She was born in Salt Lake City, in her family home near Liberty Park, November 9, 1917 to C.H. and Ethel Rich Carlquist.
She was the middle sister of nine siblings, eight of whom were born in their Salt Lake City home.
They were all taught to read before attending school, "for self-defense," according to their mother.
She attended Emerson Elementary school, a school she would later return to as a teacher.
The Carlquist home was where she sat at the sewing machine, pedaling her feet, making clothes for the family. They no longer had the iceman stopping by each week as they did in their Salt Lake home so their dairy products were kept cold in a box in the nearby stream, coming down from Bell's Canyon. One of her favorite treats came straight out of the pickle barrel in the yard.
Perhaps her excitement was because she had the cherished role of playing the cymbals in the band, or playing piano for the orchestra.
Edith was only 15 years old at the time. After that, many others in the town asked her to teach their children. It was the beginning of nearly 90 years of teaching piano students.
In high school, she walked from the old Jordan High School building to Sandy Junction and caught the bus into the city. She transferred to the streetcar on 100 South, got off at 200 South, and walked to her teacher’s home on Douglas Street. She studied with Agnes Dahlquist Beckstrand, who had spent several years at the Berlin Conservatory of Music. Edith stayed the night in the small maid’s room. In the early morning, she caught the streetcar back, riding with a crowd of workers. While attending Jordan High she set the goal to attend college, saving her money from teaching piano lessons.
She then went on to Columbia Teachers College where she earned her master’s in piano pedagogy. She briefly returned to Utah and taught at Emerson Elementary, her own primary school. When she could afford it, she returned to New York and began studying at Julliard, where she had a powerful, personal experience praying about the Book of Mormon. The light that filled her room not only filled her testimony with faith but stayed with her for her entire life. She left Julliard in the middle of the term to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Initially, she was asked to serve in Boston, but told them she had too many friends there and would find it hard to stay focused.
In addition to sharing the gospel, she gave many concerts, helping raise funds for building a chapel. Upon completion of her mission, she went to the superintendent of the school in Santa Rosa, told them her experience and education, and was immediately hired to teach music (and a little math) for the middle school. On a Christmas vacation trip home to Utah, she met John Grant Reed, and they became engaged to marry. When he met her, she wore a beautiful red velvet hat. She would gain an instant family: John’s 14-year old son, Byron, and 10-year old daughter, Barbara.
They then moved to Hoytsville, Utah, where John began teaching seminary and Edith taught piano. For decades, even after they moved to their Salt Lake City home, Edith continued teaching countless students in Hoytsville and in nearby Coalville and Henefer. From 1949 until 2020, she taught; emphasizing rhythm, hand shape, and passing a love of music to many blessed students; often while bouncing one of her own babies on her knee. Edith raised eight children and her two step children in their 600 East home, where she lived until the day she died.
She was recognized with an award from the Utah Music Teachers’ Association for Advocacy in Action when she was 100 years old. It represented her indelible impact and dedication, serving as an active member of the association for decades, as well as many years as the festival chair for the Utah Federation of Music Clubs. As a gardener, she created an English cottage garden tucked into the Liberty-Wells neighborhood, receiving many gardening awards. She also worked and taught classes as a Temple Square gardener. She passed on that hard work and art of landscaping to her children and grandchildren, teaching them by example, and working in her garden up until her passing. In her later years, she taught many of her great-grandchildren and was teaching up until just days before she died. Between music, gardening, and life, she enjoyed countless friendships with extended family and community.