March 5, 1960 ~ January 3, 2022

Born in: Germany,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Just like Elvis, Edgar Ray Bivens (Ed) of Asheville, NC has left the building. With Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it my Way” playing softly in the background, and a cold Miller Lite in his left hand, Ed died peacefully in his sleep in the ICU at Mission Hospital on 3 January 2022, falling prey to complications derived from the deadly Molotov cocktail of COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Before passing Ed forged a 61-year trail of laughter, generosity, compassion, and wisdom (all of which are unverified by anyone that really knew him).

The honor and privilege of telling Ed’s life story falls upon my shoulders as his older brother, and I do so with unbridled love and admiration. While I struggle to wax poetic, the operative word for this very moment to best describe Ed is SPECIAL!

Special is defined as better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. Special is also synonymous with exceptional, unusual, singular, uncommon, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, outstanding, and unique. I laugh at remembering as a child how I struggled in deciding whether Ed was strangely unique or uniquely strange! To quote Winston Churchill: “He was a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Ed’s upbringing in the mountains of western North Carolina began with personal up-close instruction by our beloved parents, Eula Mae Bivens and James Samuel Bivens, who both strongly believed in Old Testament justice and the mantra, ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. Our dad was a pistol, which made Ed a Son-of-a-Gun, and our momma was hell-on-wheels, which still made Ed a Son-of-a-Gun.

I fondly and painfully remember when justice was about to be served on a cold plate outside the court of public opinion, when Ed had been caught coloring outside the lines. He would look at Eula Mae holding a switch with briars and would say with absolute conviction: “You’re absolutely correct Momma, there is no excuse for my behavior, but there may be a reason. Would you like to hear it?”

So, with a heavy heart and a bruised ass, Ed finished four undistinguished years at Enka High School, graduating in 1978, being recognized by his senior class as ‘Most Likely to Wear a Big Belt Buckle’.

Growing up as a conservative on ‘Tobacco Road’ in the 70’s, Ed developed a strong sense of patriotism, a love for NASCAR, especially for Jack Ingram, Bosco Lowe, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and the Marlboro Man. Ed also had a strong distaste for Jimmy Carter, the DNP, and disco music. The latter can be heavily disputed because there is photographic evidence of Ed at his senior prom wearing a bell-bottomed hip-hugging leisure suit, complete with silk flowed shirt and afro, while driving a tricked-out ’67 Mercury Cougar. Can you say ‘Shaft’?

After graduation from high school, Ed immediately joined the Armed Forces, enlisting in the Army, with Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. This decision to serve would encompass the next 15-years of Ed’s life and introduce him to his everlasting love, the freedom of the highway.

Ed’s military occupational specialty (job) was 88M, which in civilian terms is a motor transport operator. His first duty assignment was in Nurnberg, Germany at William O’Darby Kaserne with the infamous 1st Transportation Company, aka ‘1st Truck’.

His military career would end with an honorable discharge in 1995, having driven over 1,000,000 miles delivering cargo over the highways and thoroughfares of Germany and the BENELUX countries (Belgium, Netherlands & Luxembourg). Most notably, Ed served in Iraq with the 16th Engineer Group during the Persian Gulf Conflict in 1991. When asked about leaving the military at the 15-year mark, Ed’s candid reply was, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” Ed was always a man of few words, unless it involved Yuengling.

Truth be told, Ed was the unofficial spokesman for Yuengling Brewery, having casually taste-tasted over 21,900 x 12oz cans in the last ten years. This led to him becoming a philosopher, a firm believer in humor and satire, with a great love and appreciation for the 26 letters of the alphabet, especially A, E, I, O and U, but he was very suspicious of W and Y. Forever the consummate storyteller, Ed would unleash his best style of Mark Twain, meaning that you can never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Ed would also be the first to tell you that you can learn all you ever needed to know about life from watching the movie “Forrest Gump”, or by watching reruns of the “Andy Griffith” show. Ed’s version of common sense also carried two main points: strive to become a part of the solution, while avoiding becoming a part of the problem. I am forever reminded of one of Ed’s favorite quotes by Albert Einstein: “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” Well said my brother!

After leaving the Army, Ed remained in Germany working as a civil servant for the US Government, as an operations analyst for Defense Reutilization Marketing Offices (DRMO) in Seckenheim, Germany, and later in Hanau, Germany.

