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Edwin Harris Bietschek

January 24, 1925 ~ March 2, 2019 (age 94)

Ed Bietschek died Saturday, March 2, 2019, from complications caused from lung disease. Ed was born in West Linn, Oregon in the second home built by his father, Julius Bietschek, and grew up in that house on the Willamette River. When he was just a child, his oldest brother, Art, drowned in the river after a serious illness. Ed discovered his body after his mother sent to the river to call Art for dinner. To the day Ed passed, he said he could always picture his mom, Ernstine, holding Art’s head in her lap and sobbing as if it were just happening. The river was always in Ed’s blood, so he volunteered to work for Knappton towboy company where he learned whatever he could. The duty of service called to Ed and at the age of 16, he convinced his mom and dad to give their permission for him to join the Merchant Marines. Ed’s ship was just two days away from Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. They continued to Pearl Harbor where emptied their cargo before being immediately sent back out to sea. Ed’s years in the Merchant Marines exposed him to life on the water so when his service ended he came back to Willamette where he was immediately employment by Knappton. He was in love with the water so when Ed and Mary married they bought a house in Willamette and raised their children there. They had many friends but Ed wanted more. More than 60 years ago, Ed became a member of the Oregon City Elks Lodge #1189 and earned a reputation of being a great volunteer and friend to most. Everyone knew Ed could read the river so when Mount St Helens erupted in 1980, Ed was flown to what remained of the volcano top and advised the engineers how to move the trees from the Toutle River. In 1987 at the age of 62, Ed decided it was time to retire. As a retirement gift, he was awarded a trip for two to Hawaii. For the next 25 years, he and Mary spent most of their Januarys on the islands of Kauai or Maui, sitting on the beach, basking in the sun. Besides lounging with a drink in hand on the beach one of Ed’s favorite activities was to wake up early each morning and take swim in a ocean. In 2016, Ed was invited to attend the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, Ed received a true heroes welcome afforded to the few remaining survivors of the attack. He had received the acknowledgement he had earned as a Merchant Marine during WWII and proudly displayed his service to the country. Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Theresia Frey of Woodfibre, British Columbia, Canada, and his daughter, Theresa “Teri” Marie Hopp. Of his seven siblings, he is survived by sister, Ruth Winkelman Hopp, sister, Eleanor “Nori” Zieg and brother-inlaw, Al Zieg. He is also survived by his daughter, Carol De Lair, son-in-law Jerry De Lair, son-in-law Ron Hopp, granddaughters Kellie Lutz and Michelle Hopp, grandsons Timothy Hopp, Scott Vinson and Craig Vinson, and great grandchildren Bailey Hopp and Quenton Hopp. There will be a funeral in Oregon City for family and friends on Tuesday, 03-12-19 at Holman Hankins, Bowker and Waud beginning at 1:00 pm. A celebration of life for family and friends will also be held on Saturday, 3-16-19, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Oregon City Elks Lodge #1189

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