Art has a way of making the creator immortal. Such is the case with Ed Laine.
The longtime South Lake Tahoe resident died November 8, 2018, at home. He was 87.
Beyond a large family and rich trove of friends, Ed leaves behind a legacy as an artist. He was a quiet man who for years let his voice be heard through his work.
Born in Palo Alto on October 17, 1931, to Selma Alquist and John Laine, Ed grew up in the Bay Area, having graduated from Sequoia Union High School in 1950. He attended San Jose State College, Cal Arts and the University of Oregon. In Oregon he majored in art.
In 1957, he moved to South Lake Tahoe and never left.
Collecting a hundred bucks a month making pottery wasn’t paying the bills so he had to find another line of work. So began a career in advertising and photography, where he saw the South Shore grow, businesses come and go, and lived through the evolution of printmaking. He was hired by the Tahoe Daily Tribune to do “everything,” is how Ed described it.
He became advertising manager for the newspaper and staff photographer. With a population of less than 5,000 at the time in South Lake Tahoe, it also meant there were not many businesses. Selling ads was hard. The good thing at the time is businesses didn’t have a ton of choices for reaching the consumer. The biggest advertisers were Harrah’s, Harveys, Outdoorsman and Barney’s.
By the time Laine left the Tribune in 1967 he had married, Del, who wrote columns for the paper. They had met through a children’s theater project Del was spearheading. Ed had volunteered to do carpentry work on the set.
Together they opened Laine Associates. It was an ad agency. However, there were not enough advertisers to sustain the business so they took the photography aspect of the company and started Laine Photolabs. Weddings were the principal component of the business before sports were added. Ed was using a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic, which was cumbersome.
For about seven years he volunteered to photograph sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail for the nonprofit association. It involved lugging heavy camera gear into various locations. For the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Ed did a substantial amount of photocopying of old pictures that were donated to the organization. A retired police sergeant from Fresno started an institute in South Lake Tahoe for officers to learn how to photograph evidence. Laine was one of the instructors. He was also a photographer for the Nevada Rock Art Foundation.
The one-hour photo business became a reality when Laine Photolabs moved from South Lake to Round Hill in 1989.
Ed’s interest in art spanned watercolor and oil paintings, pottery and photography. In 2009, he was awarded Best of Show for his painting “A Pair “ at the Lake Tahoe Community College annual art festival.
Ed had been an actor in the Tahoe Community Theater, and was a founding member of the Tahoe Children’s Theater, having served as stage manager and “Smiley” the clown. He had taught photography at Lake Tahoe Community College, was a president of Kiwanis Club of South Lake Tahoe, founding member and president of Lake Tahoe Historical Society, past elder of Lake Tahoe Presbyterian Church, and a member of Friends of the Library.
He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1952-53.
Ed is survived by his wife of 56 years, Del Laine; daughters Brooke Laine (Jose Olivares), Alison Reynolds (Brian) and Paige Dinh (Phillip); sons Paul Laine and Robin Laine (Tom); grandchildren Nikolas (Sarahi) and Matthew (Tess) Olivares-Laine, Jason, Austin, Maegan, Trevin and Collin Reynolds, Shelby, Chandler and Kaylee Dinh and Max Costa.
A Celebration of Life will be held December 1st from 10am-noon at Lake Tahoe Golf Course (2500 Emerald Bay Road) in Meyers. Friends and family will share memories surrounded by Ed’s art, handmade Kayak, music, and snacks.