It is in Hanau, while working at his part-time night job as a recreational gynecologist, that Ed would meet a German beauty, Konstanze, who would become the love of his life and his partner for the next 23 years. Tragically, their union ended in 2014, with Ed’s only comment being that love is a four-letter word. Ed also mentioned that some things in life should remain as part of the ‘catch and release’ program.

Most remarkable during marital bliss, was the sight of Ed and Konnie together, with their Great Dane, Maximillian. Ed was 6’2” tall, Konnie an even 6’ feet, and Max was taller than both on his hind legs. They were in essence, a spaghetti western, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Of course, no one has ever elaborated on what Ed’s role was in that trifecta!

Beyond that, Ed had become fluent in the German language and could curse me with equal bravado, in either German or English, depending on his mood, disdain, or flavor of the moment (sheiss auf dich).

Ed took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his slim-waisted blue jeans worn below the navel and sold exclusively at Sam’s off Patton Avenue, a pair of old school birth control spectacles (who can even remember where he got those?), and steel-toed boots that were always paired with a grass-stained baseball cap endorsing an alcoholic beverage.

With a stink eye towards organized religion, Ed was motivated by a strong inner belief and a moral compass stuck in the southernmost position. Embracing the call to serve, Ed was a proud senior deacon of the I Am What I Am Non-denominational Church of the Uncertain, located on the frontage road of every truck stop in America. When asked about his religious beliefs, Ed would always comment, “You need to turn before you burn.” The same could probably be said about his culinary skills while cooking in the kitchen.

In addition, Ed had strong beliefs in which he never wavered:
1) Horse manure makes the best garden fertilizer.
2) Heinz ketchup does not belong on a hotdog.
3) When preparing a steak, you should wipe the cow’s ass and put it on the plate.
4) and NCDOT should be embarrassed of the never-ending construction, detours, potholes, nuisance, and congestion on I-26 in both directions.

Ed also enjoyed outlaw country music: Waylon, Willie, Hank, and Johnny. Ed was baptized in ‘The Ring of Fire’ and always did his utmost best to ‘Walk the Line’. He was also on a first-name basis with the Four Horsemen of Beer: Yuengling, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light.

Most importantly, Waffle House has lost a loyal and faithful customer. Ed’s favorite meal was a medium-rare steak with two eggs over easy, accompanied by a gallon of coffee that matched the color of the night. To honor Ed, a petition is being circulated at the Waffle House HQs in Norcross, GA asking that the Allstar entrée be renamed as the Ed Bivens Experience, where every customer is smothered, covered, dashed, and diced.

Returning to the United States from Germany after closure of the DRMO in Hanau, Germany, Ed would once again be reunited with his first love, the open road, working for Land O’Sky Distributors, where he served as a professional OTR transporter for the past five years in Black Mountain, NC.

I was fortunate to visit with the management and staff at Land O’Sky and I can truly say that Ed was beloved by all those that work within the organization. Their tremendous outpouring of gratitude and kindness towards Ed epitomize what it means to truly care for your fellow man. I would like to personally thank them from the bottom of my heart (the rumor that I am heartless may be unfounded).

Most importantly, as his final act of kindness to the world, Ed had recently consented to being an unpaid online test patient for a new experimental drug, ‘mycoxsafloppin’, to help treat erectile disfunction. Ed was always keen on science and helping other people to get ahead in life. (No word yet on FDA passage or approval. For those interested, information can be found at www.helpthehardless.com)

Sadly, Ed was cremated on 7 January 2022 and his ashes will be kept in an urn, passed from family member to family member until no one can remember what’s in the jar. I had always warned Ed that one day I would burn his ass. Little did I know that it would be the greatest act of my life and the crowning moment of our brotherhood.

One day I will honor his last wishes and spread his ashes over truck stops and rest stops along I-26, I-40, I-81, I-95, and finally, Route 66. Why Route 66? Because generations of travelers have romanticized this highway as a symbol of unlimited mobility and freedom of the road. That was Ed in a nutshell.

The last of his ashes I will mix with fresh cow manure and plant a tree and name it Edgar Maximus Erectus. Until then, I’ll allow him to continue to test my patience until I decide to let the genie out of the bottle (Shhhh. Ed had a mad crush on Barbara Eden. I always thought he was a Mary Ann kinda guy).

