Ed Barwick passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on August 23, 2021. He was a longtime, well-known Napa resident who seemingly knew everyone and loved to tell stories about his beloved hometown. Ed lived by his passions which were always on display: his family; the City of Napa; and automobiles. He dedicated his life to these passions every day.
Ed was born to Henry and Lillian (Mayrhofer) Barwick in San Francisco where he began his lifelong love affair with automobiles. As a boy he memorized every make and model of the cars driving past his boyhood home near Golden Gate Park. The Barwicks, which included his older brother Bob, moved to Napa in 1936 when Ed was nine years old. His father had a stationery and office machine company (Barwick-Dutton's), and Ed soon learned the ropes of entrepreneurship while developing his skills as a salesman. Ed's tales of his early Napa jobs included stories of his extensive paper route and driving a laundry truck during high school that took him several times a week to Calistoga and back.
Ed was a standout athlete and proud graduate of Napa High School. The voice of Napa Football, Ed was the stadium announcer for 41 years. Never shy about his support for the football team, Ed was known for one episode in the broadcast booth when he failed to shut off his microphone after a Napa touchdown. His lack of impartiality became apparent to everyone as he sang the Napa fight song in full throat along with the band. One of his proudest moments was being named to the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
During the war years, Ed joined the Navy where he began V5 pilot training at the University of Redlands. There he met his future wife and great love, Dorothy Wilcox. (Both class of '47). As co-captain of the football team he helped lead the university to its first undefeated, untied, season in 1945 and was named twice to the First Team All-Conference. Ed transferred to USC where he played for the Trojans including the 1946 Rose Bowl. He completed his education at Redlands on the G.I. bill and later contributed to the endowment to fund scholarships for generations of students.
Ed's love of automobiles took firm root in Napa where he began his long and successful business career. Ed started out as a used car salesman and soon became a Chrysler Plymouthodge, Volvo, and International Harvester dealer who was committed to ensuring affordable ownership for every family. A story he told with great mirth, Ed held the distinction of being Napa's first, only, and longest Edsel dealer for 88 days. A collector of classic cars, his knowledge of the industry was encyclopedic, and he frequently gave group presentations on the topic throughout the western US. Ed's salesmanship achieved the status of legend as evidenced by his many awards in the industry. He was proud of providing jobs for the many employees of Ed Barwick Motors and always putting his customers first (something he heard about from Dorothy when he took a call during dinner).
Ed was known for his leadership in Napa and served four terms on the Napa City Council including a term as Mayor pro tem. Ed was a fervent proponent of water rights for Napa and was the driving force in the 1960s in securing long-term water rights for Napa from the California's North Bay Aqueduct Water Project. The Edward I. Barwick Jamieson Canyon Water Treatment Facility (the primary source since the 1960s of water for Napa) is named in honor of former Councilman Barwick whom officials called a water visionary.
Ed's service club memberships included Rotary International for 58 years where he served as President (1969-70) and was a Paul Harris fellow. Ed was notorious for antics (in and out of meetings) to cajole and chide his fellow Rotarians to greater service. Ed was also a member of Napa Elks Lodge #832 for 73 years and served as Exalted Ruler (1959-60), and District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler.
Ed taught business at Napa College for 16 years believing that developing the next generation of community leaders was critical to Napa's ongoing success. Ed was committed to privately and personally supporting and advising many Napa residents to grow their own small businesses.
His service in the community included Chairman of the Napa State Hospital Board, Chairman, Napa Salvation Army Board, two time Napa County Grand Jury Foreman, Gasser Foundation Trustee (20 years), and many other boards and projects in service to the City of Napa, Napa schools, Napa athletics and the community.
Ed and Dorothy raised three children (Ann, Bruce, and Steve) and celebrated 57 years of marriage before Dorothy passed away in 2004. Their marriage was further blessed by six grandchildren who brightened their lives and made Ed a happy grandpa. Ed later married Linda Shirey and enjoyed many years of loving companionship in their retirement until her passing in 2018.
Ed is survived by daughter Ann Houseal (Bob), sons Bruce (Lisa) and Steve (Shirley); grandchildren Jennifer, Ryan (Lisa), Stephanie (Jeremiah), Stuart (Fania), and Matt (Jane); life-long family friend Christy Witham, nieces and nephews, and a circle of loving friends. Ed and Dorothy's legacy of loving family has given home to nine (soon ten) great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by Dorothy, Linda, and granddaughter Kristen.
As Ed told the Napa Register upon retiring, after 40 years in the automotive business: "I was before fins, during fins and after fins …. and now I'm FIN-ISHED". This statement is as true today at Ed's passing as when he first said it in 1995.
Services honoring Ed Barwick's life and legacy will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Ed asks that you contribute to any organization or group that makes his Napa community a better place. The family is especially grateful for the dedicated service and support of Laura Wintz, Graciela Enriquez, and Collabria Care.
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