This year’s Timber Days honoring one of event’s founding supporters
He made a life out of his knowledge of wood. The trees that fill the local land and his passion for the industry were as well known as he himself was.
His name was Ed Nicholson and he’ll be missed and remembered forever. Nicholson passed away in July.
This year’s fourth annual Timber Days Festival is dedicated to the memory of Nicholson and his involvement in the timber industry, according to Bill Middleton, chairman of the Timber Days Festival.
‘He’s going to be really missed,’ noted Kathy Trump, former member of the Greater Connellsville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Timber Days Festival is the brainchild of both Trump and Connellsville Mayor Tom Duncan. Trump said that without Nicholson and his good friend, Harry Burnsworth, the event wouldn’t exist today.
‘Ed Nicholson was deeply involved. He was a very well-known man in the timber industry. He was really instrumental in getting this thing off of the ground,’ noted Trump.
Scott Nicholson, one of Ed’s two sons, spoke about his father’s dedication to the business and the timber industry.
‘He’s basically been in the industry his whole life. Timber was his life and he believed in promoting that. It’s important to a lot of people in our area and he really believed in the importance of the festival,’ said Nicholson.
He added that his father began working in the timber industry after he returned home from active duty in World War II.
‘He started with nothing and built it to the business it is today,’ said Nicholson.
He explained that his father worked cutting mine posts for the coal mines in the early 1960s when he had a small portable saw mill. The portable mill was described as a small operation that was set up on blocks. ‘It was hauled from job to job,’ he noted.
In the early 1970s, Ed Nicholson owned and operated a stationary mill in Normalville that was operated by electric. Scott Nicholson said that his father choose the location due to the resources that our area offers.
‘We have the best wild cherry, red oak and poplar in this part of the country,’ he noted.
He explained that to obtain the wood the family would either purchase the property or they would purchase the timber that was on the property from the land owners. ‘That’s how it was then and it’s how it works now,’ he noted.
Frances Nicholson, who married Ed on May 12, 1947, said that her husband was extremely educated on trees and noted that when he started in the industry he was always in the woods.
‘He spent a lot of time in the woods. He worked everyday in the woods until he got his own mill. Even then he still went in the woods a lot,’ she said.
‘He knew all the trees and what they were,’ she added.
Frances Nicholson recalled when her husband became involved in the implementation of the Timber Days celebration.
‘Oh, he was very well dedicated to it. Timber was his life’s passion. He worked real closely with Harry Burnsworth. They were good friends and Ed really admired his skill,’ she said.
Frances Nicholson, who is still mourning as her husband recently died, noted that she’s not the only one who misses her husband, everyone does.
He was born on Jan. 31, 1923, and died on July 16, 2001, and while he his gone he’ll never be forgotten. His affiliation with the Timber Days Festival was just one of many, many activities.
In his lifetime, he sponsored many adult and youth sports leagues, and granted a scholarship to a Connellsville High School Senior student annually. The scholarship is known as the Ed Nicholson Sons Memorial Scholarship Fund and he was also an active member of the Indian Head Church of God.
‘He’ll be missed by anyone that’s ever known him,’ noted Middleton who added that the lumberjack with the highest overall score at the event will receive a Ed Nicholson Memorial Trophy.
‘I think after this event we’ll forever give the Ed Nicholson Memorial Trophy to the best all-around in the competition,’ Middleton said.