Everyone who remembers Ed is asked to celebrate his life in their own way; telling a ‘He wasn’t so bad’ or ‘What an ass’ story of their choosing. In addition, Ed would like to inspire you to perform an unexpected random act of kindness for some less fortunate soul. Ed liked to support pole dancers as often as possible (Ed had a great appreciation for fine arts) or buy a meal for an elderly couple (if he could do so without them knowing who paid).

On a serious note, the family, consisting of me, myself, and I, (the holy trinity) would like to extend our most sincere thanks to Dr. Damon Forbes and the entire ICU staff at Mission Hospital for the amazing care given and the compassion shown in Ed’s final days, especially by my favorite RN, Sara Smile (name withheld to protect her and her style of professionalism and humanity, which Nurse Ratchet would applaud with both fervor and enthusiasm).

Do not shed a tear for Ed, because he enjoyed a great life. He traveled to every place on Earth that he ever wanted to go. Had every job that he wanted to have. Learned all that he wanted to learn. Fixed everything he wanted to fix. Ate everything he wanted to eat and drank all he wanted to drink!

In essence, Ed was the master of his own destiny, a man who knew his limitations, and lived life by his own set of rules. I have no doubt that the Founding Fathers are all in agreement that Ed Bivens was a living testament to the ‘preamble of the Constitution’, a man who epitomized the six fundamental purposes and guiding principles of that famed document, in every facet of his existence.

In closing, Ed’s passing is characterized by five words: ‘Remember me as I lived.’ I will do that my brother. You will always be the eternal flame that burns inside me, as well as the voice of love that whispers inside my heart. Tell Mom and Dad I said hello and that I love and miss them every day. Be kind to Saint Peter as you undertake your official duties as Truckmaster of Transportation & Distribution services in Heaven.

Save me a seat at the upscale bar on the corner of Lonely & Gone Avenue, known as the ‘Hub-n-Spoke’. Please watch over me and smile when I stub my toe and fall on my face. Long live the ‘Night Hawk’ and the memory of the man, the myth, and the legend known simply as Ed Bivens. Rest in peace!

Love always, your brother and greatest fan.
Opie
James ‘Opie’ Bivens

Services

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806

(828)252-3535
http://www.grocefuneralhome.com

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  1. I usually glance at most obituaries but this one I read very carefully. I sure wish I would have known this man. He sounds like he was a hoot. Also, to his brother who wrote it, you could have a great future in journalism. I laughed until I cried. What a wonderful way to be remembered.

    Reply
  2. I have good memories of our time at Enka High and driving a bus with Edgar. I was fortunate enough to get several rides in his Cougar. Great guy, for sure. So sorry for your loss.

    Reply
    • Hello Randy,
      So nice of you to respond. Edgar held you in very high esteem. Must be a bus driver thing. Lol.
      I still remember our freshmen basketball team and going 0-16 for Coach Vaitekunas. I still have nightmares!
      Thank you very much for your kind words. I wish you the very best for 2022 and may you live long and prosper.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  3. Edgar and I shared the same Birthdate and enjoyed some times together at EHS. I was always fascinated that he and Opie were brothers and loved knowing each and how unique and special they were. Great Tribute Opie, Ed would Love It!

    Reply
    • Hi John,
      So very gracious of you to remember Edgar. I sincerely appreciate your words of kindness during this time of sadness. I wish you the very best for 2022, and may you always have great health and prosperity.
      Thank you.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  4. Ray was for sure one of a kind and I am glad i knew Ray .He was a good man a kind man who never met a stranger .RIP Ray we will miss you and love you forever we will never forget you.We will see you in Heaven

    Reply
    • Hi Shirley,
      Thank you very much for your most gracious response and kindness toward my brother. I sincerely appreciate it. Best wishes for a great 2022, along with continued great health and happiness.
      Warmest regards,
      Opie

      Reply
    • Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you for your words of kindness and for remembering Edgar as he passed to the afterlife.
      I wish you the very best for a great 2022, and may you find success and happiness in every endeavor.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
    • Hi Ronnie,
      So great to hear from you, even though it’s at a moment of extreme sadness. Thank you very much for your kind words and gracious response toward Edgar. I sincerely appreciate it.
      I wish you the very best for a great 2022, and may God always watch over and bless your family. Thank you.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
    • Hi Ronnie,
      Great to hear from you after all these years. Thank you very much for taking the time to remember Edgar and for your gracious words. I sincerely appreciate it. I wish you the very best for 2022, and may God continue to watch over and bless your family.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  5. So sorry to hear about Ed’s untimely passing. Opie, I doubt if you remember me, Penny Weaver. I was one of your English teachers at EHS. I am very impressed with your brother’s obituary. He would be happy you captured his life in such a unique story.

