John Glen Eddings, 76, passed away on April 4, 2017 at Banner Baywood Memorial Hospital in Mesa, Ariz.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Irene Eddings and his daughters, Rheesa Eddings and Erin Eddings New, as well as his brother, Ralph Weaver Jr. Glen wished to be cremated, and there will be no formal services, but a celebration of life will be planned for a future date.
Such a dry and pedantic way to encapsulate a life that was anything but. Let’s rewind and try this again, shall we?
Once upon a time, in that nebulous stretch where the world was vacillating between late winter and early spring, a cotton farmer’s wife gave birth to her third child in a sharecropper’s cabin on a canal bank, 11 miles from Eloy, 11 miles from Coolidge, and 11 miles from Casa Grande.
He grew up avidly curious about the world, reading voraciously, running barefoot through the desert as it bloomed and died, hunting rabbits and learning the nature of the flora and fauna. As soon as he was old enough, he followed the harvest east as far as Oklahoma, and west to the end of the continent, picking cotton and combining wheat.
As he grew past childhood, the zeitgeist of the time demanded military service, so he joined the Army and was sent to foreign lands to patrol an unstable border in the unforgiving snow. His teammates called him the “Cat” because he could see in the dark and one never heard him coming, two traits that made him an formidable opponent.
He tasted Kulmbacher in Kulmbach and Lowenbrau in Munich, spent the occasional day drinking and carousing, sometimes brawling in the mud and the blood and the beer, and finally returned home honorably.
Glen married a lovely woman with sparkling brown eyes and a curly mouthed smile, and before many years had passed they had a daughter in the waxing days of winter, and then another in the waning days of autumn. He set about teaching them when the quail would be thick, and where to look for a mule deer.
He taught them which plants were edible and scientific names of mushrooms, words that sound like Latin song lyrics: Boletus edulis. Agaricus augustus. He quoted Alfred Lord Tennyson and discussed Kepler’s law of planetary motion with equal passion.
He worked hard and ethically, extracting luminous blue stone from the earth, Sleeping Beauty turquoise and made people gawp by hefting five gallon buckets of ore between two fingers with a wink and a smile. He treated blasting as an art AND a science ... or so he said. Really, blowing stuff up was just fun.
Because this is not a fairy tale, and because the only people to whom he was a white knight were his wife and daughters, it’s fair to say that he was a misanthrope and a curmudgeon, singularly stubborn and mistrustful of strangers. And because this is not a fairy tale, the heart with which he loved his family so much finally broke beyond repair . . . and our hearts are broken too, but the heartbreak is worth having loved such a strong, brilliant, complex (and yes, curmudgeonly) man.