7/31/2013 9:53:00 AM Editorial Prescott Valley community mourns loss of 'teddy bear' team player
Prescott Valley lost a premier supporter and community builder this past Sunday with the sudden passing of Ed Lepordo, who died while golfing with friends.
Just this past Friday, friends and community members filled the ballroom at the Prescott Resort for the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet and community service awards. Ed was there, and received an award for his longtime assistance with the Chamber's annual golf tournament.
Ed and his wife, Donna, built a home in the Prescott Country Club in June 1992, and he took over McWhite's North American Van Lines shortly after that, Donna said. She called Ed a "big teddy bear" who naturally helped people.
That he certainly was, and that he certainly did.
Ed always had a twinkle in his eye and a welcoming grin behind his bushy beard. As one of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce's early board presidents, he supported new programs and directed the director to "get it done."
The first photo Tribune reporter Cheryl Hartz shot of Ed for the Tribune was to promote the inaugural Pronghorn Golf Classic - the avid golfer's brainchild and favorite Chamber fundraiser.
Ed and new executive director Lew Rees had their golf clubs out and Ed hoisted Lew onto his shoulder as if he were subduing an opponent on the links. It was a great way to show their always-present senses of humor, and set the scene for the many encounters to come, including one of the pair in a hang glider.
Ed stayed ready to help his adopted community. Not only did he assist in the planning, he participated. Spend a December night huddled around a burn barrel to promote Burning Desire to Feed the Hungry? Provide a truck at the Flying High Turkey Drive to load donations for the food bank? Go out and pick up trash for Team Up to Clean Up? Check. No problem, no problem, no problem.
When the Arizona Sundogs professional hockey club was in danger of folding and leaving the town's arena without a major tenant, Ed stepped in as an investor in Mile High Hockey LLC.
And long before taking ownership, Ed contributed by sponsoring the Toys for Kids program, where 40 less-privileged children got an arena tour, met the Sundogs in their locker room, and received toys from McWhite's along with team merchandise.
One Prescott Valley business person said what just about everyone would say about Ed: "If you needed anything, he was there."
Ed also always was ready with a hug and an encouraging word. Things just won't be the same at Tim's Toyota Center - or anywhere in Prescott Valley - without Ed Lepordo, but his legacy of giving and doing will live on.