Cover photo for Harry "Ed" Edwin Berkheimer's Obituary
1938 Ed 2024

Harry "Ed" Edwin Berkheimer

March 7, 1938 — February 7, 2024

Boiling Springs

Harry Edwin “Ed” Berkheimer, age 85 of Boiling Springs passed away on February 7, 2024. Ed was born on March 7, 1938 in Mechanicsburg to the late Jacob Berkheimer and Ruth (Miller) Berkheimer. In addition to his parents, Ed is preceded in death by his sister, Gretchen.

Ed’s survivors include his wife of 65 years, Marjorie (Gutshall) and their four children: David Berkheimer of Mechanicsburg, Carol (Long) and her husband David of Mechanicsburg, Stephen Berkheimer of Mechanicsburg, and Cheryl (Kugler) and her husband Jon of Carlisle; his six grandchildren: Tyler and Kyra Long, Bradley, Elizabeth, Courtney and Blake Berkheimer. As well as his sisters: Susie of Shippensburg and Sally of Mechanicsburg.

Ed grew up and worked on his family’s farm near Wiliams Grove in Monroe Township. He attended Reiffs one-room schoolhouse from first grade through eighth until it’s closing. After a short attendance at Boiling Springs High School, he completed his High School years at Cumberland Valley High School in 1956. Ed played on the school’s first football team in the position of Left End.

After graduating he worked at J.H. Rearick Lumber Yard in Dillsburg. He then began the Apprentice program in the Carpenter’s Union, Local #287 and worked for H.B. Alexander for eight years. During four of those years, he attended Night School during the winter months as part of his apprenticeship. His children hold fond memories of the annual summer Carpenter’s Union picnic held at various fun locations. They remember being told to “fill your plates” as they went through the serving line. Whatever they couldn’t finish, he would with great gusto!

As young parents of four children, Ed and Marjorie provided a wonderful upbringing to them. The family lived in the same one-room schoolhouse that Ed attended in his youth. Ed’s father, Jake purchased the property from Monroe Township when the one room schoolhouses were closed to consolidate into the larger School Districts that were being formed. Jake and Ed remodeled the schoolhouse into a 3-bedroom house which became the young family’s wonderful home in the country. Many of Ed and Marjorie’s family and friends along with their children came to visit the schoolhouse over the years enjoying playing tag, badminton, learning to ride bikes, catching fireflies, watching fireworks, grilling and generally enjoying what life had to offer in simpler times. Ed and Marjorie kept their family busy. Whether it was doing chores, tending a garden or participating in different activities like walking in the local woods, fishing in the Yellow Breeches or Pinchot Lake, exploring the Gettysburg battlefield and Devil’s Den, ice skating, camping, bowling, scouting, canoeing, sailing, and swimming.

Many will remember the huge parties that Ed and Marjorie had both at the schoolhouse and their home in White Rock Acres. Pig Roasts with Hay Wagon rides and Oyster / Clam Roasts were their favorite types of parties. Ed built a unique picnic table that had enough seating for most of the guests and it was 24 feet long! 

Ed eventually left the Union to work for a House Builder and in 1970 he became an Independent Home Builder. He went on to build over 100 custom homes during his long career which lasted until he retired in 2008. Most of the homes that he built were of the Williamsburg Colonial Style. He made numerous trips to Williamsburg, Virginia to study the architecture and details that influenced his style. Quality workmanship was his goal and that is exactly what he accomplished throughout his career. He was a one-man operation – the architect, the designer and the builder. Ed always understood the right thing to do, what to do and how to do it. He shared that philosophy with the many people who encountered him on his jobs throughout the years. He had a lot of fun working with fellow builders, subcontractors, suppliers, painters, roofers, drywall installers, concrete drivers, etc. They often benefited from his wise and practical way of doing things but were never immune from his teasing and practical joking. He could build a house from a simple drawing on a piece of wood or paper without the aid of blueprints, much to the chagrin of the bank lending officers and township zoning officers. As the building industry changed and incorporated newer technology and plans generated from computers, he was of the “old school” and would often find errors that would have compromised the integrity of his project. He claims that “he really didn’t need any of it”. The one advancement that he did appreciate was cell phones which were of tremendous value to him as he didn’t have to leave the job site to make calls during the day on the landline at home. Anyone fortunate enough to have Ed as their home builder was rewarded with a solid, quality-built home that will withstand the test of time.

