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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
  • Valley Times : Do You Remember?
  • The Independent : Do You Remember?

The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.

They will also be found on this page each week as well.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Historical Happening at the Fairgrounds

By Barry Schrader.................................May 12, 2005

One seldom thinks of a funeral or memorial service as an historical event, except when we bury a President like Ronald Reagan or a Pope like John Paul. But Pleasanton had such an event at the fairgrounds last week on Wednesday when the community paid its final respects to Ed Kinney, also known as Smiling Ed or Mister Parade.
It has been said that the number of people who turn out for your funeral will mostly depend on the weather-but this occasion certainly proved that old adage wrong. Despite a constant drizzle which required umbrellas, hundreds of people sat through more than two hours and 11 eulogies to pay homage to a man who personifies the "hometown hero" recognized each year in the Alameda County Fair Parade.
Ed wanted to go out "tapping his toes" as he put it, leaving a smile on everyone's face. For that reason he chose a gazebo at the fairgrounds for his service and asked that everyone show up like they would for the fair-and he tossed in free corndogs and popcorn to make us all feel right at home. The ceremony had all the elements he loved-a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" at the beginning, with the incomparable Balloon Platoon and a jazz band concluding the service by leading the crowd over to the fairgrounds cafeteria to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In." It was part parade, part Presbyterian, part P.T. Barnum, pure P-Town and 100 percent Ed Kinney.
A beautiful musical piece written by local composer Doug Linman and sung by Susan Murphy reminded us all what was so wonderful about Ed and the community that was his life. With the family's permission, maybe the Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society could preserve the entire service on a DVD and make it available at the museum. There will never be another ceremony quite like it.
I am reminded of a quote by Anthony Quinn in a 1972 movie: "A man is not dead until the last man (person) who loved him is gone." With the number of friends and family who paid him tribute last week, Ed will live on in our hearts for a very long time

* * *

There is no history mystery question for this week, as I will be out of state for a few days attending a convention of hobby letterpress printers. But I am seeking the names of all the veterans who gave their lives in past wars from each community for an upcoming column. I have the names from the monument in Livermore, but who can help me with names from Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Pleasanton, Sunol and Tracy?

The columnist can be reached via email at :

Historian2sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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