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Edward Lane Nellist ( Missoula 1969 )

posted: Jan 1, 2002

Ed, 54, died March 12, 2001, in Cutten, California. He was a fourth generation native of a pioneering family that settled in the Humboldt County area in the 1850s. Ed graduated from Humboldt State College in 1971. To finance his education, he worked for the California Department of Forestry from 1964 to 1969 when he joined the U. S. Forest Service as a smokejumper during the fire season. Ed fought wildland fires from Alaska to New Mexico until 1975 and had 109 jumps.

In the off-season while attending college, he worked for Arcata Redwood Co. and Pierson Building Center and traveled worldwide with smokejumper buddies. He became a volunteer fireman with Humboldt Fire District in 1976 and was hired full-time in November 1978. He retired as a captain in April 2000 after a 21-year career. Ed felt at home flyfishing in a stream or backpacking the wilds of the coastal ranges pursuing photography. He also enjoyed taking stepdaughter Melissa and her fellow students on field trips. He grew prize-winning roses, participated as a member of the Jed Smith Mountain Men and traveled to see his many friends. Ed was a strong believer in education He supported youth and helped those who suffered as a result of fires.