He was as sensitive as he was tough; as strong as he was gentle; as full of wonder as he was wisdom. His love for his family was fierce. His laughter infectious. His sense of humor could bring anyone to their knees within moments of meeting him. Ed was always smiling, cracking jokes, making everyone around him happy. His kind heart and big personality was magnetic. He had the unique ability to make anyone feel comfortable, welcome, and a part of his family.
Eddie grew up in Loudonville, New York, a small town outside of Albany. He started pushing the limits and living life unapologetically from a very young age. He would regularly give his mother a heart attack with his pranks, dangerous antics, and general rowdiness. With fits of laughter, he would describe one of his first memories, he was four years old and had somehow made his way onto the roof of their two-story lake house. He chuckled as he remembered watching everyone frantically search for him, while he stood there wondering what all the fuss was about.
Eddie graduated from Shaker High School in 1968 and was often spotted driving the coolest, fastest cars, including Triumphs, MGs and Porsches. One of his closest friends from high school, who he kept in touch with for more than 50 years, says, “Eddie in many ways was the guy you wanted to be like…he was that cool.” His relationships were the strongest and everyone benefited from knowing him.
Ed was a risk taker, an adventurer, a man who always said, “go for it!” At just 17 he hitchhiked from a summer ski camp in Montana to California. Only calling and telling his mother once he was standing on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco. This was Ed’s first taste of California and he was struck by the incredible scene of the late 60s. It was such a polar shift from his time in the Northeast.
In 1972 Eddie packed his bags and ventured out to Lake Tahoe, chasing the famous bluebird powder day that had always eluded him in the frigid Northeast. When he arrived in Squaw Valley, he was in awe. He often told the story of standing at the base of KT-22 on a 50 degree winter day wearing a down ski suit; he was sweating bullets while others were breezing by in jeans and t-shirts. He said he looked up at the mountain, saw five feet of new snow, blue skies, and knew he was home.
Skis were another mode of thrill seeking for Ed. He had a deep passion for the sport. He grew up racing and pushing the limits of what was possible on a pair of skis. In the 1960s he was one of the first people in the Northeast to land a backflip on skis. He also passed his ski instructors exam on the first try, which was unheard of — skiers were known to take the test three to five times before getting certified. And he was just 17, which was also unheard of. Once he settled in Squaw Valley he taught ski school on the weekends and tended bar at night enabling him to ski full time all winter. Ed had so many incredible, sometimes unbelievable stories. One that he often told, with a big smile on his face, was teaching singer-songwriter Jackson Browne to ski at Heavenly. They went from the ski slopes to the casinos and partied all night together. Reflecting, Ed said, “I remember driving up highway 89 from South Tahoe, watching the sun come up over Emerald Bay and Jackson Browne was asleep in the passenger seat of my Jeep.” This was just one of many crazy tales that Ed would tell.
He was a passholder at Squaw Valley for more than 40 years (he had just renewed his pass for the 2020-21 season). He shared his love of skiing with his daughters, Ashley and Danielle, and was often seen dropping them off at Mighty Mites on the weekends, and then cheering them on at ski races as they grew up. Ed was always on the mountain.
In 1980, Ed was at a party in Squaw Valley when he spotted a tall, beautiful brunette across the room, edged another guy out so he could talk to her, and knew instantly that she was one special woman. Carol Casey was from Massachusetts and they bonded quickly over similar backgrounds. Their first date was a hike up Shirley Canyon. On June 23, 1984 Ed and Carol were married at Queen of the Snows in Squaw Valley and threw one epic party at Olympic Village Inn. They just celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. True partners in life, they lifted each other up and supported one another, laughter woven through everything they did. Constantly keeping each other on their toes and always joking, there was never a dull moment between them. As a couple they had countless adventures together.
In 1985, Ed started his own business in Tahoe City, Ed Smallman’s Roofing, and ran it for more than 30 years. He built a wonderful life and community in Tahoe City with his wife and two daughters. Driving through town, Ed was often seen waving to ten people in just a two mile stretch. Trips to the post office or the hardware store would always take at least 30 minutes, because inevitably he would run into someone he knew. Those closest to him often joked he was always running for mayor, because he could strike up a sincere, inquisitive conversation with anyone, and seemed to know everyone.
After retiring a few years ago, he moved to his second home in Grass Valley, California; ready for a break from shoveling snow, but still made a point to ski on bluebird days. His life slowed down a bit and he and Carol, along with their German Shepherd, Enzo, began exploring the country in their RV. Ed was adventuring until the very end.
Ed loved the 49ers (a 13 year season ticket holder), riding his Ducati, driving his 1960 Austin-Healey, playing pranks on people, hiking, being outside and so much more. Ed loved life. But, most of all, he loved his family. He would do anything for his girls, from coaching soccer, to waxing their skis at the top of a race hill, to attending every dance recital or play. He was always there.
He is survived by his incredible wife of 36 years, Carol. His adoring daughters Ashley (Dustin) Moranda and Danielle Smallman. His two beautiful grandchildren, Dorothy and Braden Moranda. His sister, Libby (Jack) Travis, many nieces and nephews and a record number of loyal friends.
Ed has left a remarkable impact on this world. His presence — bold and strong, quiet and wise — will be greatly missed. In his honor, we will live our lives to the fullest, keep his memory alive with his stories, and as he would say, “drive fast and reckless!”
If you are interested in attending a Celebration of Life for Ed please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
For more photos and memories visit, thelifeofedsmallman.com.
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