Edmund “Ed” Bieganski came into this world at Cover, Pennsylvania, on February 4, 1920. He was the third of the six sons born to Josef and Katherine Wroblewski Bieganski. These boys, referred to by the locals as the “brothers six” grew up on a dairy farm near Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.
These were the depression years and young Ed began watching for ways to make a little money. He started with pounding nails for a new barn being built on the way to school (sometimes instead of school) and earning $1.00 a day. At the age of seventeen, Ed’s second brother left home and headed west. Ed listened closely to the tales of those adventures, shared with the family on a return trip, and decided that was what he wanted to do. Upon turning eighteen and graduating high school Ed tasted the life of a hobo, riding trains, picking up odd jobs, carnival work, truck driving, and hitchhiking. He followed in his older brother’s footsteps that led to the George Weise farm west of Chadron, Nebraska, and the Bass Truck Garden east of Chadron.
In August of 1939, Ed learned of the Fort Robinson Army Post and due to his working with horses in his growing-up years, was enlisted immediately into the Army. Thus began his twenty-year military career. He was issued his uniform (from what is now the Post Playhouse) and began his job in the Quartermaster Remount Station, classifying/documenting each horse with pedigree, height, weight, origin, and branded with its file number. That included breaking, and riding the horses to be issued to other forts for cavalry or horse-drawn artillery. This assignment continued for three years, during these years, he met a sweet school teacher from Valentine, Nebraska, on a blind date and he and Fern Linabery were married August 4, 1941. Fort Robinson has always been a special place for Ed all of his life.
When cavalry units were deactivated, Ed reenlisted and was assigned to a trucking company, where he was involved with the rebuilding of Iwo Jima. With his third reenlistment, he performed administrative duties in Okinawa, Japan; Fort Lee, Virginia; Frankfort, Germany; and Tooele, Utah.
During these military years, Ed and Fern had two children, Gary and Maria. The family lived in numerous locations of interest, including the Quonset huts in Okinawa, and was able to travel to all European countries.
In 1959, Ed retired from the army and moved the family back to Dawes County, Nebraska. “Retirement” brought on many other opportunities starting with building a home south of Chadron. Ed worked for Olson Moving and Storage, driving Allied Van Lines across the country, being a part of the Chadron Police Force, the US Forest service, and Pine Ridge Job Corp.
It was at Chadron State College that Ed earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and taught speech and communications, as well as adult and continuing education classes for a couple years. HE enjoyed maintaining his military connections with the Honor Guard, American Legion, VFW and while traveling across the country in the Allied Van Lines. Ed loved his ninety-nine-plus years full of life, adventure, experience and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Fern of 69 years, parents, son-in-law Gene Daniels, and four brothers. Immediate survivors include daughter Maria Daniels, son Gary and wife Donna, brother Arthur and wife Joan, 4 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.
A memorial has been established for the Chadron State College Foundation for the Ed Bieganski " Develop Your Potential " Endowment. Earnings from the Endowment provide scholarships to CSC Students who demonstrate a strong work ethic and the willingness to give back to society. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.
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