Members of Newport Harbor American Legion Post 291 fold the flag before presenting it to the grandchildren of Edward Nixon in Yorba Linda, California, on Sunday. (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)

Members of Newport Harbor American Legion Post 291 fold the flag before presenting it to the grandchildren of Edward Nixon in Yorba Linda, California, on Sunday. (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)

Ed Nixon, president’s brother, remembered at memorial service

He was a longtime Snohomish County resident who died Feb. 27 in Bothell.

Associated Press and Herald staff

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Ed Nixon, the younger brother of President Richard Nixon who spent years promoting his brother’s legacy and lived in Snohomish County, was remembered at a memorial service as a Navy aviator, geologist, global energy expert, husband and father.

The youngest and last surviving brother of the president died Feb. 27 at a nursing home in Bothell . He was 88. Edward Calvert Nixon was a longtime Lynnwood resident whose wife, Gay Nixon, taught math in the Edmonds School District for nearly 30 years.

The Sunday service, attended by about 200 people at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, featured a gun salute and a flag presentation, the Orange County Register reported.

Ed Nixon’s two daughters, Amelie Peiffer and Elizabeth Matheny, and two granddaughters, Jilly Matheny and Karina Johnson, were in attendance, as was Melanie Eisenhower, President Nixon’s granddaughter.

Ed Nixon was born in 1930 after Frank and Hannah Nixon had moved their family to Whittier, California. He was the only Nixon boy not born in the Yorba Linda home now part of the library grounds.

Maureen Drown Nunn, who served with him on the Nixon Foundation’s board, recalled him telling a story about being 9 years old and taking a 39-hour train ride to Detroit with Richard, then 26, to pick up a new 1939 Oldsmobile from the factory. On the drive back to California, his brother made it a point to stop at many of the country’s natural wonders and historic sites.

Ed Nixon in 2009. (Michael O’Leary / Herald file)

Ed Nixon in 2009. (Michael O’Leary / Herald file)

“Ed was so inspired and so transfixed, that he decided to become a scientist,” Nunn said. “He was so smart and so creative and so passionate about the role science and geology can play in the extracting of natural resources as potential for alternative energy sources.”

In the Navy, Ed Nixon was an aviator, a helicopter flight instructor, and a University of Washington assistant professor of naval science, according to the non-profit by the Richard Nixon Foundation. Along with a bachelor’s degree in geology from Duke University, he earned a master’s in geological engineering from North Carolina State University. He was president of Nixon World Enterprises, a consulting business.

Ed Nixon worked on his brother’s presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972 and served as co-chairman of the Nixon re-election committee in 1972.

After the president’s visit to China in 1972, a key first step in establishing relations between the two countries, Ed Nixon made more than 30 diplomatic trips to the country. Zhang Ping, consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, was also among the guests at the memorial.

Ed Nixon visited The Daily Herald a decade ago for an interview about his memoir, “The Nixons: A Family Portrait,” co-authored by Karen Olson.

In his 2009 book and The Herald interview, he shared White House memories. “Regarding Watergate, we had no firsthand knowledge of the break-in or anything that followed,” he wrote in “The Nixons: A Family Portrait.”

There were better times. Ed Nixon and his wife attended White House state dinners. “Gay and I stayed in the rose-colored Queens’ Bedroom across the hall from the famous Lincoln Bedroom,” he wrote.

Along with teaching math, Gay Nixon played the accordion and performed in a Finnish folk music ensemble, Northwest Pelimannit. The group has appeared at the Taste of Edmonds.

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