Ed DeMartini – 09 April 1934 – 08 July 2012

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    Ed DeMartini 9 April 1934– July 8, 2012


    Ed DeMartini battled with Mother Nature for seven years and, as in many cases, lost on 8 July 2012. This memorial dedication is a mix of personal regards and an interview from Lanciana Spring of 2005. The interview has been edited; the personal regards are not edited. If I overlooked a personal request from you, please send it now and it will be added to the website. Steve Snyder [ jsteve34@sonic.net ]

    My Dad, better known as Ed, and the wind-beneath-his-wings, Terry, always did an amazing job planning Lancia Reunions including wonderful locations, sumptuous meals and an interesting rally route (with the help of Leo and Bev) . For all of the rallies I attended, my Dad was the President of the club, holder of several Lancia pink slips, owned a treasure trove of “valuable” spare parts, and was truly a Lancia car and Lancia people devote. Leading up to each event, my Dad spent all his time making sure that the plans for all of us to have a wonderful experience were complete, I would even go as far as to say perfected. He also spent much money treating us, his six children and our families, so that we could all attend. In the end, sometimes he wouldn’t have enough time to prepare his car to perfection and at least once was unable to bring one of his Lancias at all – but the rally and event were perfection! My Dad really, really loved Lancias but he loved us, his family and all the Lancia people, even more. – Lisa DeMartini, Ed’s Daughter

    Lisa, Now that you started a story telling conversation, I have to tell you about the most exciting moment I experienced with Ed. We were following the 1990 Mille Miglia Retro. in a Lancia Dedra (?) just south of Asolo, Italy when we came into an intersection with the M.M. cars. Ed inadvertently pressed on the clutch instead of the brake. As we went flying into the corner, Ed took a sharp right turn next to a M.M. car. Caught lots of attention. I can see the headlines now: “Lancia journalist’s car crashes into a million dollar Alfa Romeo”. Regards, Steve 13 Jul 2012

    Whether it was a commemorative plaque or a T-shirt, Ed’s talent for design was shared by many. On one occasion it was a special plague to Bob and Nubby Dudley for the hospitality they offered Lancia members on numerous occasions at their home on Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. I took it to Bob when he was bed ridden from a stroke. The plaque that “said it all” created a tremendous amount of emotion. Unforgettable. Steve Snyder, 13 July 2012

    Hi Ho Steverino,

    I didn’t really know Ed very well. But there are two things I wanted to share. First has to do with the annual Lancia Club-Maserati Club Bocce Ball Event at Preston Vineyards in Healdsburg. This event went on for ten years, a pretty long time for such things. For the first 5 years, John Sexton ran the event; when he moved to Europe, I took it over for the last 5 years. (John should get full marks for this, because he thought it up, found the vineyard, and even joined the wine club so that he could get access to the courts. Unfortunately, the owner, Lou Preston, is a bit of a putz, and he finally told me that he didn’t want any large groups anymore, after Jim Leddy invited the Lamborghini Club without telling anyone). But the real star of the event was Ed. This is because he was the only person who really knew anything about bocce. He oversaw the event, and carefully measured every close call with his ever-present measuring stick. Ed had a demeanor that told you right away that he knew what he was doing and I think that made everyone comfortable. In short, he was a pleasure to be around, although I must add (and I think that I attended all ten), all the attendees were pretty nice people (good thing we didn’t invite the Ferrari Club or Porsche Club). The second thing I remember is that Ed made the most desirable awards I have ever seen, and I am even counting the ostentatious “trophies” at the big name shows. I have one on my desk here as I am typing this. It says, “2nd 1985 West Coast Reunion Lancia Concourse” and it has a beautiful imprinted tile in a shadow box, with a silver medal on top of Vincenzo Lancia at the wheel, and a backdrop of red, green and silver ribbons. I collect a lot of things, and spend a lot of time doing it, and this is one of my most treasured possessions. I suspect that Ed even planned the 1985 Reunion at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, which was a wonderful event (I need to get a copy of the black and white photo of all the attendees because I am there with my dog Ryan). Ed had a big personality and it was impossible not to like him. I wish I had gotten to know him better, but we lived too far apart for that. Like many people in the Lancia Club, he had a high IQ and a love for the marque, and he even restored a few cars. I am a sedan guy, so I appreciated that. Ed and Terry were a warm and welcoming presence in the Lancia Club, and I am grateful that I got to meet him.

