Edward Eby Jr., Age :71

Jan 24,1950---Feb 10,2021

Edward Eby was born Norman Edward Eby Jr. in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania on January 24, 1950 to Norman and Susan Eby, née Lohman, with joyful big sister Kay doting on her 13 years younger brother. He was born into proud Mennonite heritage through his father, which instilled in him a sense of community, discipline, and determination to pursue his dreams. If he put his mind to something he would master it.

 

Parents, Norman and Susan, brought little Eddie up in their family restaurants, first in Pennsylvania and then in New Mexico, including Eby’s Tearoom. Ed followed in his parents footsteps and loved to cook, and to this day no one can replicate his famous hashbrowns. His love of food was legendary. For a six foot tall bean pole he could clean out any all-you-could-eat seafood establishment and then enjoy a blueberry pie for dessert.

 

As a late teen Ed lived for a time in Florida with his sister Kay and her husband Don. He shared stories of swimming with alligators and crocodiles, and trying out for minor league baseball, his favorite sport. Kay and Don bought Ed his first trombone and celebrated when he received his first big gig with the Glenn Campbell Band.

 

Graduating from North Texas University with a Master’s in Music Education, as a bass trombonist, he was a part of the internationally famed One O'Clock Lab Band. Through the band, he traveled on a State Department tour of Russia and Mongolia. He noted that all he could eat was ice cream and caviar during their tour and loved visiting the Hermitage Museum. That experience gained him a position in the Buddy Rich Band. During this period of his life he was known as “Mudbone” or “Moses,” the world-traveling jazz musician with long curly black hair playing the bass trombone.

 

While at university he met his first wife, Michelle, and the Buddy Rich Band played all night at their wedding. While playing with Buddy Rich, he toured the world in the late 1970s traveling extensively behind the Iron Curtain, throughout Western Europe, and Asia. During this time, Ed was on a few Grammy-nominated jazz albums. Buddy Rich listed him as part of his celebrated album “The Best Band I Ever Had.”

 

Ed then settled in Lake Tahoe to play in the house band at Harrah’s. He played tuba, trombone, and bass trombone for thousands of concerts with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughn, Crystal Gayle, The Smothers Brothers, Dolly Parton and many more celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

In Lake Tahoe, Ed welcomed first born daughter Melody, and his beloved twin boys Christopher and Christian. He pioneered taking your child to work, bringing little Melody to his shows at Harrah’s and giving her a star studded childhood. He regaled his children and future students with “big fish” stories and souvenirs of his world travels and the celebrities he played with as a professional musician. He had a beloved Persian rug that his children played on and he loved to show off the photo he took of Mt. Fuji during a flight.

 

As a boy Ed went to Boy Scout camp in the Jemez Mountains and became an Eagle Scout. He vowed he would someday return to red mesas, pueblos, and pine forests of the Jemez Mountains. In 1987, he brought his young family to The Land of Enchantment and purchased a home named The Promiseland in Seven Springs, NM. He loved sharing the beautiful mountains and forests with his three young children, and his twin boys have many fond memories of fishing at Fenton Lake and getting wood together. He wanted to share everything wonderful this world had to offer with his children and gave them the most magical childhood. He loved his mountains and vowed to never leave them after seeing the world.

 

Ed was so inspired by his music teachers Carl Cramer and Lloyd Higgins of Hummingbird Music Camp, that he became a music teacher to give back. He was known as Mr. Eby, the Jemez Valley Schools’ K-12 music teacher who taught kids everything from “You are my sunshine,” to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” For countless students he was the best teacher they ever had and he inspired kids to love music and learning. He even taught his children to read music before they learned to read saying music is easier as it only goes to the letter “G”. Mr. Eby loved teaching his students witticisms that would last a lifetime, like telling his choir students to sing and project through their foreheads like they had unicorn horns. The school concerts quickly became the stuff of legend. Teaching was a deep calling for him and he liked to say, “What I do is never give up on a kid, man. I like to show my students that somebody does care.”

