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Ed Goldstein

Ed Goldstein
~June 22, 1927—March 7, 2007~

Ed’s beloved dome in Dome Valley

Ed’s beloved dome in Dome Valley

Goldstein was Dome Valley icon

—AVIVA BROOKS AND JOEL GOLDSTEIN
Edward M. Goldstein, twenty-six-year resident of Dome Valley in Placitas, died of natural causes in Albuquerque, on March 7, at the age of seventy-nine.

While Ed did not start his life in New Mexico, and in fact settled there only in midlife by a particularly circuitous and unusual route, his mountainside home in Placitas was the place Ed ultimately chose to spend the rest of his life—his house of dreams.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 22, 1927, to Joseph and Anna (Stern) Goldstein, both children of immigrants, Ed graduated from Brookline High School in 1945. After completing his service in the U.S. Army, where he worked as a tank mechanic at Fort Hood, Texas, Ed attended Clark University, where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1950. He received his Master’s in Education from Northeastern University in 1959.

Ed developed a strong and abiding interest in archaeology as a young man, and he nurtured that interest throughout his life. He was particularly passionate about Native American culture and languages. It was Native American archaeological digs that first brought Ed to New Mexico for a few summers in the late 1940s. Another of Ed’s passions, the then-nascent State of Israel, led him to Hebrew University in Jerusalem for coursework in archeology during the summers of the early 1950s.

While in Israel, Ed met and married his first wife. In 1952, they returned to the United States, settling in Massachusetts where their two children, Joel and Aviva were born. Ed divorced in 1959, and later remarried and moved with his second wife and her children to Rhode Island, where their daughter Anne was born.

In Rhode Island, Ed was actively involved in efforts by Native Americans, particularly the Narragansett tribe, to rediscover their culture and languages. Among other things, he wrote a lexicon of the Narragansett language, which had almost completely died out.

In 1970, after divorcing his second wife, Ed immigrated to Israel with Joel, Aviva, and Anne. They were met there by Ed’s stepson, Tom Nordstrom, who had preceded them to Israel. Ed and his family lived in Jerusalem, where Ed worked first as a rehabilitation counselor and then as a high school teacher. During his final years in Israel, Ed lived on several kibbutzim in northern Israel.

In 1980, Ed returned to the U.S. and settled in Placitas, New Mexico. Here Ed purchased his “Zome Dome,” the place he would call home for the next twenty-six years. Built in the late 1960s with an exterior “skin” of metal panels recycled from junked automobiles, the Dome was always a work in progress, and never, ever looked like the “little boxes made of ticky-tacky” which Ed so lovingly mocked. Originally the Dome was multi-colored, reflecting the various vehicles from which the metal siding was taken. Ed eventually painted the Dome silver, making it an even more distinctive, if somewhat improbable, landmark on the side of the Sandia Mountains.

Over the years, Ed improved the Dome with the addition of a well and running water, a shower stall, a chemical toilet, and the thousands of books which always seemed to line the walls wherever Ed chose to live. Ed labored for years piling rocks to hold in the hillside terraces that he built by hand. Nonetheless, the Dome never lost its rustic, pioneer character—just the way Ed liked it.

Ed’s unwavering love for and curiosity about his religion and the connection between all religions often served as a bond between him and the many people with whom he shared his thoughts and reflections. His insatiable appetite for books, learning, and reading often provided for hours of conversation. When people weren’t around, Ed found companionship with several generations of dogs. For the last eight years, Rosie, a sweet and lazy black Labrador mix, kept Ed company with the thump-thump-thump of her affectionate tail.

Ed’s love for the natural beauty around him, the culture of his adopted state and Native American history, language and traditions eventually led him to start his private tour business known as Okupin Tours. For many years, in his white van with a magnetic emblem of the Okupin Turtle, Ed drove tourists to Native American sites all around New Mexico while providing his own unique blend of historical and anthropological commentary.

Health problems eventually forced Ed to leave his beloved mountainside Dome. He moved to an assisted living facility in Albuquerque in August of 2006. He passed away on March 7 at the University of New Mexico Hospital, surrounded by family and friends.

Ed leaves his brother Stanley of Concord, Massachusetts; son Joel Goldstein and his wife Megan Branman of Los Angeles, California; daughter Aviva Brooks and her husband Douglas Brooks of Dedham, Massachusetts; daughter Anne Maxson of Cedar Crest, New Mexico, and grandchildren Nathaniel Maxson and Gabriel Maxson also of Cedar Crest, New Mexico; stepson Tom Nordstrom and his wife Hattie Spears of Placitas, and grandchildren Chaim Nordstrom of Albuquerque, and Naomi Nordstrom of Denver.

A memorial service will be held on June 3, 2007, at 2:00 p.m., at the home of Evie and Norm Bennett, 107 Crestview Court, in the Diamond Tail subdivision of Placitas.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made by mail to The Chaplaincy Program, Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, 5520 Wyoming Boulevard NE, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Donations may also be made online by going to http://www.jfsnm.org.

[A self-described “curmudgeon,” readers may recall Ed’s travel writing in the Signpost years ago and, more recently, his stirring letters to the Gauntlet.]

 

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