I lost another great friend this past week whose funeral was last Tuesday at Foote Street Church of Christ. Edmond “Ed” Archer epitomized the concept of a “lifetime learner” long before that concept became fashionable in educational circles. Ed was 90 years old but you would have never known it until he finally had to slow down.
Ed was a lifelong tinkerer and inventor. Ed served in WWII, spent a career working at the Post Office,went back to school and became a Master Union Electrician. Later he taught at Vo-Tec and Northeast Community College. He loved to share his skills, talent and humor with everyone he came in contact with. He also loved to think of a better way to do something and then he usually kept at it until he got it working.
Ed and his wife, Ella Lea, were of my parents generation and although they shared family connections going way back, I never really knew Ed until he was around 60 years old. I had a career away from Corinth and when I moved back I became interested in personal computers when they first came on the scene around 1977. Because they were so expensive, I learned to purchase components and put systems together myself to save money. I often helped others with this new found hobby and to share the learning experience because just about everyone was a novice at that time. One of the longtime friends I had helped to obtain a computer at that time was Richard Dobbins. Richard sent Ed to me with the request that I help him obtain a computer.
My experience with older people at that time was that they were deathly afraid of computers and I had a great deal of trouble trying to help them. My opinion up until that time was that most 5 year olds took to computers easier than older people. Well, I'll have to tell you that Ed Archer was the exception to the rule. After his first computer, he was always expanding, upgrading, trying out new stuff as fast as I was. While he called on me for computer help from time to time, he would just as often teach me something as I would teach him.
Ed also shared with me a lot of his vast experience with electricity over the years and he helped me with several alarm systems after he diversified into installing alarms and retired from active electrician work. One thing you always knew about Ed was that it would be installed right and it would not have to be done over again. A couple of years ago, I had to swap out an alarm system Ed installed 20 years ago that was damaged by lightening. Because the new system required a new wire, I was dreading having to pull the new wire up in the attic. I remembered that Ed's grand-daughter had helped him the summer he installed that system and he was so proud of her in engineering at Georgia Tech. She had gotten thoroughly dirty and hot helping her grandfather but never shied away from the task and Ed was almost popping his shirt buttons he was so proud of her. I was pleasantly surprised 20 years later to find an extra wire already left in place for my future need that Ed anticipated of having to pull an additional wire- that was how careful and thoughtful a craftsman Ed Archer was.
Years ago I was researching the history of slugburgers in Corinth. I remember Ed sharing his memories of early Corinth with me. He recalled when Bill Weeks had a "hamburger stand" on Cruise Street, where the parking lot is now just east of Phillips Dry Cleaners before the Cass St. underpass. Money was scarce when he was a teenager (1937-39). Ed humorously recalled there was a saying among the teenagers, "lets go down to Bill Weeks and SMELL the hamburgers."
Ed's funeral was unusual to me because although there was great sadness at his passing, you could almost feel the spirit of Ed with his perpetual smile and good natured humor in the church coming from every single person who knew him. His nephew, Larvis Baker, another high school contemporary of mine delivered an outstanding Eulogy for Ed. I particularly enjoyed his observation that if Ed had gotten into computers a little earlier in his career, he was sure the gadgets most people today call an “Iphone” or “Ipad” would instead be called an “Archer”. I was so pleased to call Ed Archer my friend and I will miss him greatly.
I have great memories of Uncle Edman and Aunt Ella Lee. We used to come down and stay with mamaw (Maxine Hinton) for a few weeks in the summer and while down there we always found our way to their house for a visit. Uncle Edman and Aunt Ella Lee HAD A COMPUTER! And he used to give us these silly tapes he would record and we would listen to them all the time! It was great great memories. Our Prayers and Thought are with you during this time.
I have so many great childhood memories of visits with Ed and Ella during our Archer family vacations (that's the O L Archer & Faye Timbes side of the family) in Corinth, MS. Ed was such an excellent man, always in good humor, always a smile on his face. It just made you feel proud to be with and around him. I will miss him. Ella & Linda my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Harold Burton (Burt) Archer
Mother and Dad (Lois and Frank Bethay) were friends with Ed and Ella Lee from the years of being neighbors in Tupelo. I remember being with Mother and Dad during some of their visits and the fun they had together. They continued to keep in contact after each moved to other towns and that always meant a lot. Linda it was nice talking to you this morning. Our sincere sympathy to you, Ella Lee and family at this time.
Brenda (Bethay) & Larry Martin
I have very fond memories of visiting with Ed and Ella on visits to Corinth as children. We loved him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.