~June 22, 1927—March 7, 2007~
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
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