Ed Updike, 93, died October 3, 2020 in Brevard, NC with his beloved wife Lillian at his side.
Ed was the oldest of four children, born in 1927 in New York City to Godfrey Ernest Updike and Mary Alice Riddick. Upon graduating high school at 16, he attended Colgate University and received his M.D. in 1949 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1950 he married his high school sweetheart, Lillian Sturgis, before moving to Minnesota for a fellowship in surgery at the Mayo Clinic. After completing his residency in 1957, he and Lillian moved their young family to Ocala, Florida where he practiced surgery for the next 30 years. During the Korean War, Ed served in the United States Navy as a doctor on troop transport ships and continued his service in the Navy Reserve until he retired in 1987. In 1991, Ed and Lillian moved to Western North Carolina where they bought a small farm perched on an east facing hillside in the beautiful Little River Valley near Brevard. He spent his remaining years enjoying family gatherings at the farm and pursuing his interests in organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, growing fruit trees, learning to play banjo and bass fiddle, singing in the St. Philips Episcopal choir, and researching family genealogy.
Throughout his life, Ed had an insatiable curiosity about people and the world around him. He had an innate need to understand what made things work and how to make them work better, whether it be the human body, an animal, the soil, or a piece of equipment. He was an inspiration to his family and friends, always eager to learn about us and what we were thinking and doing. He was a prolific storyteller, who never told a story without extensive detail, laughter, and a twinkle in his eye. He showed us a way through life that was true to self, nature, humanity, and spirit.
Ed was preceded in death by daughters Dorothy Updike and Sarah Updike Sutton; siblings John Godfrey Updike, Frances Minnerly, Alice Scannell. He is survived by his wife of 70 years Lillian Sturgis Updike, children Mary Updike Colton, Elizabeth Updike Smith (Jesse), David Sturgis Updike; grandchildren Henry and Stokes Colton, Nate Sutton (Karina), Brady Sutton Mackey (Sarah), Kate Sutton, Ben and Isaac Updike; great-grandchildren Harren and Ellis Sutton, Parker Lily Mackey; and many extended family members.
A celebration of Ed’s life with family and friends is being planned for a later date when we can be together safely.
The family would like to give special thanks to the staff of College Walk, Care Partners Hospice of Transylvania County, and Moore-Blanchard Funeral Home for their care and support. Memorials may be made in Ed’s name to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (carolinafarmstewards.org/give), Care Partners Hospice of Brevard (CarePathways.com), or St. Philips Episcopal Church (stphilipsbrevardnc.org).
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