    b.e. Brandes Elitch, 21 July 2012

    Steve, I have three stand out memories of Ed. The first was at the Ashland reunion, our first, which I think he organized, where he seemed larger than life and so welcoming to newcomers. There was a costume dinner where we won best costumes (almost no one else dressed up!) and he was very funny about that. Another memory is of the Gold Country Jackson Hole reunion where we had Saturday dinner at an Italian restaurant, lots of lively Italian banter where Ed seemed really in his element and again brought real genuine life to the event. Finally, we were in Brescia at the Mille Miglia with John Stuckey and Kim Grenco when I had great fun shooting you and Ed in your photog rigalia taking pix of the all cars at the start. Seems to me Ed lived the Lancias in a wonderful, genuine way many of the rest of us could only dream of. Best, John, 22 July 2012 [ John Keppleman ]

    I guess our enduring memory of Ed was the bocce ball contests between the Lancia and Maserati clubs he organized at Preston Winery. It was our favorite Lancia meet of the year, close (for us), and low key, with lots of good friends, good food, and good wine. He was at his best then. Steve Katzman, 22 July 2012

    I don’t have the writing prowess which Brandy or John have, nor did I really know Ed as well or as long. But, I certainly do remember him well from the few times I did get to meet him. Besides being a big man, he really seemed larger than life to me. From his large stature to his deep laugh and authoritative voice. He was a natural to be the club president. His enthusiasm for the marque and the club was infectious and any event I attended which included the De-Martini’s was always quite enjoyable. Even from the very first events I’d attended, it always felt very friendly and a little like having a family. All my blood family is in Colorado, so it was always great attending Lancia Club events where even a “financially challenged” and much younger person felt welcome simply by virtue of having a Lancia (even if it was only a “FIAT-Lancia”).

    I remember an event which ended up having snacks at the DeMartini’s place afterwards and being quite impressed with their hospitality and friendliness of sharing their home with the group turnout after the event.

    Also, I remember quite well (as Brandy mentioned) Ed’s helping all of the drunk Maserati and Lancia people get through the Bocce tournaments with the help of his trusty yard stick. (honestly, I think I did much better than the others simply by virtue of not being much of a wine fan and not drinking!). In any case, I won at least one of those events and I have a small drawer full of Lancia trophies from my time in the club. Brandy already described them well and pointed out they are quite nice. I loved the metal frames with the tiles and Italian flag colored ribbons. I sure felt like big stuff or important people any time I got hold of another one. Being a part of the Lancia club really felt like something special.

    I’m sorry I don’t have much more than that. I just didn’t get to see him (or the rest of the club members) as much as I’d have liked to. The last time for me to see Ed was in Italy 2006 for the 100 year event. And that’s just as good a way (and place) to remember him as a guy could hope for…. seeing a guy do what he loved to do.

    David Bothum, 23 July 12012

    Ed embraced life to the fullest. He was passionate about all things Italian, not just his beloved Lancias. This spirit did, of course, validate my enthusiasm for the cars, the food, history, music, wines, and architecture of Italia…”tutto sempre!”

