Eddie Dunlavey worked for my father and then for me for many years. There wasn’t a piece of equipment from a tractor to a chain saw they he couldn’t handle and handle well. I first met him when he came over to cut a pine tree down which was enormous and had grown too close to the chimney. My father always thought the pine tree would protect the house from a lightning strike but by the time Eddie dropped it, it was probably digging into the foundation of the house and blocked all the light from the windows on the west side of the house. In those days the garage was right across from the house and if the tree wasn’t dropped exactly in the right place it would have taken out the garage. It dropped right in the driveway and was cut up and gone in an hour.
In the last few years Eddie used to come up to the farm every day with sparky his dog. He would feed the chickens and cats who followed him around like the pied piper.
Last year Eddie got tired of the daily trip and retired. He still worked one day a week at the dump which I think he did mostly for social reasons. I heard from a friend that Eddie was dying of cancer and a stroke he had a few weeks ago. I went to see him in the Lutheran Home in Pleasant Valley. When I went into his room he was sleeping and pretty well doped up on pain killers. When I talked to him he moved his hand, the only recognition he showed. He died the next day, last Thursday. They had a well attended wake in Hopewell Junction. I couldn’t attend the funeral in Clove Valley but I heard from Eddie’s brother’s daughter-in-law that the minister passed out during the funeral and had to be taken to the hospital.