We are learning more about the sudden passing of a local World War II veteran. Captain Ed Reep died Wednesday, just 43 days before he was scheduled to fly to Washington D.C. as part of the next Kern County Honor Flight.
At the age of 95, Captain Ed Reep's heart suddenly failed. He was surrounded by his family when he passed, and now his family is surrounded by his art, pieces he created serving in World War II and beyond.
"This painting up here he did on the battlefield," said Susan Reep, pointing at one of her dad's paintings hanging in her house.
Susan says there are hundreds of pieces of art her father, combat artist, Captain Ed Reep, created in his lifetime.
"We're all going to miss him. I don't want to think about it," said Susan, trying to hold back tears.
Susan called her dad her hero. And, he was a war hero, too. During World War II, Captain Reep's duty was to capture images and create propaganda. So, while he too had a gun, he also had an arsenal of art supplies.
"Many artists will dispute that you can paint on the spot, that you can paint at the front while things were happening. But he did, so you can," said Susan.
Susan videotaped an interview with her dad in September, talking about the war and his art. His war story was also immortalized at American Sound Recording Studios for the Library of Congress. And, he was supposed to join other WWII veterans on April 12th, on board the next Honor Flight.
"Just a couple of days ago, he said gosh, I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to make the Honor Flight, but I guess I'll have time to decide. So, he was still hoping to," said Susan.
Captain Ed Reep's friend and fellow artist, Felix Adamo, saw him just days before he died.
"He was happy as can be and in great shape. Those things happen though, I guess. I'm going to miss him," said Adamo.
But, so many can still see the world the way Reep did in his 95 years, through his art. His pieces now hang in countless museums, like the Smithsonian and the Pentagon. And, they also hang in his children's homes. They are pieces that, with every stroke and line, draw some comfort in saying goodbye to a local treasure.
"We sure had high hopes for him to have a couple more years of good friendship and good times, but he had a lot and we had a lot," said Susan.
Captain Ed Reep's ashes along with his wife's, will be combined and laid to rest at at the Bakersfield National Cemetery. They met at a U.S.O. dance during the war.
The Reep family is planning a funeral for March 7th.