    He served as a regal and wise President of the American Lancia Club and he was always a good leader without micro-managing. He could motivate and delegate responsibilities. He also really looked and embodied “the part,” like an Italian car club “presidente” should look! He was always welcoming to new club members. It seemed that just owning a Lancia would earn you a wonderful Italian dinner at the DeMartini house, and somehow Terry would graciously put up with too much car talk throughout dinner! Another one of Ed’s core club philosophies was a “Lancia is a Lancia.” Treat a young enthusiast with a basket-case Y-10 no differently than a wealthy enthusiast with a restored ex-works Lancia D25. So we never paid “appearance money,” and everyone was asked to help “clean up” each event and share the expenses. Ed and I worked well together for a decade when I was Club VP West Coast.

    I enjoyed my last chat with him, fittingly, at lunch in Italy in 2006, and damned if he didn’t get me to buy another of his famous Lancia tee-shirts! I’ll miss his contagious passion for life and Lancias. John “Gianni” Sexton, 23 July 2012

    Very sad to hear about Ed. I had spoken to him several times over the years and met him at various car events, most notably Concorso Italiano.

    I spoke to Ed when I was in the process of beginning a serious restoration effort on my Appia series 3 Berlina. Ed gave me some very good advice regarding what to do and who to have it done by. Very helpful since I was new to the restoration effort. He recommended a paint shop that did a great job painting the Appia in the original color.

    Ed encouraged me to give the Appia a serious restoration, kind of a pep talk, on how great cars they are and how they deserve to be restored and preserved. He was correct. Super little car to drive. He also owned a Flavia sedan if I am not mistaken, I saw it at Concorso one year. Too bad I can not share my Flavia with him. I remember talking to him about the Flavia and that certainly influenced me in my decision to buy the Flavia coupe last year.

    He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I hope that his Lancias go to good homes.

    Tony Corbelletta, 24 July 2012

    I have great memories of Ed and Terry De Martini. I met them about 18 years ago and through Steve Snyder; from whom I had been trying to buy an old Fulvia Coupe that had been sitting at Fantasy Junction in Emeryville. Steve invited me to come to a club meeting to be held at Preston winery in Sonoma for a Bocci Ball picnic between Lancia and Meserati which was organized by Ed. Ed and Terry were very welcoming and because of them and Steve, I quickly joined the Lancia Club with no Lancia as yet.
    Ed was the kind of person who was always there for me and I recall calling him on numerous occasions with questions about Lancia and when he and I went off topic, we would discuss Italian history of which I was always keen to hear his take on it. I loved being his audience and there are many occasions we would be invited to his house to share a meal with his family, on many occasions these dinner trips would be with one or two of my kids that Terry would shower with love. My daughter Elspeth always loved going to Ed’s House and staying over night. She says that Terry and the rest of the family made her feel welcome. He always talked about how his kids and grand kids were doing, and extremely proud of their success. To me this is the mark of what Ed was always about; his family and friends.
    He also knew how I loved his stories and as a matter of fact, not a single time of our time together that he did not tell me about the Genovese dog story. he always knew that it would rock me off the chair!!! I loved the man. He will be surely missed.
    Sam Mathau, 24 July 2012

    I first met Ed at the ’85 Tahoe reunion, my first. I felt a bit the outsider, but of course Ed welcomed me like a long lost brother. When I think of Ed, which is just about any time that I look at one of my Lancias, I hear that great basso profundo voice and feel my hand in his viselike grip. Twenty years later we sat in boat in the middle of Lake Tahoe enjoying a picnic lunch with Terry and Ed and Armand and Shirley Giglio. Armand and I had rented a boat while the girls ran to store with Ed to secure provisions. Kim was exasperated when the group rejoined us at the marina because the women had prepared a luscious picnic and prepared to check out, only to find Ed still perusing the wine selection, which took yet another twenty minutes. That was the perfect snapshop of Ed to me; always up for spontaneous fun, but never sacrificing perfection. Regards, John (Stuckey, 26 July ’12)

    What comes to mind immediately is that time Ed showed up at the West Coast Reunion (I think it was) dressed up as Vincenzo himself, probably some 10-15 years ago, or maybe more. I think a photo (or sketch) of him dressed in the vintage costume graced the cover of a Lanciana magazine that I kept for years. But (sadly) I gave away most of my Lancia stuff to the friend of Todd Radke who bought my Scorpion in Oct. 2010. Jim McCroskey, 26 July 2012

    Ed was a good man with the usual artist’s view of the world. Good company and a fair cook. You and I have been lucky to go through all of the Lancia foolishness with people like Ed and Bob Dudley. It certainly was fun. Chris Christianson, 26 July

    Thoughts of Ed De Martini from the Thurston’s.

