Written by F. Proni
Many of us in the neon industry have had the great opportunity to learn, work with, and interact with Ed Waldrum, the founder of the Ed Waldrum School of Neon, Irving, Texas. For those of you who knew him, Ed was a vibrant man with a deep instilled passion for neon and teaching. He was a true American, a veteran, and a great supporter of our craft. Ed passed away this week at the age of 83. He will truly be missed.
Waldrum, Ed 83, of Irving, passed away on July 21, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Mary Waldrum, children, Steve Waldrum & wife, Kathy, Garry Waldrum & wife, Kim, Rob Waldrum & wife, Kristi, Kimberly Waldrum, 9 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, son-in-law, James Leach, brothers, E.K. Waldrum and wife, Jeanette, Gene Waldrum and wife, Liz. Preceded in death by daughter, Judy Leach and brother, B.J. Waldrum. Visitation will be held on Friday evening from 6:30PM-8:30PM. Funeral services on Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 10:00AM at Chapel of Roses Funeral Home. Masonic gravesite rites will be performed at Oak Grove Memorial Gardens. Chapel of Roses Funeral Home, 1225 E. Irving Blvd., Irving, TX. 75060, (972)554-1031, www.chapelofrosesfh.com
E H Waldrum began his distinguished neon career upon the completion of service to his country in 1947, where he attended the Texas Neon School in Denton, Texas for a five month enrollment. His first job in Albuquerque, New Mexico solidified the essential techniques he learned during his training, enabling him to relocate back to the Fort Worth area where he later formed a partnership with a local neon sign company.
In 1953 Ed expanded his horizons and joined Texlite, a large Texas based mass neon sign manufacturer who was responsible for producing the well known and historically admired Mobil Flying Horse. His work at Texlite included neon signage for US Royal Tire, Texaco, Conoco and Firestone. Ed's next career step brought him to JF Zimmerman and Sons, Inc. - the oldest sign company in Texas.
After several years of mass neon sign experience, Mr. Waldrum began traveling the midwest spending much of his time throughout Texas and Oklahoma aiding in the repair of storm damaged neon and custom contract glass work. His endeavors invited him into over 80 neon shops at the time. Tired of traveling and with a few dollars in his pocket Ed began Waldrum Neon Sales and Service. In 1963, in coordination with siblings and family, he founded the Waldrum Sign Company. Hard work, dedication, and the following of the American dream led this company to later employ 103 employees, servicing all facets of the sign industry large and small. He retired from the company in the early 1980's
After an eminent career in the sign and neon sign industries, Ed found himself yearning to teach his passion to the world around him. The Ed Waldrum School of Neon was founded in the mid 1980's and has graduated over 300 students since its conception. Mr. Waldrum has proudly taught and mentored individuals spanning the globe. Students have attended from as far away as London, New Zealand, Kenya, and South Africa, not to mention the numerous regions of the United States that possess "Waldrum Trained" glass benders. Today many of these alumni are active participants in the neon trade. Some have started their own companies, been employed by large corporations, and others have moved on to other aspects of advertising.
Ed Waldrum's fifty plus years of experience, great personality, and friendly attitude is what the "The Greatest Generation” was made of.