The family moved in 1973 to the mountains to live in a house Ed designed and built in White Rock Acres. He lived in that home for the remainder of his life. His Bassett Hound, Phyllis Agnes BARKheimer was a faithful companion during the years he was building homes in White Rock Acres. She could find her way to his various jobs throughout the years in a timely fashion as to be there upon the arrival of the midmorning lunch trucks that circulated to construction sites back in the day. Plenty of hot dogs were consumed by Agnes along with many unsuspecting worker’s brown bag lunches. Sometimes notes would accompany Agnes home that said something to the affect “This dog ate my lunch”. And sometimes Ed would be on the hook for more than his own lunch because of her.

Having grown up close to the Williams Grove Speedway, auto racing became a passion of his that he followed his entire life. He enjoyed dirt track late models, sprint cars, demolition derbies, drag racing and Indy Car racing. His sons to this day have carried on his tradition of traveling to the Indianapolis 500 over Memorial Day weekend after being included on his trips at a young age. They probably learned some things that weren’t appropriate for them at the time as most of Ed’s buddies were quite the characters. His son David inherited his racing passion and is currently competing on the USAC Silver Crown Race Series traveling to various historic tracks East of the Mississippi to compete on the circuit.

Cars and motors were a big hobby in Ed’s life, especially in the 1950’s era. If he could have any of his cars back it would be his all-time favorite, the ’55 Chevy Convertible. He also owned several Corvettes throughout his life and appreciated the style and options that were available during the mid-year models of 1963 through 1967. When his daughter Carol married David, they drove away from the Church in his 1966 red Corvette.

Ed enjoyed music and learned to play the guitar in his 30’s. Traditional folk music and finger picking were the styles he aspired to play. He had a good teacher who helped him become a decent player. Ed looked up to Doc Watson as his hero.

As an avid sportsman from an early age, Ed spent his free time exploring the Yellow Breeches and South Mountains – fishing and hunting with rifles and bow & arrows. He was a member of the Carlisle Fish and Game for 40 years and was actively involved with the 3D Archery shoots. He enjoyed participating in the shoots with his daughter Cheryl, son-in-law Jon and grandson Tyler, along with many longtime friends he met through the years. Tradition was very important to Ed and Recurve Bows were his standard. For many years he attended The Eastern Traditional Rendezvous Archery Festival at Sawmill. The first year he attended with his Grandson Tyler he said he felt like a kid again because they camped, cooked their meals over an open fire, fished, participated in the archery courses and enjoyed evenings sitting around the campfire. Many stories were told around those campfires and for a young Tyler they were quite entertaining but maybe a bit mature for his age.  Until the end, you could find Ed at the shooting range on Sunday mornings hanging out with his fellow shooters.

He also belonged to the Shippensburg Fish and Game where he participated in competitive Black Powder Cartridge competitions. For a decade he traveled to Raton, NM for 10 years to compete in the Black Powder Cartridge National Championships. Two different years, the organizers of the competition used Ed’s likeness on their souvenir programs and T-shirts.

Ed was asked (or volunteered by Marjorie) to build the Gazebo at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs. The Boiling Springs Civic Association sponsored the project through a donation specifying the funds to be used for a Gazebo. His son Stephen and another carpenter built the structure in May of 1995. The Gazebo is used for many special events like weddings (two of Ed’s children were married in it), prom pictures and community events. With the Appalachian Trail passing by it, many a thru-hiker will remember passing through the beautiful town of Boiling Springs.

Ed enjoyed reading, especially about the early Indian Wars, Lewis and Clark, mountain men and the settlement of the West. The West always intrigued Ed and his passion for history, geography and curiosity of the land drove him to travel there extensively. His destinations included New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, South and North Dakota, Idaho and especially his favorite state of all – Montana. The friends that he traveled with and the friends that he met along the way were all very important to him. 

The world is a better place having had Ed in it. His family and friends will miss him greatly as he valued his relationships with them above all else. The lasting tribute to him will be for the people who knew and loved him to remember his enjoyment of life, his depth of knowledge on a variety of topics, his storytelling and his inherent work ethic, integrity and wisdom.   

“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” - Confucius

All are welcome to join Ed’s family at his Celebration of Life on Saturday, September 7, 2024, from 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Gazebo at Children's Lake, Boiling Springs, PA 17007.  Cremation was private.

 

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 7, 2024

11:00am - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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