Tribute for Edward M. Self | Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills


Edward M. Self

February 5, 1927 ~ October 31, 2018 (age 91)
Edward Miller Self 
February 5, 1927 - October 31, 2018

Born in Tampa, Florida in 1927, Ed moved with his mother, sister, and aunt to Rialto, CA in 1930, then to San Francisco in 1940. He graduated from Lowell High School in February 1944 and joined the Navy V-12 program three days later when he turned 17. He continued his education at UC Berkeley and within the year was sent to the University of Minnesota, where he was taken with a very cute coed, Elayne Jensen. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Naval Technology in 1946, one of only 28 men to ever receive this contrived degree, and was sent to China for a few extremely long months prior to being released into the Naval Reserves. Upon his return to Minnesota Ed married his sweetheart Elayne, returned to school to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and saw the birth of his first child. Soon after they moved to California, then to New York a few years later, and finally back to California, settling in Los Gatos to raise four daughters, Eloise, Elizabeth, Emilie, and Evelyn. Ed worked at IBM as an engineer and manager for 27 years until retiring in 1984. 

In the early 70’s Ed, Elayne, and four other couples became the founding members of Las Cumbres Conservation Corporation, a community in the Santa Cruz mountains focused on land preservation. In 1974 Ed and Elayne moved into a 14 ft. trailer and designed and built their dream home on a high mountain ridge with views to the ocean. They called Las Cumbres their home since that move, being instrumental in its growth into a vibrant mountain community of over 100 family homes and 1,200 acres of pristine mountain land. Ed was a leader in organizing both the Las Cumbres water company and volunteer fire department, Las Cumbres Fire and Rescue, (now merged with South Skyline Fire and Rescue), serving as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for many years. He also served on the community board for many years and upon retirement from IBM started his own “fix-it” business, which fulfilled his love of tinkering and kept him busy well into his eighties. Ed's trusty blue truck with peeling paint was a familiar site at hardware stores in Los Gatos. 

Elayne had a strong urge to travel abroad, so in 1969 they took their first major trip to Japan, and were completely hooked, taking trips abroad into their late 70’s to over 30 countries. They sometimes spent up to six weeks on a trip, which they tried to make every other year. Preferring to stay in small towns and not plan in advance, their itinerary might read, “meandering somewhere in Europe.” Always ready to tell a good story, he enjoyed sharing tales from their travels, including some hysterical missteps. A place that became a second home to Ed and Elayne in 1984 was Maui, where they spent a month each year enjoying the quiet serenity of the island. One of Ed’s favorite Hawaiian pastimes was collecting golf balls that had landed on the street from local courses, bringing home his dozens of trophies each year to his daughters and grandchildren in his extremely heavy suitcase!

That very cute coed Ed was so taken with in Minnesota was truly the love of his life and he doted on her when her health declined. They had a wonderful journey during their 70 years of marriage, and in addition to travel, Ed enjoyed spending time with family, a good glass of wine or scotch, a good book, a good (sometimes tall) tale, and always a good laugh.
Ed was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 71 years, Elayne, who passed away in 2017. He is survived by daughters Eloise (Thomas,) Elizabeth (Andrew,) Emilie (Gerald,) and Evelyn (Bruce,) grandchildren, Pamela, Gary, Joshua, Jesse, Angela, and Liana, and great granddaughter Alexis. 

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