Fredrick Edwin (Ed) Denniston
By Jean Nave – Sisters Country Historical Society – J uly 2006


Fredrick Edwin “Ed” Denniston was born in Seattle, Washington, on January 25, 1922, to Albert and Mary (Day) Denniston. He grew up in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and he graduated from the University of Oregon and later, the University of San Francisco Law School.

Denniston was working in Hawaii, as a construction worker at the Honolulu Airport in December 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Not long after that he injured his back and came home to Oregon, joining the US Army Air Corps as a navigator. After World War II, while working at US Steel in San Francisco, Ed met and married the love of his life, Anne Edwardson. They married just before his birthday, on January 22, 1949.

For many years the couple lived in the San Francisco Bay area. From 1952 to 1966 Ed held the position of Head of the Tax Department for the Fiberboard Corporation. In 1966 Ed was offered the position of Vice President – Head of Taxes for Evans Products Company and the couple moved to Portland, Oregon.

After retiring, the couple moved to Black Butte Ranch in 1985. Ed’s love of the Ranch got him involved with helping out, using his unique skills and training in tax law. Ed served on the Ranch Homeowner’s Association Board of Directors from 1980 to 1982. Ed was actively involved with the “turnover” when the homeowner’s association took over ownership and control of Ranch common property from the developer, Brooks Resources.

Brooks Resources Chairman, Mike Hollern said of Ed, “I remember him on the BBR Association Board as a member who delighted in fine print, but who was honest and straight and always had the best interests of the broader BBR community in mind.”

Denniston also played an active and very useful part in helping the Black Butte Ranch Police department become a service district. This was a difficult task, as Black Butte Ranch was not an incorporated city. The state legislature had never before issued a law allowing for the formation of a police service district outside an incorporated city.

Denniston is fondly remembered by Black Butte Ranch General Manager Loy Helmly, summing up his thoughts as follows:

“Ed Denniston was a great resource for Ranch Management. He was an original member of the Association Board of Directors and personally participated with a group of the other property owners in updating the Master Design (the Ranch’s primary governance document) after the Ranch was purchased from Brooks Resources. When questions arouse about Ranch history, governance or just ‘why do we do things the way we do,” Ed was able to help. If he couldn’t remember it precisely, he had a general idea where to look for it and, with his own private library of documents that he had accumulated over the years, he could always find the exact information needed to answer the question.

“Often, when we staff members would draft a ballot document or a business form, we would ask Ed to scrutinize it. He had an eye for detail and he willingly assisted us in fine tuning our information before presenting it to the Board or property owners.

“In his later years, if we made the same mistake twice on a form or some correspondence, he would playfully chide us about it and we would make the correction, promising not to make the mistake a third time. “He was a valuable sounding-board that we enjoyed working with and, to this day, we often ask: ‘I wonder what Ed would do with this situation?’

“But the most enjoyable memory we have of Ed, was that he and his wife, Anne, would bring us homemade fudge at Christmas time, flavored with a hint of Grand Marnier liqueur! Now that was a real treat!”

Ed donated to various charities throughout his life, including Air Life, Habitat for Humanity and the Bend Symphony. He brought his tax law skills to the Black Butte Ranch Historical Society, helping it become a 501c(3) corporation. That organization today is Sisters Country Historical Society.

Ed passed away on November 9, 2003.

Copyright © 2006 Sisters Country Historical Society