Harold Parkins Edmundson
Harold P. “Ed” Edmundson of Estes Park passed away on July 9, 2009 at the age of 87. Ed was born on December 13, 1921 to the late Ralph and Susan Edmundson of Los Angeles, California. After his father’s death when Ed was just two, he and his mother moved to Hollywood. Ed later attended Fairfax High School where he excelled at mathematics and the sciences. His studies at UCLA were interrupted by World War II. During the war he served in the U.S. Army as a captain in the Pacific Theater working on breaking Japanese codes and ciphers. After the war, he returned to UCLA to finish his studies and complete his Ph.D. in mathematics. As a university student, Ed loved singing and fencing where he was a member of the UCLA Glee Club and rose to West Coast epee champion. Later he became a faculty sponsor for the UCLA horseback riding club and spent his weekends volunteering to teach horsemanship to Girl Scouts, the blind, and adults. While teaching riding, he met his future wife, Renate Lüdemann. In 1963, they were married in Pacific Palisades, California.
In the mid-1950s Ed worked at NSA and the RAND Corporation think tank. His interests were interdisciplinary and he always had an affinity for linguistics. Ed studied Russian, German and Japanese. He applied his linguistic skills to such projects as machine translation of Russian into English, automatic abstracting, and the Federal project to automate the Library of Congress. In addition, Ed taught mathematics at UCLA and lectured nationally and internationally. His career in industry included positions at TRW, SDC, and PRC.
In 1967, Ed transitioned to teaching full time. He moved to the East Coast when he was invited to be one the original members of the fledgling computer science department at the University of Maryland. He held joint appointments in the computer science and mathematics departments, introducing new graduate and undergraduate programs. He particularly enjoyed mentoring students, both undergraduate and graduate. When not teaching, Ed enjoyed helping his daughter’s Girl Scout troop earn outdoor badges and spending summers with his family in the West horseback riding and hiking. In 1991, Ed retired from the University of Maryland as Professor Emeritus and moved to Estes Park, Colorado.
In Estes Park, Ed proudly served more than 10,000 hours as a volunteer in Rocky Mountain National Park. He thought of this as his third career: being an Alpine Ambassador, manning stations at Wild Basin, Longs Peak, Bear Lake, Alpine Visitor’s Center, and the backcountry office. He participated in the Bighorn Brigade, Elk Bugle Corps, and Chow Busters. In the winter, he co-led snowshoe nature walks for Park visitors. Ed felt his service to the Park was repayment for years of great outdoor experiences he had in national parks, including his family’s yearly summer treks from Maryland to Colorado.
He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Renate, son Douglas of Longmont, Colorado, daughter Christine and son-in-law Tom White and grandchildren Zachary and Natalie White of Bridgeport, West Virginia. He is also survived by cousin Laura and husband John O’Connor, Bob Marshall, as well as numerous second cousins all of Southern California. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 1302 Graves Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517.
Visit www.allnutt.com to view Ed’s obituary and send a message to his family. Cremation has already taken place and arrangements for a memorial service are pending.