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Edward Winslow Coolidge ’90

A picture of Ed Coolidge

Edward Winslow Coolidge ’90, March 8, 2015, in Troy, New York, from brain cancer.

Ed earned a BA from Reed in English literature and wrote his thesis with Prof. Tom Gillcrist [1962–2001] on “The Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor.” After graduation, Ed became a case manager for Janus Youth Programs in Portland. This experience became a foundation for teaching and working with disadvantaged youth. He went on to earn an MFA from the California Institute for the Arts and stayed in Los Angeles for 10 years, teaching, making, and exhibiting art.

In 2008 he moved to Troy, New York, where he taught art and technology at Tech Valley High School, which serves underprivileged youth in the Albany region. Ed excelled in encouraging his students to push artistic boundaries and was a talented academic adviser. In his free time, he renovated an 1890 row house. In 2012, stricken with glioblastoma, he withstood four brain surgeries with a fierce will to live, while continuing to care for his students.

Always a dreamer, at Reed and beyond, Ed was unbounded by his own ideas about the future. His family and many friends will remember his deep love of the outdoors, his epic snow camping trips with fellow Reedies on Mount Hood, his infectious laugh and impish sense of humor, and his ability to forge strong friendships wherever he went. At Reunions 2015, a group of Reedies organized by Lucinda Gilman ’91 and Geoff Houghton ’90 commemorated Ed’s life with a hike around the canyon, reminiscences of kindnesses and misadventures past, and cannon fire.

Ed died holding hands with his mother and his sister, Elizabeth Coolidge Nassikas ’92. Other survivors include his father and stepmother, his brother, and his infant son, Arthur.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2015

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