Edward Lee Prentice (Ed) of Gordon, NE, died at the age of 81 August 29, 2013 at Gordon Countryside Care.
Edward was born at Mullen, Nebraska, November 9, 1931 to William and Rosa Prentice, older brother Harold and younger brother Dan and two sisters Annabelle Prentice (Evert) and Dixie Prentice (Hespe). All the children went to country schools. Ed and Harold were the only two in the school district and had school in their own home, the school room was also the teacher’s bedroom.
In 1939, the family moved from the Mullen Sandhills to Keya Paha County, Springview, Nebraska where all of the Prentice children attended high school. The family lived 16 miles from town where Ed rode his bicycle to attend Junior Legion Baseball practice, where he became quite a pitcher for the team.
In 1949, Ed and Neal Swim fed the cattle and did the chores for Ory Swim ranch while the Swim’s took their daughter to a boarding school in eastern Nebraska; the famed ’49 blizzard struck and stopped all traffic in the area. The tractor was helpless, but the horse and hay rack served to feed the cattle for the next eleven days! It was a great thing the chickens were laying about 40 eggs a day as this provided Ed and Neal three meals a day. The Army opened the road to the ranch at about 10:00 at night, on the eleventh day. As the owner returned, the cattle had all pooled around the house where shelter belt, water, and feed were available. The owner was amazed that not one head of his registered herd was lost!
Ed then went to Mullen, Nebraska, and stayed with his ailing grandparents while working at a sheet metal shop. Then on July 4, 1950, he moved to Gordon, Nebraska, with the sheet metal shop, then that November enlisted in the Navy. On December 20, Ed was inducted in Denver, Colorado; he then arrived by train in San Diego, CA. On December 24, 1950, the recruits were bused to the training center, arriving at 7:00 PM where the 51 recruits had to sleep on the lawn, as the office was closed for Christmas. Thank God it didn’t rain until about 4:00 in the morning. Amen!
After seven weeks of basic training, Ed enrolled into a metal smith school for two months, and graduated second in the class. He then waited for about a week before he received orders to report to the Naval Air Station in El Centro, California, transportation department where he drove truck for two years. After two years, he received orders to report to Honolulu, Hawaii where he boarded the USS Genesee AOG-8, a light oil ship which delivered oil and gas to the south Pacific Islands during the Korean War. He received his discharge in October 1954, and returned back to Gordon, Nebraska.
On April24, 1955, Ed married Hazel Haley from Millboro, SD, and they returned to Gordon, NE, to make their home. He purchased a bankrupt heating and air conditioning business and ran it until November 1973. Ed worked for Magowan Grain Company for 15 years. Then he carried rural mail route for 6 years. All three of his children, Steve, Sonya and Shelly received their education in Gordon. Ed and Hazel have 6 grandchildren, (5 granddaughters and one grandson), one great granddaughter and 4 great grandsons.
During Ed’s life in Gordon, he became a member of the American Legion Post #34, along with Arcana Lodge #195 and Royal Chapter #184 Order of Eastern Star. He was over a 50 year member in all three organizations. Also Ed became a pilot and owned his own airplane for a short while; he flew to the Sandhills and serviced furnaces when he was in the heating business.
Ed retired in January 1994, and then along with his wife Hazel, traveled south to Arizona during the winters for 7 years. They both enjoyed the memories of their travels to the south country.
Ed, was preceded in death by his parents, William and Rosa Prentice, and one younger brother Danny of Arizona, also his mother and father-in-law Ervy and Ida Haley.
Memorial services were held Saturday September 7, 2013, 10:30 AM at the United Methodist Church, Gordon, Nebraska with Reverend Abigail Eltzroth officiating. Inurnment burial with Military Honors was held in the Gordon Cemetery.
The family suggests memorial donations to the Masonic Temple Building Fund and may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home PO Box 366 Gordon, NE 69343.