    Reply
    • Holy cow! How could I ever forget you? I had a major league crush on you. Your class was the only one I paid attention. My heart would break every time the bell rang, and I was forced to return to reality. Lol..
      Thank you very much for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate them. I wish you great health and prosperity.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  6. I am so sorry to learn of Ed’s passing. I have so many fond memories of us playing football/baseball in the field at your house. I wish we had the chance to reconnect and reminisce about those days. He sounded like he was the life of the party and will be sorely missed. Another good one gone too soon.. Godspeed old friend. And take care Opie, I cannot imagine your sorrow.

    Reply
    • Hi Deb,
      I am so honored to hear from you, especially after all these years. Thank you so much for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate them. Please send my best wishes to Theresa as well. Growing up with both of you was simply awesome and truly the best of times. I have never forgotten our ball games and how wonderful life was with the Reynolds’ girls. May God bless you always and may you have great health and prosperity always.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  7. Ed, you were a bright light in a dark world, your kindness and love should be something we all practice on a daily basis.
    Like Jesus you were never judging but always forgiving. We wish we could have known you better. Thank you Ed, we will forever be grateful

    Reply
    • Thank you very much for your kind words about my brother. I sincerely appreciate your gracious response.
      May your family have a great 2022, along with great health and prosperity in your lifetime.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  8. Sorry to hear of Ed passing. I drove his bus after he graduated and remember him working at Balls service station. I will always remember him with fondness when I look back at those days. My brother also drove at Enka and after graduation we went to work at the bus garage. We both retired from there with over 30 years service and it all started watching Ed drive our bus .

    Reply
    • Hi Ronnie,
      Thank you very much for your gracious response and kind words about Edgar. I’m elated that Ed inspired you and your brother to be responsible adults and build a life with a legacy attached to it. Congrats on your retirement. With regard to Ball’s Service Station, that was a father/son experience. Ed loved Everette Ball more than life. That was a relationship straight out of Mayberry RFD. Thank you so much for taking the time to honor Edgar. I wish you the very best in future endeavors.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
    • Hi DCM,
      Thank you for the drive-by and saying hello. Many people missed out on knowing Edgar, because he was like ‘Halley’s’ comet, only stops by every 75-years or so. It’s important to pay attention, because some people in their simplest presence can change your life forever. That was Ed, a modern-day Johnny Appleseed.
      Take care and have a great 2022. No charge for the entertainment. I had a back-stage pass for his life.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
    • Hello Nancy,
      Thank you very much for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate your gracious response.
      May you and your family have a great 2022, along with great health and prosperity. Warmest regards and best wishes.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply
  9. Hi Steve,

    I was sorry to hear about Edgars death. You surely captured some of what I remember of brother. We’re a long way from Sand Hill where I met you both. I remember playing chess with Edgar in 8th grade Mrs William’s class and would encourage him to demonstrate his assorted sound effects for a laugh, his ambulance in particular. He was as unique as you have described and he possessed a quiet confidence about who he was and what he liked. I’m sure you’ll miss him. I would enjoy catching up with you at some point. It’s been a long time.

    Chris

    Reply
    • Hello Chris,
      So great to hear from you. That you very much for taking the time to honor the memory of my brother. I sincerely appreciate your kind words and gracious response. I couldn’t help but smile. No one has called me ‘Steve’ since our departure from EHS in ’78. I hope the past 40+ years have been kind to you, and I wish you the very best for a prosperous 2022, along with great health and happiness. I hope our paths cross in the very near future.
      Very respectfully,
      Opie aka Steve

      Reply
  10. What a soldier /truck driver I served with during our time together at 1st Trans in Nurnberg. We had some very memorable missios together. He will e missed. Roll on my friend.

    Reply
    • Hello Charlie,
      It’s been a long time since the days of 1st Trans Co, 106th Trans Bn, 37th Transcom, and the beautiful backdrop of Nurnberg & Northern Bavaria. Thank you so very much for remembering Ed and honoring him with your gracious response. Those were the best of times and I know that Ed enjoyed every second he spent ‘truckin’ with you in Germany. I wish you Godspeed and may great health and prosperity follow you all the remaining days of your life. Thank you!
      Very respectfully,
      Opie

      Reply

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