28 Dec

By Bob, Remembering Brother Ed

By Bob, Remembering Brother Ed*

Dearest Ed,

I have been contemplating this letter for some time. As I think back on my life, I realize how lucky I have been to have three brothers and a sister who were so important in my life. In particular, this letter is a testimony to all you did for me and indirectly for my family (Shirley, Matt and Maura). I can’t imagine what my life would have been without your presence.

I have been thinking a great deal about all the wonderful things you did for me, Mom and Dad and your other siblings. I still have vivid memories of the trip we took to White Sands in the summer of 1954.  This trip was the first such trip in my life out of Kansas. That trip opened my eyes to so many wonderful experiences. It amazes me that the five of us were able to make that trip in your new Studebaker without any air conditioning and with all the clothes we took with us. Here is a picture of the car from that trip. The spare tire is mounted on top of the car so all our luggage was in the trunk. How in the world did we make it up Pikes Peak?

I have no idea where this picture was taken, but it certainly was not in KANSAS. You are standing at the door and Dad is standing near the front of the car.

Here are some other pictures from that trip.

Ed, Mom and me                          Unknown

Me at White Sands

I still have some vivid memories of that trip. I saw my first missile launch. I recall that the missile looked as though it was coming right at me. Of course, it was an optical illusion. I remember that we crossed into Mexico at El Paso.

I remember very little of the trip back to Kansas except that we did go through Oklahoma on the way home.

That trip opened my eyes to a world beyond Leavenworth – it was made possible by you. Thank you!

Mary tells me that she moved to Michigan in the fall of 1954 and lived with you near Schoolcraft and Telegraph. I do remember our first trip to Michigan in the 49 Plymouth that Dad acquired. I believe that you must have had something to do with Dad getting that car. Regardless, that car opened up yet another world to me when Mom, Dad and I drove to Michigan and stayed with you out on Schoolcraft. I have a vivid memory of going to the racetrack on that trip and watching harness racing.  Thank you for opening up a whole new world to me on that trip.

That 49 Plymouth was Dad’s first car. I do know that he had a motorcycle at some point but I have never seen a picture of that motorcycle.

You opened up another world to me through all the fishing trips to Michigan, one to Canada with Jim McGlinn and Dad and the great trips out west. They happened because you made them happen. Thank you again!

Here are some pictures of fish we caught on one of our early trips up North. I think these were walleyes that we caught on Walled Lake.


I have flashbacks to other fishing experiences in Michigan when I was a youth. In particular, I remember you taking us out on Lake Michigan to troll for Lake Trout. I don’t have any pictures of this but I do have a fond memory of the experience. Ed, thank you.

I remember that you took my best friend all through grade school and high school (Bill Sommers) to Michigan with me one summer. As I recall it was after we had returned from fishing out west. You drove us to Michigan – we must have taken a train home – but I don’t remember that. Thank you!

I also remember spending a full month with you in Michigan the summer of 1961. I spent the time exercising and running to get in shape for the upcoming football and basketball seasons. I then took a train home and stopped in Chicago to see Bill and Louise. Thank you for that experience.

Shirley and I started dating on December 15, 1961. By that time Dad had another hand me down from you – the 1956 Chevy. By the way, I learned to drive in that car toward the end of my senior year in high school. I had a difficult time learning how to handle the clutch. I was behind the wheel and Dad was very frustrated with me. He had me stop in front of St. Joseph’s Church on Broadway in Leavenworth. He got out of the car and walked home leaving me with the car and orders to “figure it out on your own.” Well, I did and I managed to drive it home and park it without his help.

Mom, Dad, Shirley and I took a trip to Michigan shortly after Shirley and I graduated from IMAC. Shirley was treated royally by you, Mary and Walt, Dick and Elaine, and Bill and Louise (we stopped there on the way home). I did most of the driving on that trip to Michigan. Dad forced me to drive across the Mackinaw Bridge pulling the small house trailer he had acquired. I don’t know if you had anything to do with Dad acquiring that trailer, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you did.

I have a vivid memory of us attending a Fourth of July fireworks show out in Plymouth on that trip and it was fantastic! We also stopped at Bill and Louise’s on the way home. Bill and Louise took Shirley and me to 2nd city in Chicago.

As you may recall, Mom and I drove to Michigan after school was over in late spring of 1964 in a Chevy II that we got to replace the 56 Chevy. Again, I suspect that you had something to do with that purchase. You had managed to arrange a summer job for me at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. I can’t tell you how much that helped me. Shirley and I were separated at that time and I really needed to get out of Leavenworth – of course the money was also a huge help. THANK YOU!

Mom and I also got to attend your wedding to Judy that summer.

Shirley and I reconnected not long after I returned to Kansas in the fall of 1964. Of course, we married on August 14, 1965. This year is our 50th Anniversary. I still refer to August 14 as our anniversary because I still feel her presence in my life. Shirley graduated from Saint Mary’s (now called the University of Saint Mary) in 1966. I graduated from KU that same year.

We spent a year at Emporia State where I got my Master’s degree in mathematics and Shirley got pregnant. She was also a student at Emporia. In fact, we were there because she had an NSF fellowship. I had a position as a graduate teaching assistant. Of course, Matt was born in Emporia.

We needed to make some money so we could continue on in graduate school. Thanks to your effort, I secured a job as a computer programmer at Bendix in Ann Arbor! That gesture propelled the two of us on our way to successful teaching careers at SIU in Carbondale. We each taught at SIU for 39 years.

I have no idea how much you helped Mary, Dick and Bill. But I’m certain that you were involved somehow. Certainly, it was no accident that Mary and Dick ended up in Michigan and that Bill worked one summer at Bendix.

But this letter is not about them. This letter is a long overdue thank you to YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You had a dramatic impact on my life. I owe a great part of my success in life to you because of the dramatic impact you have had in my life.

THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!



*Note: Ed died Oct. 22, 2017  at the age of 89 in Farmington, Michigan

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Dick, thanks for another lovely piece on Ed.

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