Cover photo for Edwin Gren's Obituary
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1960 Edwin 2023

Edwin Gren

December 18, 1960 — August 25, 2023

Spokane Valley, WA


Edwin “Ed” Howard Gren passed away unexpectedly on August 25, 2023 at age 62.
Ed was born on December 18, 1960 in Fontana, California to John Edward and Barbara Lucille
Gren. He attended grade school in Riverside, California. According to his father, his intelligence
became apparent very quickly. By the time he was in 5 th grade, he had read every book in the
school library, including the entire Britanica Encyclopedia. His dad would quiz him to see if he
was really understanding what he was reading and Ed could recite everything he read from
memory and explain what it meant. He also read all of the standard works (The Book of
Mormon, The Old and New Testament, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great
Price) by the time he was in 5 th grade.

In 1972, his family moved to St. Ignatius, Montana – the place he always considered home, with
his much -loved Mission Mountains.

As a boy, Ed started in cub scouts and continued until he was about 18. His father was the
Scoutmaster the whole time, allowing them to do the activities together. He achieved the rank of
Star. Ed was the Webelos leader when his son, Paul, was in scouts. They had great fun making
the Pinewood Derby cars! Ed went to Wood Badge, a training camp for scout leaders in Farragut
State Park. His camping skills came in handy – he was excellent at starting fires, tying all kinds
of knots and wood carving. He found several sticks that he carved into walking sticks.
Ed loved horses and spent many happy hours on the backs of his horses in the Mission
Mountains. He took many trips with his dad and sister, as well as scout trips up the mountains.
For a time, he broke horses for one of the ranchers who lived in the Mission Valley. He used
gentle persuasion, believing that harsh methods were not necessary. He was right and was very

During his teenage years, he worked for farmers in the area milking cows, moving huge sprinkler
pipes, and bucking hay bales that weighed more than he did. These jobs taught him a work ethic
that he passed on to all of his children.

In high school, Ed was in drama. He was a built-in prompter because he had a photographic
memory. He would read the script one time and have all the parts memorized! When their kids
were in plays and shows, Ed loved going to see them. He was so proud of his kids for their
talents, their work ethic and professional behavior during both rehearsals and shows.
Ed did track in high school and was the only athlete to run both the one mile and the two-mile
races in the same meet. He was 6’ tall and weighed 135 pounds, so he was lean and well suited to
running. He used to run 10 miles out of town and then turn around and run back. Sometimes his
team mates would go out with him, but they’d have to call someone to pick them up at the 10-
mile mark because they couldn’t go any farther. He always got a kick out of telling that story. He
was always grateful to his teacher and coach, Mr. Bill Bartlett, who saw him standing by the
vending machines at lunch and saw potential in him as a runner.
To show his gratitude, Ed played practical jokes on Mr. Bartlett. At some point, Mr. Bartlett
came to school in a Volkswagen Bus with a license plate reading “Free N EZ”. It became an
ongoing joke for everyone to call the bus “Free Nez”, to which Mr. Bartlett responded, “It’s Free
‘N Easy!” Decades later when Mr. Bartlett was Ashley’s science teacher, and he recounted the
story, he said, “Those Montanans never got it right! Don’t tell your dad I said that.” When
Ashley came home and told Ed about it, he revealed they knew exactly what it said, but the
reaction Mr. Bartlett gave was just too funny.

In 1979, he graduated from St. Ignatius High School. In 1981, he served a mission for The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Chicago, Illinois. He was present for the
dedication of the Chicago Temple during that time. He often shared memories of the Tongan
Elders in his group at the Missionary Training Center. He was impressed by their faith,
friendliness and obedience. He was also impressed with their volleyball skills! Ed worked hard
on his mission. His health didn’t allow him to serve his full time, and he felt bad about that.
However, his family reminded him numerous times through the years that he served honorably
and the fact that he went at all was an act of faith and obedience to the Lord.
During Ed’s mission, his parents moved to Spokane, WA. Ed came to Spokane upon his return.
A good thing too, because that is where he met his future wife, Melodie Schilling. They went to
Young Adult Family Home Evening at the Stake President’s home. Ed was smitten, but Melodie
had no clue! She had always wanted to serve a mission of her own and in 1985, she left to serve
in South Africa. As soon as she got her mission call, Ed sent her a dozen yellow roses. After they
were married, Melodie asked Ed why he waited to send the roses until after her mission call
came. She said she wouldn’t have gone if he’d sent them before the call arrived! He responded,
“You were perfect in every way except that you weren’t a return missionary. I was willing to

Ed and Melodie were married in the Seattle Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints on September 12, 1986. Their 38 th wedding anniversary was last Tuesday.
Together they were blessed with 4 children: Paul, Melissa, Ashley, and Nathan. They were Ed’s
pride and joy. Everything he did was for them. When they were little he was playful and was a
great dad. He taught them to follow the prophet. His motto was, “When the Prophet speaks, the
discussion is over.”

Ed’s work ethic was incredible and he worked at many jobs in order to provide for his family.
His favorite profession was working as a gunsmith. He and his father owned Gren’s Custom
Gunworks, where Ed invented a way to convert black powder pistols to using bullets. The
cowboy re-enactment shooters loved them.

When the kids were little, Ed got up at 3:00 a.m. every single day for 13 years to deliver 350
newspapers. During part of this time he also went to school. He earned an associate of arts
degree from Spokane Falls Community College in 1995. At Eastern Washington University he
was studying history.

Ed’s health had been a challenge for many years. He was injured many times and had
degenerative arthritis in his neck, back and hips. In 1998, Ed was diagnosed with Bi-Polar
disorder, and in 2000 he was in a car accident that left him with a brain injury that took away his
ability to access his intelligence. Overnight Ed lost his genius IQ, photographic memory, many
of his memories, and the ability to remember new things.

Through all of that, he kept his faith and never once asked “Why me”? He always said that he
hadn’t suffered as much as Jesus had. Life was frustrating as Ed and Melodie came to terms with
what they had lost and their children tried to understand why their dad was no longer the dad
they knew. Eventually, Ed was able to find new talents and connect with his kids in different
ways. Ed introduced the kids to the card game Yi-Gi-Oh!, supported Nathan in his BMX bicycle
racing, was ever supportive of their music and acting, and, when Ashley wanted to act in

Children’s Youth Theater, he began making the most amazing costumes. That success resulted in
his making prom dresses for the girls and a kilt for Paul. His talent was astonishing and

In recent years Ed struggled with his health more and more. Although we will miss him terribly,
we know that he is now free from pain and he is his real self mentally. Imagine his joy at seeing
his mother again!

Ed is survived by his wife, Melodie; his children Paul and his wife Sarah, Melissa, Ashley and
Nathan and his fiancé, Holly. He is also survived by his father, John Gren, his sister Carla and
her children Jamal, Justin, Joshua, Jamie, Julie, Jessi, Jared and Jordon and their families. He is
also survived by his mother’s sister, Aunt Nita Walker as well as numerous cousins.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edwin Gren, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, September 16, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Valley Stake Center

21022 E. Wellesley Otis, Orchards, WA 83854


Click to watch

Please join us for the memorial service of Edwin Gren. We will have a service at 1, followed by a luncheon at 2 where some of his artwork and gowns will be displayed. We will also have a virtual option. Here is the link: The webinar ID is 921 1846 8363.
Don't feel like you have to wear black! Wear whatever is comfortable. Thank you and hope to see you there.

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