Dec. 20, 1923 - Aug. 31, 2020
FORMERLY OF PAYETTE
Ed Fujii was born in 1923 into a farming family in Nampa, ID. In his youth, he was an avid hunter and fisherman, an Eagle Scout, excelled in track and field, wrestling, and judo. His amateur radio hobby appealed to his technical mind. After graduating from Nampa High in 1942, Ed earned a BS in Agriculture from Oregon State. Throughout college, he continued as an active ham, and enjoyed weightlifting, proudly achieving his goal of being able to military press his body weight.
While Ed was running music at a party at OSC, an attractive co-ed from the U of O came by to tell him how nice the music sounded. He married that friendly girl Patricia Lee in 1951, and began farming near Ontario, OR. During his farming days, he and Pat had three children – a daughter Frances, and two boys, Wes and Dave. Ed was an expert auto mechanic, inventor, craftsman, electronics technician (he built his own high-fidelity audio system and many pieces of ham radio gear), writer, and poet. Ed became a certified Master Gardener, adding horticulture to his long list of skills.
In his 40s, pain from athletic and farm injuries compelled Ed to leave farming and adopt a career in teaching. With a wife and three school-aged children at home, he earned an MS in Education at Eastern Washington. Through that curriculum, he polished his proficiency in photography, yet another of Ed’s passions.
As a teacher and bus superintendent for the Fruitland school district, Ed often kept a grueling schedule – up at 5 a.m. to drive a bus route, work a full day teaching, maintain the bus fleet and AV equipment, rush to shoot sports photography for the Argus Observer at multiple high schools in a single night, develop photos in the darkroom until the early morning hours, then return home to get a couple hours of sleep before starting it all over again.
In his late 80s, Ed engaged in a whole new hobby – he took music theory lessons from his granddaughter Keiko, and after a year of private bass lessons, formed the Fujii Jazz Trio, with Keiko on the piano and son Dave on the drums.
Ed has been a dedicated community servant all his life. He ran PA systems for events, led 4-H photo clubs, and provided horticulture expertise for such organizations as the MK Nature Center and countless individuals struggling with their landscaping. Ed loved nature’s creatures and provided transportation of injured animals for the Animals In Distress Assoc. Ham radio became more than the electronics hobby of his youth, blossoming into a major lifelong passion enabling him to uniquely serve the community. Ed spent countless hours serving on radio teams for disaster services; road races such as Robie Creek, Zeitgeist, and FitOne; bike races supporting the likes of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, MS Society, and American Lung Assoc; and provided traffic control for every major parade in Boise. In 2006, as a result of such avid volunteerism, Ed was given the VOI Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ed and Pat were co-recipients of the Elk’s Volunteers of the Year Award.
Having worked hard to master so many skills, Ed could fix anything that was broken, those things not broken he could make better, and things not existing he could create. It’s not the collective areas of expertise and abilities that made Ed special. It’s the service he so generously gave to his family, friends, strangers, and the community at large in which he used those skills that made him so much more extraordinary than the world’s famous, rich, and powerful. Ed did everything with no thought of reciprocation, praise, or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do. Thanks for teaching life lessons by living them, Dad. You will be sorely missed.
Ed is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Fumiko, and his siblings: Ida, Howard, Mary Henshall, Edward, and JoAnne Nagasaka. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Pat, and their 3 children: Frances (Tom Voccola), Wes (Jenny), and David (Lorraine). Ed is also remembered by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Chris Cheung (Trista Beard); Mei-Ling Cheung (Brian Brown); Elizabeth Tobin (Patrick); Ben Fujii (Sara); Keiko Neufeld (Bryan), Mia Cheung, Lewis Cheung, and Ty Shan Brown.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Henry Fujii Gem & Mineral Display, c/o the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology, a 501(C)(3).
For a more complete write up of Ed’s life, visit the Zeyer Funeral Chapel Obituaries page, or directly at https://www.zeyerfuneralchapel.com/obituaries/Ed-Fujii?obId=18324027#/obituaryInfo