Edward Erb, 91, died peacefully at his Gardner Ridge home on November 4, 2022. A private memorial service will be held at the family cemetery in the spring or summer. Ed was born in Venus, Nebraska in 1930, the fourth of five brothers born to Ruth and Henry Erb. The family followed ranch work during the depression through Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico before relocating to San Diego to work in manufacturing for the war effort. Ed's three older brothers Don, Harold and Richard served in World War II. After the war the family purchased raw land, by mail and sight unseen, outside Junction City, Oregon. They lived in a tent while Henry and the older brothers logged the property, selling some timber for income and using some to
build a home.
Ed met his wife Cora at Junction City High School and started a family with her in 1947 that grew to include five daughters and a son. Ed worked in lumber mills near Junction City in the Willamette Valley but came to love the Oregon coast on weekend ocean fishing trips aboard his first boat, the Somnus, which he built. He started as a sport fisherman but soon fitted the Somnus with commercial salmon gear and began selling his catch. In the winter of 1956, he took his first commercial fishing job pulling crab pots in Port Orford. Soon he was captaining boats owned by others and then was owner/operator of his own boats, including the Donna N, then the Kincheloe. In the winter of 1959 Ed moved the family from Port Orford to Brookings, renting and eventually owning the family home on Gardner Ridge Road. In the 60s, Ed's brothers Richard and Kenny followed him to Brookings and into commercial fishing. In the 70s Henry, Ruth and Harold sold the Junction City properties and moved to Gardner Ridge when additional acreage adjacent to the property Ed and Cora owned became available. After a bad back forced Ed off the ocean in the 1970s he began selling fresh seafood from the back of his pickup truck, driving from the port of Brookings to the Rogue Valley. Soon Ed and Cora built a small fish processing operation behind their home on Gardner Ridge, which led to Ed's operation of Gold Beach Seafood in Gold Beach. In his final working years Ed was employed as a millwright at South Coast Lumber until his retirement.
In the 1960s there were jam sessions with Ed on guitar, Cora on upright piano, Kenny on mandolin, and Kenny's wife Peggy providing vocals. On one occasion they were joined by Esther Waldien, who taught Ed’s children at Upper Chetco School, and played steel guitar. Old time music was favored including Hank Snow, Patsy Cline, Jimmie Rodgers, Ferlin Husky, Marty Robbins; Johnny Cash, and Teresa Brewer. Ed and Kenny made many hunting trips to Eastern Oregon which might include Philip Wright, Leon Meeker, Kenny Mason, Jim Donnelly, Mike O’Dwyer and Dugie Freeman. When their wives Cora and Peggy, Doris Wright, Evelyn Meeker, Jean Mason, Linda Donnelly and Shirley Freeman joined the hunting vacations, they
also enjoyed collecting old bottles and glass insulators from abandoned homesites and electric lines. There were numerous hiking and camping adventures around southern Oregon.
In July 2001, Ed and Kenny made a kayak trip through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness down the Chetco River on a trip guided by Ed’s granddaughter Stormy Havice. Kenny’s memorial service in 2010 included a photo from that trip. Ed was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, wife Cora, grandchildren Ryan and Nicole Erb, and great grandchild Sierra Snyder. Ed was also married to Billy Miller until her death; and Carole Lute until her death in 2015. Ed is survived by his children Carol Erb, Valorie Havice and her partner Larry Pease, Vivian Erb and her partner Teri Schaefer, Nancy Erb, and Patrick Erb of Brookings; and Carla Erb of Tucson, AZ. His grandchildren Rachel and David Nelson of Brookings, Sadie and Ryan Spicer of Medford, Stormy and Art Solis of Aurora CO, Sheena and Jake Williams of Grants Pass, Wyatt Snyder of Brookings, Henry and Mikayla Hacking of Essex, Maryland. His great grandchildren Jordan Nelson and his spouse Kristy of Lacey, WA; Christopher Nelson of Corvallis; Cora and her brother Kaden Spicer, Lucia and Maya Solis, Arabella and Hayden
Williams, Nathan Snyder Mead, and Bianca Hacking. His great, great grandchildren Liam, Ezlyn and Linden Nelson.
In his final years Ed savored his bachelor life on Erb Lane with a front door view of Mt. Emily, his series of cats which he named "Kitty", and walks to the family camp on the North Fork. He didn't remember all those who visited him but he seemed fascinated by a child named Cora, his youngest great grandchild, and he would ask her if she knew for whom she is named.
Ed especially came to rely on the friendship and loving support provided by Larry Pease who visited him daily, regularly drove him to town for shopping, laundry or lunch which they would eat parked at Sporthaven Beach to watch for boats coming across the bar. The family is grateful for all that Larry did to enrich Ed’s life and to ease his final days.