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Old 06-05-2012, 08:50 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,116,625 times
Reputation: 9066


Most new or non-Coloradans probably have never heard of Ed Quillen. He spent most of his life in the Colorado newspaper business, publishing or writing for a number of small-town Colorado newspapers. He was best-known, though, for his often pithy opinion columns in the Denver Post. Like another great Colorado journalist, the late Gene Cervi, Quillen was not afraid to take on the "Establishment," usually through the use of his sharp wit. How Quillen's often direct and scathing writing, though couched in humor, got by the Denver Post's editorial board, I don't know, but it did, and I'm glad for it. I suspect it was because, at its root, his writing spoke the truth--from his heart. An article about him is here: Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen dies at age 61 in his Salida home - The Denver Post

Ed Quillen was probably one of the premier experts on Colorado history--not just facts or figures--but a deep understanding of the colorful personalities that make this relatively young state's history so rich. In his own way, Ed Quillen made himself part of that. As you might guess from my postings here, he was the model for much of my writing style, though I pale compared to his ability to frame issues in ways that could drive a point home like a silver stake to the heart while making you laugh at the same time.

Like me, Quillen lamented the loss of the "old Colorado" that both he and I loved so much. He and I conversed on a number of occasions, and while he and I had often divergent political views, our mutual love for Colorado history overcame any differences of opinion that we had on other subjects.

Quillen had knowledge well beyond his years. He died at the relatively young age of 61--probably partly as result of living his life to the fullest.

There is a 1998 book, "Deep in the Heart of the Rockies," that is a collection of Quillen's best columns up to that time--an entertaining read that gives one a look into the heart of Ed Quillen--sometimes contradictory, humorous, blunt, but always entertaining. There is also an Ed Quillen website ( Ed Quillen's web site )--I hope his family sees fit to keep it alive--that contains most of his Denver Post columns.

Back in 1988, he wrote a pithy column about the loss of the "Old Colorado" that was probably his best single column. In that article, he summed up a whole lot--about both this state and himself. That column was titled "No Hope For the Traditional Tour," it can be read here (at least for now): No Hope For The Traditional Tour

The ending lines of the column said it all:

“But all of us natives know that life's supreme pleasure is to jump in an old pickup with a friend, toss some beer in, and head into the mountains. Crank up a George Thorogood tape blasting some 12-bar blues, and stop just for coffee refills, green chile, and to relieve yourself at the top of every pass.”

“You're right,” I conceded. “But in Vail of all places, you should know that Colorado got overrun by mountain-bike yuppies who don't understand, and they've outlawed the old ways. Authentic or not, we could never make a business out of it.”

“Damn,” he complained. “You know, Colorado can be a great place if you can hit the road and listen to black people's music, eat brown people's food, and get your hands on some white people's money. But I guess I've struck out again.”
Amen! R.I.P., Ed. With luck, I hope you find that "old Colorado" up in Heaven.

Last edited by jazzlover; 06-05-2012 at 09:16 AM..
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:26 AM
16,183 posts, read 20,197,182 times
Reputation: 46742
I had to make a run to Denver for a couple days and on the way back I decided to go back home though Canon City, Salida, and Gunnison. I stopped in at the Country Bounty restaurant in Salida and heard several people were talking about Quillen.

Quillen never pulled any punches as he shot from the hip and I appreciate that type of style. No bloviating, just straight up, no nonsense commentary.

He will be missed.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:30 AM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 5 days ago)
Location: Western Colorado
10,557 posts, read 11,653,218 times
Reputation: 24234
I've read his columns on line, way too young to leave us.

The most fun I've had since I moved here was loading up with a buddy in an old jeep with a ice chest full of adult beverages, smoking cigars, listening to Wolf Creek Pass by CW McCall on cassette tape and driving on Engineer Pass and parts unknown. I've discovered there's "Colorado", then there's COLORADO.

Wish I could have lived here 30 years ago.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:04 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,116,625 times
Reputation: 9066
Originally Posted by jim9251 View Post
Wish I could have lived here 30 years ago.
I bet you would have loved it--it was not an easy place in which to live back then, but it sure was fun.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:08 AM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,023 posts, read 98,908,697 times
Reputation: 31457
RIP, Ed. Yours was the first column I read in the Sunday Post every week.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:40 AM
Location: Aurora, CO
6,165 posts, read 9,461,126 times
Reputation: 8860
I took my kiddos on a 500-mile day trip down to the Sand Dunes and Royal Gorge on Saturday. Actually thought about Ed when we were going through Salida. Gone way too soon.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:47 AM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,463,186 times
Reputation: 9292
jim9251 wrote:
Wish I could have lived here 30 years ago.
My first move to Colorado was in December '71, shortly after being discharged from the Air Force. Quite honestly, I'm enjoying Colorado alot more this time around. Back in '71, I was a footloose and fancy free twenty something, with a strong desire to see the wilder parts of North America. After 4 months in Boulder I moved to Alaska and fell in love with British Columbia on the way up there. A few years later I moved to British Columbia. With the wisdom of hindsight, those were the best years of my life. The dumbest thing I ever did in my entire life was to move away from BC. Colorado is a great place, as long as I'm not comparing it to BC, in which case Colorado falls short in every way. But that's just a mind game that I play with myself! No fault of Colorado....for what it's worth, EVERY place compared to BC falls short. British Columbia is a majestically, magnificent place. Were he still alive, I imagine that Ed Quillen himself would agree with my previous sentence.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 06-05-2012 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:11 PM
808 posts, read 1,177,013 times
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RIP Ed. Always enjoyed his columns (back when I read newspapers), which tended toward the anti-establishment and quixotic. Every living human over the age of 25 laments the loss of his or her own version of "old ________" (fill in the blank place/sweetheart/sports/music era of one's youth). As nothing has ever stayed as it once was in the whole history of the world, it's a universal experience to all. Ed had a superb, curmudgeonly manner of articulating that universal feeling of loss the passage of time invariably brings.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:12 PM
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,102 posts, read 20,365,466 times
Reputation: 4132
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I bet you would have loved it--it was not an easy place in which to live back then, but it sure was fun.
Ya cus it was so hard living in Colorado in the early 80's.

Walking to school up hill (both ways) in snow. Then having to do the chores around the house like clean the cloths by hand or get the wood ready so the house will be warm at night and of course the once a week bath in the tub was sure a treat since it was hard to boil all the hot water.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:20 PM
Location: on a hill
346 posts, read 375,531 times
Reputation: 454
RIP, Ed. Enjoyed your witty columns and grouchy sense of humor. Please say hello to some other men of words I miss, too, from our Denver press, namely Gene Amole and John Coit.
On a lighter note, I hope Ed gets to meet this character up there. Im sure they'd hit it off.
Michael "Flathead" Blanchard Obituary: View Michael Blanchard's Obituary by Denver Post
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