Edward James “Deacon” Proudfoot

July 25, 2009

All Posts, Obituaries

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

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19 Responses to “Edward James “Deacon” Proudfoot”

  1. Glen kelly Says:

    Kamela Raines,thank you for the information on Ed Proudfoot.my oldest brother earl Kelly knew Lyle Cunningham,earl Kelly owned a club in miles city called Kelly’s gas lite,they made money in those days.ed cousin Jeff Proudfoot I also lost track of,if you know his where abouts Please tell him about me. Thank you Glen Kelly

  2. Muldoon's Old Lady Says:

    I was never properly introduced to Deacon. We partied with some of the same people: Billy (Monkey Doon) Muldoon, Bobby Powers, Ken Johnson, Timmy (Wolfman) Patterson, Paul Williams, and so many other ‘regulars’. We’d open Just Janey’s bar in the a.m. and party all day/evening, until they’d close the place at night. Then, we’d party all night at a regular’s house all night until it was time to accompany the bar tender back to Janey’s the next day. And the cycle would repeat itself, day in/day out, week in/week out. A couple of times a week, we’d head over to The Hilltop in Oakland, for a change of venue. It was the quintessential 1970s and it was a BLAST! Amongst the most colorful characters you could ever imagine, Deacon (I never knew him by any other name) was larger than life, standing taller and stronger than all others! He was respected and admired (and, by many, feared) more than any other person in that society! Without a doubt, he defined that era. A’ho. Rest in Peace, Deacon Proudfoot.

  3. Johnny Joseph Says:

    In early 1994 I took my 94 HD Special Construction up to an Easyriders sponsored show in Vallejo to see if I could win an award for Best Custom Build.
    (The bike and I was on the cover of In The Wind in the September,1994 issue)
    I met a half dozen gentlemen with the Filthy Few patch on their cut and I don’t know if I have ever been treated with more respect than I did with those Men. Very classy and some of the funniest guys I ever had the pleasure to meet. RIP Deacon

  4. GP Says:

    Seems like the guys from Deacons era, some a little before, some a little after, were the last of the Real American Cowboys. These dudes were hard man. They lived for what they believed in and lived how they chose! Ya gotta respect that, as we just dont see too many people like them anymore. The one thing I really like about that club and its members is the close connection they have with the past. They made a few changes through the years, but stayed true to their club, their brothers and themselves! Many still do!!!Sometimes I wish I was born back in the 40’s- Early 50’s, just to have been part of those times. Seems like the past always looks better than the future for me. So long Mr. Proudfoot. Never met ya, but it looks like you made your mark on this world!

  5. Suzi Roberts Says:

    i was a dumb little hippie when i wandered into the Hilltop in Oakland back in 72 or73 and Deacon rescued me from a bathroom full of angry ‘old ladies’ put me in a cab and sent me away from there. We stayed in touch off and on for years but then…like all things we stopped reaching out. i still remember some memorable people…Mike Walters Tiny, Pi, Bobby Powers, Billy McGee, Just Janie’s bar (much safer than the Hilltop for me anyway)

  6. Linda Shackelfor Says:

    I am one Eddie’s sisters. We had the same mother but different fathers. He also has another sister and 2 brothers. I only had the privilege of meeting Eddie a couple of times. We he came to see us in about 71 and again in 73 when our mother passed away. Our mothers name was Gertie don’t know much about his dad just his name Floyd Proudfoot and they married in Montana I would have loved to have really know my brother so people never wait.

  7. Kamela Raines Says:

    Glen Kelly – he did indeed spend time in Miles City MT and if u know a fella by the name of Lyle Cunningham, well then you know the man who raised him – now there’s an outlaw for ya – he ran an active whore house in miles city called the wild horse! I had the pleasure of growing up around him and knew him well thru my parents. Eddie was up at the Wildhorse during buckinghorse many times and went so far as to give my mom one helluva a ride on his bike. What makes this odd? Welllll :::: my dad was a federal agent and believe me when I say neither Lyle nor Eddie had a fondness for law enforcement lol – but my dad is and was a rebel in his own right and years before he even knew about Lyles strong connection to Eddie they’d become fast friends and bonded over beer – cheap whiskey and song. Lyle often said he never saw a cop he liked, until my dad walked in his establishment …I have soooo many fond memories of Lyle and his bride Maryonna :::: so many!!!

  8. Chris Fitzhugh Says:

    I knew Deakon since 1967. (He had the nickname way before The Universal Life Church.) Beside the stuff mentioned here, somebody (I guess it’s up to me) should say something about the concerts he and Fu produced under Charlie Magoo Productions and later after Fu’s death as Proudfoot Productions.
    In 1982 at the Spartan Stadium in San Jose, CA, Deakon and Fu put on the biggest country-western show of all time… (About 30,000 and many, many Harleys). The attendance record stood until Steve Wozniak (a co-founder of Apple) financed a mega festival featuring different kinds of music, many years later. On July 4, 2009 Deakon died as he lived: “All of a sudden.” Remember his favorite saying “Shame on you (polite version) if you can’t take a joke.”

  9. Glen kelly Says:

    Was Ed proudfoot,from Montana.If so we had gone to school together in miles city Montana please let me know. Glen kelly

  10. jose Says:

    I was there there Deacon got rat packed and lost half his ear from a HARD boot
    blood in for deacon when he was just coming around . I was there at the hells angels bar in oakland – when deacon was a crossman

    I was one of the original 6 crossmen .

  11. Barry Cooney Says:

    Brother Deacon, have not seen you and Shelley since The Ranch in Sturgis. RIP pal….. BC

  12. Miss Krista Says:

    Deac I’m sure you and Irish and my Scully are riding the skyway and you’re crackin’ your whip at every nice booty you pass. You will be sorely missed and fondly remembered. Love and Respect.

  13. robert Says:

    i am sure he is missed by all Rest in peace my granson is named after him

  14. TigGirl Says:

    Deacon was a sweetheart of a man in addition to being one of those “larger than life” legends. His passing left a hole in the world.

  15. sled tramp Says:

    Usta take my old worn out rear 16’s and toss them over Deakon’s fence.A lot of guys did that back in the mid to late seventies.I’ll miss him, he was a good guy.

  16. Estes Proudfoot Says:

    R.I.P. I wished I knew you better.

  17. Fatbob Says:

    RIP Proudfoot – you lived like most people dream.

  18. David Trask Says:

    I am sad to find out about the death of Deakon. He and I along with Boomer and Rick Talbot worked with Waylon in the ole days. The last time I saw Deakon was at a Highwaymen Show at the Mountain Shadows Amphitheater 15 years ago. He was a good man. We graced the back album cover of Waylon’s Black on Black album along with Boomer and Rick.
    Rest In Peace,
    David

  19. JAMES Says:

    SOUNDS AS THOUGH HE LIVED AND DIED AS HE HAD WISHED, A LIFE OF TRUE HAPPINESS.

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