Early this morning I received a phone call from California; it was
a devastated Joanie Sprankle who told me that her husband Ed had
just passed away.
Ed and I had known each other for more than 30 years, eventually
becoming more like brothers than best friends. It was he who got me
started in the piano roll business, introducing me to the right people,
giving help where he could, always encouraging, generously offering
to share anything he had if he thought it might be of use to me.
I remember on one occasion when I stayed at his house in Oakland,
Calif., admiring a particular piano roll; when I returned home to
England I discovered that he had hidden that roll in my luggage!
Without doubt any success I have had in the piano roll industry is
entirely due to him.
He was a meticulous man, keeping his instruments in tiptop shape
and his roll collection in a strict logical sequence. He could not
tolerate untidiness or disorder of any kind; indeed, once when he was
staying with me I found him in the garage sorting out my tools which
were lying all over the place.
Ed was a well known, highly respected figure among ragtime piano roll
collectors. His own collection, while not as large as some I've seen,
was nevertheless impressive and contained quite a number of rare,
valuable items. Some of my happiest memories are the times we
travelled all over the United States scouring junk shops, giving whoops
of delight when we discovered something in our area of interest.
My family just adored him. My daughters often used to say that because
of his quiet reserved manner he could quite easily be mistaken for an
Englishman, an observation which clearly pleased him.
Rest in peace Ed Sprankle -- you brought joy and fulfillment into my
life, I shall never forget you.
[ John Mottoros writes that a memorial will be held after the
[ 4th of July holiday weekend. -- Robbie