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.
Historical Happening at the Fairgrounds
By Barry Schrader.................................May
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
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 :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551