them what they meant.
Later I found out that for many famous artists it did not happen for them until after death. I did not want anything to do with after death. I am a very optimistic person and told Ed repeatedly that we were going to do this while he was alive.
Sadly, my good friend passed away prior to any real notoriety.
One day Ed handed me this little card that read: What a mason is: “A Mason is a man that is dedicated to devoting his time and effort to make a positive contribution to his family and community. He is interested in improving himself through fellowship with men of like character and beliefs. The willingness to uphold these ideals … makes a man a Mason.”
That’s where Ed’s heart was. Ed said, “You know what Sal, if you know it or not, your heart carries the same way. You put your heart into action. If in fact anything happens to me, I want to help The Time Is Now and help the poverty stricken like I have witnessed you do, and I want to give scholarships for those that are in high school and college to further their art career.”
Ed told me how there are many scholarships available for those pursuing business, etc. but those pursuing art need help.
Ed’s funeral was a little unusual, but this is how Ed lived and how his spirit will be remembered.
I love you my dear friend, Ed. I will make you proud, as together we realize the hopes and dreams for many.
Love, and God Bless you my friend,