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Irvine Has Lost One of Its Most Cherished Volunteers: Ed McNew

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(Left to right) Ed McNew in the Army in the 1950s and in Irvine at age 91

It is with deep sadness that Irvine Community News & Views (ICNV) reports the passing of longtime Irvine resident and volunteer extraordinaire, Ed McNew.

After graduating with a BA degree in Economics from Denison University in his home state of Ohio, Ed served in the U.S. Army. While stationed in Tokyo during the 1950s, he met a fellow soldier, Alex Toth, who became a lifelong friend. Alex and his wife would later introduce Ed to the love of his life, Louise.

Ed & Louise spent 60 wonderful years together. Their family settled here in Irvine in the 1970s, living in the Turtle Rock and University Park neighborhoods.

Ed, a self-professed history buff became fascinated with Don José Andrés Sepulveda — a leader of the Pueblo de Los Angeles who spent his summers on “Rancho San Joaquin,” a 50,000-acre ranch that Sepulveda sold to James Irvine in 1864. The ranch spanned the southern portion of what is now the City of Irvine. Thanks to Ed’s research and his advocacy efforts, the City honored Sepulveda’s ties to Irvine by establishing Sepulveda Vista Point, a small but beautiful park in South Irvine. This year, the City is naming the road leading up to the park after Ed. Soon, McNew Trail will be dedicated with two bronze plaques — one for Ed and one for Sepulveda.

Shortly after his beloved Louise’s death in 2017, Ed turned his advocacy efforts to supporting the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in the Great Park.

He read an article in Irvine Community News & Views about a pizza party being hosted by a group of local veterans and their families to thank Irvine residents who had supported a ballot measure to keep the planned Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in the Great Park. Ed’s daughter, Linda Linden drove him to the party where he met and became fast friends with many of the attendees.

When the veterans group was forced to gather signatures again in 2019 and early 2020 — this time for a Veterans Cemetery ballot initiative — Ed joined the effort and soon became the top signature-gatherer, collecting more than 4,000 signatures! He was also an important member of the group’s steering committee. Just a couple of weeks ago, Ed met with other committee members over Zoom to discuss their next project.

Last year, we asked Ed the secret to his 91 years. He said: “Find something you enjoy doing. Join something. Get involved. Don’t just sit at home. I treated my five months collecting signatures as a job. I had a reason to get out of bed every morning. I knew I was making a difference and helping a cause I believed in. I was lucky.”

On behalf of everyone here at ICNV:  Irvine was lucky to have Ed McNew for as long as we did. Our condolences go out to Ed’s daughter Linda, his entire family, and all of those who knew and loved him.

ICNV Staff

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