Edward Aitchison passed peacefully from this life on January 6, 2021, in a Boise, Idaho hospital after a hard fought battle with several health conditions and ultimately contracting Covid-19.
Ed was born April 25, 1938 in Boise, Idaho. He was the third of five children born to Henry and Zelda Aitchison. His mother frequently referred to him as “active” as she reminisced about his earlier days. The mischief he caused was quickly overlooked when the twinkle of his eye reached his mother’s glance. Growing up in Southeast Boise with his siblings provided lots of adventures, like hiking up to Table Rock, going to the movies downtown, and trapping gophers for Triangle Dairy and neighbors for spending money. Ed had quite the business, riding around on his Doodlebug checking gopher traps, and turning in the tails for 10 cents each.
After high school Ed joined the Navy. His stories of time on the U.S.S. Hollister and the U.S.S. Taussig, working in fire control, were animated and clearly showed how much that time impacted his life. His opportunity to see the world changed the perspective he’d developed growing up in Idaho.
Ed married Patricia Martin in 1959 and together they had four boys, Michael, Ronald, Daniel and Robert. They remained in Boise near family and enjoyed involvement in a variety of athletics and all the activity that comes along with raising boys.
In 1971 Ed married Pat Collett. Her three girls, Pauline, Stacey, and Lisa came as a package deal. Seemingly unfazed by the addition, Ed continued his involved parenting style and welcomed the three girls as his own, eventually adopting them legally. Ed and Pat added two more baby girls to their brood, Kathleen, and then Amy.
Raising nine kids had both challenges and reasons to celebrate on a regular basis. Sports were always a family activity. Ed enjoyed coaching his kids in basketball and softball, but his greatest joy came from watching his children succeed on the court or field. Rare was the game one of his kids participated in without him in the stands or on the sideline. No distance was too far for Ed to travel to watch his kids play ball.
Fondly remembered are family camping or ice fishing trips with cousins and aunts and uncles. Ed’s love of the outdoors passed seamlessly to some of his kids, while others may keep that love firmly in good family memories.
Raising kids was such a large part of Ed’s life. Each of his nine kids always knew he was there for them in good times and bad with no necessary validation of need. He gave freely of himself, not only to those he raised, but other family, friends, and strangers.
Ed Aitchison had a masterful mind that could figure anything out. His lack of formal education showcased on paper was the only perceived deficiency to his brilliance. Later in life he recognized how others viewed his skill and occasionally lamented some of his early choices.
Ed’s work ethic surpassed most and few could keep up. Working with his dad at Morrison-Knudsen and later with his sons at Aitchison Siding brought him great pride.
In 2001, Ed married Betty Adams. They traveled around the U.S. to singing engagements and frequented antique stores. Clock collecting was a hobby of Ed’s that quickly took over much of the wall space in their home. As with anything else, Ed was able to fix nearly any problem with practically any clock or pocket watch presented to him.
Perhaps Ed will be remembered most for his sense of humor. His quick, dry wit was generally a step ahead of most. Often it would be a significant period of time later before one realized they had been the subject of one of his jokes. Sometimes a punchline would take a beat or two to recognize. The smug look on his face always wrapped up his witticisms in the best way. Ed had a way about him from childhood that lasted through his final days that drew people to him in subtle, yet impactful ways.
Edward Aitchison is preceded in death by his parents, Henry John and Zelda Velita Aitchison, his sister, Helen Jeanette Fairbanks, his niece, Teresa Aitchison Blackstone, his nephew, Bret Charles Aitchison, and his grandson, Caleb Jordan Aitchison. He is survived by two brothers, Charles (Judy) Aitchison and Robert Aitchison, his sister, Julie Mahoney, his nine children, Michael Aitchison, Ronald Aitchison, Pauline Downey, Daniel (Shannon) Aitchison, Stacey Cline, Robert (Traci) Aitchison, Lisa (Allen) Gammie, Kathleen (Rex) Johnson, and Amy (Jake) Vaughn, 13 grandkids and 8 great grandkids.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Ed’s funeral will be a smaller affair, limited mostly to family.
The family would like to thank the amazingly attentive staff at the Boise VA hospital. The care taken of Ed in his last days far exceeded expectations and was so comforting to Ed and those who love him. Donations can be made in his name to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 1/12/2021 at 10:55 AM, Mountain Standard Time.
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