Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ed Scholter first came to Mattapoisett in the late 1950s through an invitation from Jack and Alan Fales, who were stationed at the Newport (Rhode Island) Navy base with him.
At the wharf, he met others with a passion for cars (the “wharf boys” or “barn crew”), where he affectionately became known as “Eddy Corvette” after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving and racing at the time. He would eventually trade the Corvette for a Jeep that he fully customized, and could be seen driving around town or at Ned’s Point displaying his workmanship.
Since his death, so many of his friends have told stories about him, the accomplishments he made throughout his life and his desire to help the people of Mattapoisett in any way that he could.
His favorite place to relax with a cup of coffee or soft-serve vanilla ice cream was the Seaport Ice Cream Slip in Mattapoisett. In true Ed fashion, when he saw that a small counter would be useful, he built it; Ed made the shelf at the Slip (out of stainless steel as he made things to last) that many people have leaned on and hung on over the years while waiting for their orders.
On June 17, 2019, Ed Scholter made his very last visit to the Slip down on the Mattapoisett Wharf to get his usual morning order of a small black coffee. This was before his passing on August 24.
A year later on June 17, 2020, Louise Vandal, the owner of the Slip, in her own words said she would be “honored” to have a small plaque placed on the Slip, as you could always find Ed there for a coffee or a soft-serve vanilla ice-cream (soft serve always fills the entire cone) while making conversation with the locals.
Ed’s daughter Ellen got together with some of Ed’s close friends and all shared a coffee in memory of Ed’s last visit to his favorite place where they recounted stories. Ed became a fixture in Mattapoisett as the man who could get it done. He had a saying: “If you break it, you fix it. If you don’t know how, learn.”
Ed made and did a lot of things around the town of Mattapoisett. When approached by Barry with the idea of making a weathervane for Bi Todd at the wharf, Ed did some research and found out that he needed a marble for the weathervane to pivot on. Or the bench that was made for long pier at Point Connett.
Other stories were shared about the things that Ed did to help out his friends. Ed once got asked if he knew of anyone who could clear some land of trees and make sure to not take out some nice holly trees. In response, Ed said, “I’ll be back to take them down.” While cutting the trees down, one started to lean towards the holly tree and through quick thinking, Ed tied a rope around the tree and pulled it to the side.
From good deeds to trees led into stories of Ed’s impressive carpentry work. He built his home on Holly Lane, most of the furniture in it, hand-made wooden kayaks, and a gorgeous “grandmother clock.” He was asked by a friend to finish a “highboy chest” that her husband had started before he passed and the only person who could do it justice was Ed, and he did. When a friend had some work done on her house and the new garage door did not match the level of the house, Ed went to work and fashioned a footer for the door to match the rest of the house.
There were then stories of Ed and his Jeep in which he could be heard driving around while listening to his favorite classical music. One story stuck out that told about his days during Hurricane Bob when he was riding around in his Jeep blaring the “Ride of the Valkyries” over the sound of the diesel pushing sand out of the road.
Ed always had a joke or a story to tell. He traveled the world and shared his experiences and the new things he learned on his way with his friends. He told his friend about a dolphin in Belize that he “met” and then saw the same one years later when he went back to snorkel in Belize. He would bring gifts for his grandchildren from his adventures, such as hand-carved ornaments from Africa with the story of how and where it was made (that it was a coconut seed that was found in elephant dung).
He was a brilliant engineer that strived to learn things wherever he went. His favorite thing that he “designed” during his career as an engineer was “foot warmers for penguins” at the New England Aquarium. The penguins were getting athletes foot due to the wet and warm conditions when they were used to cold and dry conditions. So, he designed warming rocks to help the penguins dry their feet off. As he told the story while mimicking a penguin, with a smile on his face and waddled around. Ed was a very humble person when it came to talk about his accomplishments in life.
And although he was a talented carpenter, mechanic, engineer, basically a “jack of all trades,” all of his friends said he was very humble, not soliciting any recognition for what he considered his responsibility as a community member.
Ellen has been so thankful to this community for the love they have shown her and the stories they have shared about her “Da.” She never called him Dad. “Da had it right. Mattapoisett was his niche and he has lovingly passed that legacy on to me.”
By Ellen Scholter and Justin Gracia