Someone you should remember has died.
Edward James “The Deacon” Proudfoot rode with the Oakland Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for more than 40 years and he managed to stay out of jail and out of the newspapers most of that time.
In a feature story titled “Hells Angels – Homes, Wives and Paychecks” the Los Angeles Times held Proudfoot up as an example of the mellowing of the club. Of his wedding at the Bass Lake Run in 1970 the Times reported:
The Way We Were
“The wedding was held in the middle of the camp. It was an admittedly odd scene; one that harked back to the days of Jim Bridger. Big, tall, bearded men with long knives strode around drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle and eating hunks of bloody, charred beef impaled on the end of long knives.
“‘Let’s get this wedding started,’ one of them roared over the hard-rock music that blared from two speakers on the top of a station wagon. Then he guzzled hard on his whiskey and staggered into a tree.
“But most were sober. They stood or sat with their wives or girls, waiting for the services to begin. Some were smoking joints. Some were sipping beer or soda.
“The rock music died and was replaced by Johnny Cash’s ‘Wanted Man’ as the two grooms, Edward James (The Deacon) Proudfoot, 26, and Clifford Clark (Skip) Workman, 32, both Oakland Angels stepped forward with their brides.
“All music and talk stopped and quietly the marriage by the shore of Bass Lake was performed.”
A Quiet Life
If you have ever tried to live up to the image of the old timers who rode 74s, Deacon Proudfoot was one of the men up to whom you were trying to live.
Proudfoot earned the name Deacon because he was ordained by the Universal Life Church and in 1983 he married “Mouldy” Marvin Gilbert on the shore of the same lake where he was wed.
Proudfoot picked up two or three very minor charges over the years which were usually blown out of proportion. When his life was difficult it was often because he spent his life riding with men who were independent and proud.
Last September 23rd the Oakland police raided Proudfoot’s home during his 65th birthday party. The police claimed to be hunting for two murder suspects who allegedly knew someone Proudfoot knew. The police put Proudfoot in cuffs, ransacked his home and shot and killed one of his dogs. An Oakland police spokesman later called it a “protective sweep of the house of the resident.”
Proudfoot’s lawyer, Portia Glassman, called the home invasion, “just another incident in which the Sheriff has focused on a member of the Hells Angels due to his affiliation with the club and not due to any illegal behavior.”
A Peaceful Passing
Proudfoot was still an Angel when he died July 4th. He watched the Oakland fireworks show from a boat in the harbor. As he walked off the boat he lost his breath and sat down and closed his eyes. Edward James Proudfoot died with a smile on his face.
He is survived by his wife Shelley Milliorn, five children, at least five hundred times that many club brothers and at least another thousand friends. He was buried July 17th in Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland next to his brothers.
Requiescat In Pace