James “Jim” Colin Ede & Julia “Julie” Alice Ede
James “Jim” Colin Ede — December 8, 1932 – December 9, 2020 and Julia “Julie” Alice Ede — August 1, 1931 – June 15, 2021
James “Jim” Colin Ede passed away peacefully of natural causes at his homestead property, the Ede Den, surrounded by his family on December 9, 2020, one day past his 88th birthday.
Just six months later, Julia “Julie” Alice Ede passed away peacefully of natural causes at her daughter Ella’s home, surrounded by her family on June 15, 2021.
Julia was born in Frankfurt, Indiana, to Carter Harrison Wallace and Verna Lee Brock Wallace. Jim was born in Knox, Indiana, to Colin James Ede and Ethel Caroline Ede. He was an only child and attended Purdue University for a year following high school. From 1952-1955, he served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska during the Korean War. He returned to Indiana to complete college on the GI bill and met his high-spirited wife Julie at Indiana University. They married on August 23, 1958. In 1959, Jim and Julie set out for an adventure driving up the Alcan in a VW bus with their 9-year-old son, Stephen, to become educators in the new state of Alaska. They arrived at the Anchorage Park Strip on July 4th to see the 49th Alaska State flag raised. From there, they settled into their first teaching job in Koyukuk, Alaska. Jim and Julie taught school in five rural Alaska villages (Koyukuk, Naknek, Nikolai, Kongiganak, and Selawik) as well as in Wasilla and Anchorage for many years. Jim was very involved in promoting rural education and was president of the National Education Association-Alaska. Julie went on to teach many more years at Chugiak Elementary School until she retired in 1993.
In 1961, Jim and Julie bought their 50-acre homestead property, later called “The Ede Den” in Wasilla, Alaska. Originally a two-room homesteader cabin, over the years, Jim added on to build their dream home furnished in Alaskana-inspired art, raised their three children, Stephen, Diana, and Ella, ran a B&B, and an antique business. In their younger years, they often travelled internationally to Canada, Europe, and Asia and enjoyed many adventures.
Jim and Julie spent years as educators and residents in Alaska villages, dedicated to the local people, culture, and traditions. They both had a strong sense of justice and commitment to making the world they lived in a better place. The quote, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” often attributed, in one version or another, to Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, and others, did not apply to Jim and Julie. They devoted their lives to achieving the principles of justice and the betterment of the people and societies in which they lived.
Jim and Julie were both very active in state-wide and community organizations, including arts, education, historical, and political groups over the past 63 years. They enjoyed their collectible cars and were involved with the Antique Auto Mushers and the British Car Club. They were active members of the Alaska Democratic Party, Palmer Elks Club, Alaska Pioneer Fruitgrowers Association, the Alaska Hemlock Society, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PLAG), and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Jim shared a passion for reading, antiques, woodworking, beekeeping, gardening, wine making, Dixieland jazz, and vintage cars. He was a master tinkerer and could fix almost anything. He restored old clocks, horse carriages, and built canes and coat trees from Alaska burled wood. Jim and Julie frequently toured the US attending classic car and antique shows, jazz festivals, and political events.
Julie was very active on the board of the Wasilla Library until 2010. As a longtime teacher, she was passionate about teaching kids to read and promoting literacy. Julie was instrumental in the successful campaign to build a new public library in Wasilla, which she was thrilled to see opened in 2016. Julie visited the library every week to check out books and it was one of her proudest accomplishments to have been part of the campaign for the new library.
If you were family or friends with Julie, she never forgot a birthday and called or visited often. She was known for her generosity and kindness. She once came home from the grocery store with an entire family who needed a place to stay. She was an amazing hostess and threw the best parties and never showed up empty handed to someone’s home. The Ede Den annual Halloween party was legendary and continues to be an Ede family tradition.
Over the years, Jim and Julie made many friends all over the state. They never knew a stranger and went by the old Alaska practice of paying it forward and always helping a friend or neighbor in need. Jim and Julie leave behind a legacy of many close friends. Jim was survived by his wife of 62 years until she passed away on June 15, 2021. They are both survived by Julie’s sister, Norma Wallace of Sedona, Arizona; their three children, Stephen (Peggy), Diana (Mark), and Ella (Tom); Selawik daughter, Lydia Foxglove; Caregiver, Marcie Miller; eight grandchildren Alex, Candace, Julia (Nathan), Taylor (Brian), Carter, Tatum, Colin, and Sabrina; and one great-grandchild Maverick James, all of Alaska.
A memorial for Jim and Julie will be held at The Ede Den, 2556 S. Davis Rd., Wasilla, on Sunday, September 12, 2021, at 2:00 pm. All family and friends are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Jim or Julie’s names be made to the Wasilla Public Library.