[In a recent visit to Edson, he is caught in mid-bite at his breakfast table in front of one of his paintings, in the artistic milieu in which he lived.]While in our hotel room in Winnipeg preparing for the day's events Sunday morning, Virginia and I received word that my oldest brother, Edson, was found dead in his home in Bella Vista, Arkansas. His close friend and companion, Lt. Col. (ret.) Garland McAbee found him and telephoned us while the EMT squad was still present.
Edson was born in Moline, Illinois, to Carl G. and Alice E. E. (Johnson) Newquist. He graduated from Moline High School in 1941 and from the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts in 1945.
Edson worked as an art director and creative director for advertising agencies. He was an art director for Needham, Louis, and Brorby in Chicago, and transferred to their New York City office. He then moved to Benton & Bowles. While on a sabbatical leave, he went to California and decided to move there. While there, he worked for some time as art director for some organizations and then devoted full time to his painting, his writing, and his music.
Edson lived an aesthetic life. While in Los Angeles, he lived in an all steel and glass house that was on the architectural tour. Its living room featured his grand piano.
He then moved to Palm Springs, and in 2003 moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where the climate is more moderate.
Edson's living room in Bella Vista featured some of his wall-size paintings of flowers which became his main interest in his later years. It also featured his grand piano.
Edson has lived with prostate cancer for a number of years and was troubled by reactions to the treatment.
Edson left home to go to college during my early grade school years, so we did not share many childhood memories. Later, we collaborated on a movie script called "The Right Stripe," which was an adaptation of events in an autobiography of a frontier bounty hunter titled Banditti of the Prairies. Edson maintained a creative interest in the musical theater and was involved in writing and music, as well as art, throughout his life.
When I could not find a summer job in my hometown because of a severe recession, I lived with Edson and my brother Ted in Chicago during the time I had a summer job there after my freshmen year in college. I returned the following summer and worked in Chicago while attending college part time before earning enough to return full time. During that time is when Edson moved to New York.
Edson is survived by brothers Ted, Moline, Ill., and David, Aberdeen, S.D., sister-in-law Virginia, nieces Leslie, Denver, and Andrian, nephew David, Aberdeen, and an adopted son, Vadim, New York City. And his art.
Written by David Newquist