Bill Edmondson never went anywhere without a pen or pencil. Ideas for stories and poems would come to the Santa Rosa writer while reading about the extinction of birds or sitting in traffic on his way to San Francisco.
“He wrote and edited poems in his head while driving,” said his son Casey Edmondson, 25, of Santa Rosa.
He said his father’s works were published in literary publications, such as Field, Fugue and Confrontation magazines. He also published a novel and collection of poems.
Edmondson died of cancer July 9. He was 76.
He was born and raised on a farm a few miles south of Bandon, a coastal city in Oregon. The middle child of three, he tended to the chickens and cows on the farm. As a child, he enjoyed the rural lifestyle, spending hours fishing and picking blackberries and cranberries alongside the road, his son said.
Edmondson later moved to Crescent City, where he attended high school. But he didn’t graduate. Edmondson dropped out of school and joined the Navy at the age of 17.
“He was bored in school,” his son said. “He wanted to get out of the small town and see the world.”
That’s what he did.
While in the Navy, he traveled throughout the Pacific and Mediterranean. He went to Australia, Greece and Spain. He saw the catacombs in Rome and made trips to Hong Kong and Tokyo. However, he quit the service in 1968 after participating in the attack of Hue, an ancient city in Vietnam, his son added.
“He was very upset about the nature of the war and the fact that he was obligated to participate,” Casey Edmondson said.