Cover photo for Edwin Junior Saltzman's Obituary
Edwin Junior Saltzman Profile Photo

Edwin Junior Saltzman

March 5, 1926 — August 20, 2023

Bakersfield, CA formally of the Wayland area

Edwin Junior Saltzman


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Edwin Junior Saltzman. Along with the sadness, however, there is the joyful knowledge that he is with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that we will see him again. Ed passed away peacefully at his home in Bakersfield on August 20, 2023, at the age of 97.


Graveside services will be 10:00AM, Saturday, September 16, 2023 at the North Hill Cemetery, north of Wayland, Iowa. Beatty-Peterseim Funeral Home is assisting with local arrangements.

Ed was born to Edwin J and Harriette Pauline (Boshart) Saltzman on March 5, 1926, in Henry County, Iowa. Ed’s mother passed away when he was 3 years old, and he spent the next few years alternately living with grandparents and various aunts and uncles. At one time, he even lived next door to a young girl named Lois Barquist, who would later become his wife. In fact, the story was often repeated about how he told his Grandma Saltzman “I’m going to marry that girl one day.” Despite being moved around from relative to relative during these years, Ed always talked about what a wonderful and blessed childhood he had, claiming that his Boshart relatives “spoiled him rotten”. At the age of 7, Ed's father married Zola Seberg and he later moved back to live with his father and stepmother, and his brother, Dennis.

Ed attended a number of different schools while growing up, but he eventually transferred to Olds Consolidated High School, in Olds, Iowa, where he became reacquainted with Lois Barquist. Knowing she was not allowed to date until she was 16, Ed asked her out for a date soon after her 16th birthday, and the rest is history. After graduating from high school in 1944, Ed enlisted in the Army Air Corps with hopes of becoming a pilot. Ed remained stateside during World War II, serving primarily in Texas and New Mexico. After the completion of his military service, Ed moved back to Iowa with the intention of becoming a farmer like his father. His father’s desire, however, was that Ed go to college, so he enrolled in Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, majoring in Physics and graduating in 1950. After completing his first year of college Ed and Lois married on June 16th, 1947. In 1951, Ed moved to California with Lois and their 2 children, Ann and David, to work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later becoming NASA), located at Edwards Air Force Base. During the years from 1954 to 1965, Ed and Lois added to their family with Mary, Beth, Bill, and John. Ed spent a total of 51 years at NASA, where he considered himself lucky to have a job that he loved so much. During his tenure at NASA, Ed was involved in many different projects, but his most rewarding projects would have to be his work on the X-15 and his research on improving the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency of long haul tractor trailer rigs. Ed’s work with the X-15 resulted in many published research papers, one of which was displayed in the Smithsonian as part of their X-15 exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum. For his aerodynamic truck work, Ed was inducted in 2009 into the Space Technology Hall of Fame.

Outside of his work life, Ed was always active and he loved the outdoors and hiking. Of particular note was his love of the Grand Canyon, which he described as his favorite place on Earth. He participated in many hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with NASA friends and family members, and participated in 3 rafting trips through the canyon. What is especially noteworthy was his hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a distance of 9.5 miles, when he was 86 years old, and his almost 300 mile canyon rafting trip when he was 93. Ed also loved to write poetry under the pen-name of Edwin Allen Poo, and he often talked about how much pleasure was gained from using the creative part of his brain. After the passing of Lois in 2013, Ed became involved with a group of friends that he referred to as “the geezers” or “the liar’s club”, and greatly enjoyed their weekly breakfast meetings and occasional field trips. A recent highlight of Ed’s life was his participation in May of 2022 of an Honor Flight to Washington DC. Aside from two “Rosie the Riveters”, Ed was the oldest World War II veteran on the trip and he felt honored to have served his country and to have accompanied other Kern County veterans on the flight.

Ed was preceded in death by his high-school sweetheart, Lois, his brother Dennis, and his son John. He is survived by the following children and their spouses: Ann and Steve Slimp, David and Linda Saltzman, Mary and Richard Larson, Beth and James Rothfuss, Bill and Lucy Saltzman and Janet Saltzman. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, 2 nephews 4 nieces, and many cousins.

Our family would like to thank Dr. Alan Cartmell, Alan Thomas, PA, the staff from CBCC, Hoffmann Hospice, and Tara Hager, RN, for providing such excellent care to a much beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations in Ed’s name be made to one of the following charitable organizations: Kern County Cancer Foundation, Hoffman Hospice, or Honor Flight Kern County.

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

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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