On February 21, 2019 a stroke felled Ed Helton and sent him on his eternal ride in the Crooked River National Grasslands very unexpectedly at age 73.

I miss Ed Helton.

I first met Ed through work developing standards for healthcare, where, with this calm but persistent approach, he always got the job done. Ed was a kind, thoughtful man, always willing to share his time, to really listen and to lend a hand. Ed believed in making our world a better place and was not afraid to be unpopular to do the right thing, which he did several times in his career in positions at NCI for standards development, at FDA in drug safety, in academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

Ed was a captivating storyteller, always looking for the perfect audience. He would talk proudly about having served two tours during the Vietnam War as Army Captain and Director of the Clinical Investigation Laboratory at Brooks Army Medical Center, for which he earned the Meritorious Service Medal. I admired him for the good things he quietly achieved for mankind, like getting lifesaving drugs approved by FDA, or removing dangerous ones from the market, but it was his crazy horse stories and tales of nature’s beauty which touched my heart. Ed clearly loved living life.

Ed adored his children and grandchildren and spent a great deal of time ensuring they were taken care of while he was alive, and even in death.

Ed always dreamt of having a simpler life that would allow him to focus on the things that mattered to him, and he found that in Sisters. Here, Ed was able to be close to his son and grandsons, which allowed him to share with them his passion for the outdoors. Ed did appreciate the natural beauty of the high plateau and the unfenced land, so he could ride his horse, Pacific Fritz. And Ed liked the people here, who are “real,” understand the land and embody the best qualities of a neighbor.

Ed had just bought his dream property adjacent to the Crooked River National Grasslands when I got to know him better. Ed loved this place, because he could ride from his house for hours, or even days, whenever he felt like it. Ed wanted a practical house that took care of the basics, satisfied his sense of beauty and gave him a place of peace and quiet. So he built his barn the way he wanted, got himself two wonderful dogs for company and moved in to finally start living his lifelong dream. Ed loved the view from his windows of all the peaks of the Cascades, which he would name off frequently, the clouds and colors in the sky, the sunlight on Smith Rock and the snow on the Ochocos. I was fortunate to share and contribute to his dream, even if just for a short amount of time. Ed had found his happy place and we had made lots of plans for new adventures.

Please join me in remembering Ed by spending time with friends. Bring your stories and pictures of Ed and some food to share on Sunday, April 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. to the clubhouse at the Sisters Rodeo Grounds. Instead of flowers, consider a donation to the American Cancer Society, https://donate3.cancer.org, in his name.

Obituary submitted by Riki Merrick