    We are heartbroken with the news of Ed’s passing. He was missed at our last reunion in Jerome and will be greatly missed at future gatherings. Our hearts go out to Terri and the family as we know you will miss him every day. He openly shared his special relationship of life with wife Terri. Ah, the endless stories.
    He will live on due to our 25 plus years of shared fond memories from our annual West Coast Lancia Club reunions. Our Car Family /Club Members acknowledge and appreciate Ed’s far reaching and numerous contributions.
    Proudly, Ed De Martini served a healthy reign as West Coast Club President and Lanciana editor. Both tasks were commensurate with his infectious enthusiasm, technical knowledge, pretty cars, and dedication to all things Italian. Ed was quick to share a ride, officiate a bocce ball game, and insure that every attendee enjoyed the special events, food, drink, scenery and all. Not only were Ed’s cars impeccably and lovingly restored, he was eager to recognize others with his thoughtful plaques and colorful awards.
    Of special note and gratitude, after the passing of my father and Nancy’s husband, Willis Thurston, he awarded the first “Spirit of Vincenzo” award. We were touched.
    This 2012-13 year should be dedicated to Ed who lived the credo “Viva Italia and all things Italian“, including love of family, food, sport (including his son’s shot putting), cars, and his signature white shirts. He is well remembered as kingpin of the circle of Lancia mechanics around the hood of a car discussing calibrations, tweaks, leaks, miscellaneous parts and quarks.
    Ed De Martini, a great man who will be greatly missed. Nancy and Julie Thurston, Alan too. 29 July 2012

    My memories of Ed are of a big guy with a wonderful way of embracing everything and everyone around him. I visited him at home a couple of times to chase down some Flaminia parts. It was a fun afternoon of being allowed into the hoard of a fellow Lancia nut. Ed was going through the shop pulling out items trying to remember where he had last seen the hunted object,while his running commentary on parts, cars, and life ran on. Another trip yielded a spare Flaminia motor ,one of several that he was trying to liquidate for the Dudley clan, a good will gesture on his part.
    Ed is missed. Lancia gatherings will be diminished without his presence.
    Regards, Gary Dowling, 31July 2012

    I will miss Ed. He was a wonderful friend and the most interesting person that I have ever met. His vast interests and talents make him a true renaissance man. He was a wonderful family man and a loving devoted husband, father and grandfather.

    One of our common interests, responsible for our becoming friends, was the Lancia Automobile. We spent many happy and exciting hours traveling together, some times the two of us and other times with Terry and Shirley. We drove hundred of miles together, talking, laughing, eating and drinking wine, in the US and Europe. We both loved Italy and most things Italian. No matter what adversities we had to overcome, we always ended up smiling!

    We shall miss Vincenzo Lancia at our club gatherings. Our heartfelt sympathy to Terry and the family:

    In Fond Remembrance, Armand A. Giglio 31 July 2012

    When Ed retired from the presidency of the ALC and Steve took on the role, he knew he could never fill those shoes, but wanted to continue what Ed asked him to do. Ed’s presence at any event was always larger than life, and as many have already said, he is irreplaceable. His exuberance, attitude, voice, and laugh all added to every occasion. We hope the Lancia family will not lose the DeMartini family with Ed’s passing. We will always remember Ed as we proudly wear our many “Ed” t-shirts. Thank you for all the fond memories. Lynn and Steve Peterson

    Following are excerpts from John Keppelman’s interview for Lanciana, Spring 2003; with some short cuts by Steve: [ Steve’s comments ]

    JK: Ed, tell me what got you started on Lancias?