 

Ed was always a man of many talents and ambitions. As a boy he had dreamed of becoming a doctor. In the early 1990s, being in the mountains he became an EMT “the doctors of the rural areas” as he called them and he joined the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department. He was honored as EMS Instructor of the Year in 1997. He worked at Jemez Pueblo and for the Cuba Health Center in New Mexico for fifteen years, as an EMT and EMS educator, saved countless lives, delivered lots of babies, and taught thousands of people how to save lives.

 

Can you ever know the measure of man? Ed’s positive impact on others was vast. He left incredible musical and medical legacies as a teacher and performer. His greatest gift to this world was his teaching. His legacy lives on in his students.

 

Ed met his greatest love, Cornelia Chiquito from the Navajo Nation, in one of his EMT classes. They spent many wonderful years exploring the Land of Enchantment together including camping at Chaco Canyon. Ed and Corn were married in May 2015. It snowed at their outdoor wedding and thus they had what is affectionately known as the “Blizzard Wedding.” They honeymooned near Seattle. Through their union and blending of families Ed’s heart grew to welcome a total of seven children, fifteen grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

 

Ed had a deep respect for veterans and joined the Patriot Guard Riders with his wife Corn. Through their volunteering they paid homage to many fallen heroes, developed lifelong friendships, and had great adventures, all on their trike motorcycle.

 

On February 10, 2021 he went to the big band concert in the sky at home in his beloved Jemez Mountains, to be reunited with his loving parents, grandparents, best friends Steve Spencer and Michael Murphy, and favorite dogs Kricket and Fluffy. He passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by loved ones after a valiant battle with COVID-19 and ailing health from a stroke a few years earlier. His sense of humor and trickster spirit were legendary, and a mere week before he passed away he stopped breathing, lay still, then he shot straight up and proclaimed “Just kidding!” before drifting off to sleep with a big grin on his face.

 

His adoring fan club remains in the earthly realm, consisting of his devoted wife Cornelia Chiquito Eby, of Seven Springs, NM; daughter Melody Sky Eisler and fiancé James Weaver of Seattle, WA; twin son Christopher Edward Eby and wife Cali and granddaughter Scout of Boise, ID; twin son Christian Robin Eby and wife Ashlee of Boise, ID; sister Kay Chambliss and husband Donald, of Fresno, CA; niece Teri Roltgen and husband Brad, great niece Brittani, and great nephew Brennon of Fresno, CA; and Cornelia’s children Valerie Morgan, Nikki Harrison, Colette Sandoval, William Johnson; grandchildren Chris, Zach, Faith, Chauntelle, Dominique, Demetrius, Ayiana, Avery, JaMee, KaMeel, SaMalachi, Eamon, Jalaah, and Isaiah; and great grandchildren Nizhoni, Isaac, Leilani, Luella, and JaMarcus, all residing primarily throughout the Navajo Nation and New Mexico. His loving animals never left his side while he was under compassionate hospice care including: dogs Dragon, Socks, Molly, and Tiny and his guardian orange tabby cat Susan. Anytime we hear thunder we will know he is playing bass trombone with the Buddy Rich Band again and regaling the heavens with his melodies.

 

Everyone can look forward to a big, beautiful celebration of Ed’s life this summer in New Mexico. Please consider making a donation in Edward Eby’s honor to the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department, 122Twisted Juniper Dr., Jemez Springs, NM 87025, (575) 829-3355.



Condolences

Vickie Medina Luviano Feb 19 ,2021

None ,Espanola ,New Mexico

I am so very sorry for your loss. As I read Mr Eby’s obituary, I believe he had one of the best, joyful, well-lived lives I’ve ever heard of. He truly seemed to be a kind, loving, nurturing soul and I’m so sorry that he left. I laughed out loud at his last “trick”! May our Heavenly Father comfort you as only He can and may your dear husband, daddy, brother and friend rest in perpetual light and peace, playing his music in the celestial band!