If you’ve read my column for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about my first cousin Ed Gilbert from Beavercreek, Oregon. I’m very sad to report that Ed had a heart attack and passed away on Thursday, November 10th at 73 years old. Ed was like a brother and a best friend all rolled into one. I’d bet that we talked at least a couple of times every week for the last 20+ years. I mentioned just last month, that I’m a certified Car Nut Ball. Ed was a certified Car Aficionado. He knew more about cars than anyone I’ve ever known. He has helped me hundreds, maybe thousands of times with car-related questions ranging from the value of cars, or how to diagnose and repair mechanical problems that l was dealing with. I’m pretty sure Ed knew that oftentimes l wasn’t really interested in buying a particular car, l just wanted to chat with my brother from another mother.
When Ed sensed that l was really struggling with what l should do about my ‘57 Ford. The car had not been prepped correctly for painting, so it was full of paint flaws. Ed said the car would never sell for top dollar without re-prepping and painting the car again. He then offered to do the work for me in Oregon. I spent one week in August, at his Beavercreek home garage working with him on the car. He taught me so much in those fleeting few days. Ed also helped me buy my current ‘78 Chevy Nova. He went with me to inspect the Nova that was 200 miles north in Washington state. Within two minutes of seeing the car, Ed whispered, “if you don’t buy this car I will”. Over the next few months, Ed kidded me multiple times that he was so surprised that I hadn’t sold the car yet. I’d say hey l told you this is a keeper, he’d laugh and say yeah I’ve never heard that before.
What makes this story even worse, is that when Ed went to the hospital on Wednesday, his 90 year old mother Shirley, had some sort of a heart issue and went to the same hospital on that Thursday. Ed’s mom, my aunt, Shirley Brown passed away Wednesday, November 16th. I’m still in disbelief and shock about their passing so suddenly. I’ve reached for my phone to call Ed many times in the last week. I’m heading to Oregon for his Memorial Service on Tuesday November 22nd. Ed was an Air Force veteran and will be interred at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. Ed is survived by his wife Marsha, two sons, two step-kids, two brothers, a sister, and his stepdad Ed Brown. I expect his Memorial Service to be full of family and scores of Car Guys and Car Gal friends. He published the Roddin’ & Racin’ Northwest newspaper for over 10 years and I received my November issue in the mail, the day he passed. REST IN PEACE MY BROTHER.