Obituary of Edwin Pugh

Edwin “Eddie” Merle Pugh was called to his final cowboy round-up on Friday October 6, 2017.   A man who always put his word in a handshake, he worked hard all of his life, giving the shirt off of his back to help others. Eddie joined the Navy during WWII, denying his teen age years.  He survived polio in 1949 during the epidemic, with nothing stronger than aspirin because the doctor refused to see “sick” people.  He had a 60lb boulder hit him on the head and break his neck while working at Climax Mine in Colorado. He endured the grief of losing three adult children. He had a hard life, but he never complained.

 Eddie was born June 23, 1925 on a ranch outside of Miles City, Montana to Charles and Icy Ozero Pugh.  By age 5, he was herding sheep by himself in the hills he called home.  He always loved “cowboying”.  Growing up on Dick Creek Ranch with his brother Albert, and sisters, Florence, Charliet, Vivian and Velma, it was a hard life working the family ranch, but he spun many funny stories about his younger years.  One of his favorites was about his very young sister, Charliet, who told him she found “really good raisins”.  Even in their elderly years, Eddie never let Charliet forget the raisins were sheep dip.  Ed’s fond recollections growing up with his siblings on the Montana plains included shooting guns in the house when their parents were gone to town, making a sled out of a hood from a 1930 Ford, riding horses, getting bucked off horses, trying to catch them and ending up walking several miles home.  Ed always had a love for animals … a magpie for a pet, and a skunk for a pet - who after a run-in with the dog, the skunk had to go.  He grew up with no TV, no running water, split logs to heat the house and cook food, and he never complained about any difficulty or that he lacked anything he needed.  An interesting note: while growing up, he listened to WNAX (Yankton SD) Country Music.  Who would have thought that his final years would be here?

Eddie’s mother and father passed away when he was only 16, and he, and his siblings found themselves homeless and orphaned.  The older girls, Florence and Charliet married, and the two younger girls were sent to boarding school.  Eddie and Brother Albert moved to the Cheyenne Indian Reservation, where they reportedly had to pilfer milk and bread off people’s porches to have something to eat.  It was 1942, and the world was at war.  At only 17, Eddie joined the Navy, and spent his next years in Guam, New Guinea, and the Philippines.  Speaking about his military service was difficult.  Fortunately, his service and experience were recorded for all history when he was interviewed for a story for the Yankton Area World War II Veterans.  The Pugh family expresses much gratitude to Doug Haar and Dave Hosmer for giving life and expression to Eddie’s story. 

In 1946, Eddie found himself on leave in Boston, where he met the love of his life.  Louise Hanna and Eddie Pugh were married March 31, 1946.  They raised six children, sons Leslie and Jerry, and daughters Juanita, Sandra, Annette and Deidre; and later, lovingly accepted a third son, Robert, from a previous relationship.   Eddie loved all of his children, without condition, without compromise.  Ed and Louise were married 64 years, and though they performed missionary work and traveled to many places, Colorado and the Rocky Mountains were always their favorite.  They loved each other and their family; they loved their God and both were baptized when they were 24 years old. In 2008, with their health failing, they moved at the behest of their daughter DeeDee and her husband, Gary, to Yankton SD. 

Eddie enjoyed music and playing any stringed instrument, a love that he passed onto his granddaughter, Rachel.  He appreciated a good practical joke and got everyone at least once at Sister James Care Center.  We want to thank all the people at Sister James that took the time to visit and take care of our Dad. 

Missing him dearly are his sons Leslie and Jerry, daughters Annette (Pete) and DeeDee (Gary), grandchildren, Christopher, Jody, Michelle, Vanessa, Leslie, Annette, Rachel and Elijah.  Several great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.  Brothers in law and Sisters in law.

Preceding him in death are his dear wife Louise, daughters Juanita and Sandy, son Robert; grandson Robby; and brother Albert, and sister Florence.

                We want to leave you with these thoughts, found among  Dad’s things, scribbled on a memo pad.

I do not have a big house, or a brand new car, or lots of money.  What I do have is an amazing family and friends, and memories that will last forever.

In a blink of an eye everything can change.  So forgive often and love with all your heart.  You may never have that chance again.

And finally this: 

I’m not short I’m just compact and ridiculously adorable.

We hope this obit brightens your day, helps you appreciate your family, regardless of the miles or opinions that may separate you, and that you will pass on the love, compassion and faith our Dad had in others.