I met Ed Quillen via email in 2007 when he asked me if I’d be interested in writing a column about water issues for Colorado Central Magazine. I was jazzed that he would consider me as a freelancer. I had read his columns in The Denver Post for years and admired his analysis of current events and insight into Colorado’s history. It seems now that he never failed to make me laugh, often out loud, as I read his stuff.
I never asked him how he came to the decision to reach out to me, I always assumed that he had stumbled on Coyote Gulch while searching for water news on the Internet. I remember asking him in email, after I had told him that I’d love to be part of his magazine, “Is this a paying gig?”
Ed replied, “Colorado Central pays a nickel a word, often late.”
I finally met Ed in person at a Colorado Central potluck in October of 2010. I recognized him of course and said, “Hi, I’m John Orr.”
Ed stated, matter-of-factly, “The water guy.” That label meant more to me that he’ll ever know. As the Indian Summer afternoon wound down in the Quillen back yard I realized that most people there genuinely liked Ed and all were proud to be his friend. A few talked about what a pillar of the community he was.
At last year’s potluck I complimented him on his writing style and the use of humor to make a point. He told me, “I can’t sit down and tell you how I do it, it just comes.”
If there is a heaven I believe that Ed is probably rattling around in the mountains there driving an old Volkswagen bus just as he and Martha did in Colorado early in their marriage.