Eddie Lee “Ed” Wilsey, 65, of Marsing, Idaho passed away May 21, 2018 in Nampa, Idaho. Ed was born April 12, 1953 in Lewiston, Idaho, the first child of Mark Lewis Wilsey Jr. and Elise Jeanette (Forsman) Wilsey.
At an early age, Ed lived south of Lewiston in Upper Tammany with his maternal grandparents, Carlos and Gertrude (Paris) Forsman. He yearned for the ranching tutelage of his Grandad Forsman who was one of the most influential people in Ed’s life. Ed loved his wild and free days roaming the Craig Mountain/Waha area with cousins James Joseph “Jim” and William Franklin “Deet” Forsman. Ed only left the ranch once his parents told him he had to attend school. Even then, every holiday and summer vacation was spent on the ranch working cattle, breaking horses, haying, or shooting bullfrogs.
Under the guidance of his much-admired Coach Blair Harrington, Ed’s love of sports developed. He participated in football, wrestling and track at Kamiah High School. In 1971, his senior year, Ed was the 185-pound Idaho State Wrestling Champion. The draft for Vietnam was calling, but due to a ranching accident, Ed’s eyesight prevented his passing of the required physical. Ed went on to attend Walla Walla Community College where he played football in the guard position as a Warrior.
On June 2, 1973, Ed married Debra Kay Bowles in Kamiah. He then started his 15-year career as a timber faller and dozer operator working for Dabco, Beryl Lane, Wise Brothers Logging, Carl Finke and Sons. Ed’s logging career had him working in the woods from the Pierce/Headquarters, Idaho area to Unity, Ore. Ed always said that he got paid to do things and see country that others had to pay good money to enjoy. He was referring to his days working with his buddy Al Latch of Kooskia while they trekked throughout the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness/Rhodes Peak area with Lost Lake Outfitters.
Ed began working in the Alaskan Arctic and over a 20-year span worked his way up the ranks from a toilet cleaner to superintendent. After working at Prudhoe Bay, he worked as a gas pipeline job site inspector and then as a line inspector in Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, and California. Throughout all these jobs, Ed has always maintained a cattle ranch and over the last 10 years his efforts have been focused on building a sustainable grass-fed beef business with the help of his wife and family on the McBride Creek Ranch in Owyhee County, Idaho. Longtime area ranchers want to know what their secret business strategies are, as they are the first and only family to be successful on that ranch. He has been fortunate to partner with Bob and Pam Howard to form Dessert Mountain Grass Fed Beef.
Ed is survived by his wife, Debby, daughters Rachel (Jake) Higgins of Melba, Idaho and Lisa of Marsing, Idaho; son Matthew (Nerea) of Nampa; grandchildren Hayden Higgins, Matteo, Isabella, and Amaia Wilsey; sisters T.J. (Danny) Breeze of Kamiah, and Diana (David) Wilsey Geer of Cheyenne, Wyo.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life will be held May 27 at 1 p.m. in Boise, Idaho at the Basque Center, located at 601 W Grove Street. Contributions in Ed’s memory may be mailed to Diana Wilsey Geer, 5606 Dayton Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82009 for the benefit of his grandchildren’s education.
Ed liked to say, “Good people are like good horses and good dogs, you never forget them. The bad ones you get rid of as fast as you can.”