    Ed: I read a magazine about European sports cars in the early ’50s and the Lancia Aurelia was in it, and I liked the way it was put together with the transmission and the clutch in the back. It was an Italian car and I grew up in an Italian speaking house, Genovese was true language – I was always interested in Italian cars.

    JK: It was in your blood…

    Ed: Right. The first Lancia I owned was a ’58 2nd S. Appia that I bought from Plinio Mazzarini. He was the Italian Consul in San Francisco. He wanted something like $3000, low mileage, metric gauges, etc. I offered him $2500 which he rejected. Some months later the 3rd S. was introduced and selling for $2400. So I immediately got a call from Mazzarini. “Oh, you can have it now. I have to get rid of it. I’ll let you have it for $2400”. I said why would I buy yours when I can get a new model for $2400 or less. He hit the ceiling! He could not believe that I would reject such a great purchase.He was very dramatic. It was almost like he was doing an opera. So I said I will give you $2000. He even went more berserk on that one. A month and a half later, I had it for $2000. Years later, when we had a third child, I had to buy a larger car.

    JK: Was that wen you bought the first Flaminia?

    Ed: No, I bought an International Harvester Travelall to be able to camping with Terry, my second wife. [ Ed took this vehicle with a camper on it to Europe by ship from Canada. One year and cramming this rig through narrow Italian villages, etc. That is a crazy story in itself] I now have a Flavia Berlina that is completely restored. I use it for club functions. What I’ve had have been sedans or coupes. I’ve had about 12; 3 Appias, 2 Flavia sedans, and about 4 Flaminia sedans. Oh, I can’t remember the rest.

    JK: What were your favorites?

    Ed: I love the Flamina PF coupes. The blue ’61, when I sold it I had 350,000 miles on it.

    JK: So that was one of your favorite cars?

    Ed: Oh yeah. I loved the Flaminia sedans though too. They were so comfortable. And they had a lot of room in them. I think they were the best sedan I have ever driven. I had about four of those over the years. The one I liked the most was the first one I bought from a Dr. from Stanford. I saw it in the paper for $400 just after I came back from Europe. The minute I saw it, I bought it. It was a great buy.

    [ Here in the interview are three pages which cover some of Ed’s visits to Italy including meeting Lancia engineer/designers Batista Falchetto and Francesco de Virglio.

    JK: Tell me about your being President of the ALC.

    Ed: Coming back from the Centenario in ’81, Dick Buckingham asked me if I would be the West Coast vice presidency. “Well I guess so. What does it entail” Dick said “Well, you put on a reunion once a year”. Terry and I figured we could add to make it more interesting like giving something away at the end of the rally in addition to coming up withsome special awards.

    JK: I am looking at a shelf right in front of me now and there is a good four feet of framed awards which I know you did over the years. Really wonderful!

    Ed: I cast all these medals in plaster with Vincenzo Lancia sitting at the steering wheel. With my art background, that’s not hard to do. Then I took a bunch of rocks, applied a photo emulsion, and printed Vincenzo Lancia’s face on them. I am going to design a (another) T-shirt without a date. Like the Appia (2nd series) grill. Reunions should be low profile, should not be complicated or competitive among people. [ Compare that with a Porsche or Ferrari meet ]

    JK: Well, you have been president for a long time and you have done some very inventive things with the club, you must have enjoyed it.

    Ed: Yeah, Terry and I are in it together. She’s a good organizer and between the two of us, we catch all the little details that need to be looked after. That was our social life for ten years.

    Lanciana Summer of 2005; JK: As many of you know by now, Ed Demartini is in cancer treatment which has forced him to resign after twelve years as club president. We are all grateful for is generous good spirits, his dedication to the club and its individual members , and his real enthusiasm for all things Lancia.

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