Edward Ralph Garber, Sr., 100, of Sabetha, Kansas died Friday, July 29, 2022, at the Sabetha Manor. Ed, as he was known, was born on May 16, 1922, the 6th child of Andrew and Anna (Hartter) Garber. He grew up on the family farm Northwest of Sabetha and attended the Berwick Country School through the 8th grade.
Ed entered military service on July 14, 1944 and was assigned to the 779th Tank Battalion. He was stationed in the Philippines and on Okinawa. Before leaving the service, he was transferred to the 316th Bomb Wing. Ed was honorably discharged on September 3, 1946.
Ed had many occupations throughout his lifetime. He lent a hand to the farmers and extended family over the years, and often took his wife and children on Sunday drives to see how the crops near the home place were doing. He also worked in construction, as a masonry contractor laying brick and block, learned how to install tile-you name it, he probably could figure out how to fix anything. In 1958, he started his company, Garber Building Materials. At first, the concrete was batched in a small mixer at the plant, scooped into the bed of a dump truck, delivered to the site, and scooped off. Soon he was able to upgrade to a mixer truck with the trademark red cab and white mixer. He expanded by adding a plant in Hiawatha, Kansas. He sold the business in 1998, but kept busy fixing and renting out golf carts, until he was 96.
Ed could be counted on to look out for elderly friends and relatives whether it was clearing sidewalks and driveways of snow in winter, taking his uncle to the barber or his brother for groceries. If a pallbearer was needed, he often got the call to fill in. He said it was the least he could do, to help take the deceased to their final rest.
Ed married Rosemary (Cramer) Ehlers on December 31, 1947. She had a five-year-old son, John, from her previous marriage. The family was made complete when twins, Margaret Ann Garber and Edward R. Garber, Jr., were born in November of 1948. Rosemary did the bookkeeping for Ed until her death in 1993 after 45 years of marriage.
Ed was an outdoorsman and a sports fan, but when he was introduced to golf, hunting and fishing took a backseat. John was still taking him golfing earlier this year. Whether it was football, KU basketball or a baseball game, if it was on TV, the channel was turned to that.
Ed took great pride in his military career and was a lifelong member of the American Legion. He also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars club. One of his cherished memories in later years was being able to take the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to see the National World War II Memorial.
In his middle years, he joined the Masonic Lodge and the Shriners. When the Masonic Lodge closed in Sabetha, he joined the Hiawatha York Rite Lodge and the Shriners Topeka Scottish Rite. He also served on the Sabetha City Commission as Finance Commissioner.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Rosemary Garber; his sisters, Ruth Seffer, Rose Mary, and Elizabeth; and his brothers, Andrew, John, Robert, Charles, and Allen.
Ed is survived by his children, John (Elaine) Garber, and Ed Garber, Jr. both of Sabetha, and Margaret Garber of Kansas City, Kansas; his grandchildren, Tresa (Scott) Burger, Matthew (Kimberly) Garber, Jill (Mathew) Bachtold, and Andrew (Megan) Garber; his 14 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews, some of whom attended his 100th birthday celebration in May with an open house at the Sabetha VFW Post 7285.
Funeral service and Masonic reading will be held Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at the Popkess Mortuary Chapel in Sabetha. A visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until service time at the funeral home. The interment will be made in the Sabetha Cemetery with full military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sabetha VFW Post 7285 and Sabetha Manor sent in care of Popkess Mortuary, 823 Virginia, Sabetha, Kansas 66534.