Edwin Fredrick Weidner Jr. (1929 - 2018)

  • - Steve Walker

Edwin Fredrick Weidner Jr., affectionately known as "Big Ed," boarded the "Glory Train" on July 12, 2018 in his beloved city of Sacramento, following his favorite meal: his daily two eggs "sunny-side-up" breakfast. He had recently celebrated his 89th birthday surrounded by family and friends nearly nine decades of living life to the absolute fullest, and spent in his own words, "Havin' fun." Ed was born on June 4, 1929, in San Francisco to Nora Mae Whelan and Edwin Fredrick Weidner Sr. When Ed was young, the family moved to Carmichael, and then Sacramento. He attended Carmichael Elementary School and graduated from David Lubin Elementary School, Kit Carson Junior High School, Sacramento High School (class of 1947), and Sacramento State College, where he majored in Art and Business. It was in Sacramento that Ed discovered his calling commercial art and lettering and met his cherished wife, Charlene "Char" Weidner, with whom he'd raise two adored children and share 60 years of marriage. After graduating college Ed joined the Sacramento Police Department. While working nights as a patrol officer he pursued his passion: painting signs. In 1955, with Char's vision, encouragement and a growing family to feed, Ed left the police force and officially opened House of Signs in the home at 1515 N Street. His children, Rick and Kathy, joined the business right out of school and began building on his then well-established brand. Sixty-three years later, Ed's family business now WeidnerCA is a widely known and highly regarded architectural signage contracting firm on the west coast. Ed was incredibly proud of the contributions of his children (both now retired), the current leadership team, and dedicated employees who carry on his legacy to "Think big." At 6'3" and always dressed in his own unique style of fashion, Big Ed was a larger-than-life personality and natural leader. He loved people and enthusiastically led many of the organizations he joined. In the Boy Scouts, he earned Life Scout; and was an Assistant Scout Master. Ed was an Exalted Antler of the Junior Elks Club, member of Elks Lodge #6, and a member of ROTC. He served as President of the International Early Ford Club and National President of the V8 Ford Club. He joined the Rotary Club of Downtown Sacramento in 1956 and served as president in 1981-82. Prior to this, he was a director from 1972-73, and a Paul Harris Fellow and Eddie Mulligan Fellow. In later years, Ed was a passionate spectator of all sports, especially baseball. An avid collector of vintage toys and trains, one of his signature Ed-isms was, "He who dies with the most toys wins." In recent years he went on to add, "I've already won." Big Ed is preceded in death by his wife Charlene, parents Nora Mae Whelan and Edwin F. Weidner Sr, and aunt Dolores Jean Whelan. He is survived by children Rick Weidner (Melinda) and Kathy Weidner, cherished grand-children Rachel Ford (Kyle), Jocelyn Weidner, Ryan Price and Taylor Price, brother Robert Weidner (Brenda), nephews Kurt Weidner (Dixie) and Jeff Weidner (Loring), five great nieces and nephews, mother of his granddaughters Candace Weidner, and father of his grandsons Don Price. The family would like to thank Angel Kang Huston and her staff at Park Ranch for their love and care, and Richard Okumura for his friendship and kindness. A private memorial service was held to celebrate the life of Big Ed. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Sacramento Downtown Rotary Club or the California State Railroad Museum.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 12, 2018
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