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1932 Edwin "Ed" J. Bills 2023

Edwin "Ed" J. Bills

August 24, 1932 — September 15, 2023

Grand Island, Nebraska

 

Edwin J. “Ed” Bills, 91, of Grand Island died Friday, September 15, 2023, at Tiffany Square Care Center in Grand Island.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 AM Thursday, September 21st at Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Island. Pastor Luke Biggs will officiate.  Cremation will take place following Ed’s funeral service. A private family committal service will be held at Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery at a later date.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 PM Wednesday, September 20th at the Apfel Funeral Home in Grand Island.

Edwin James Bills was born August 24, 1932, at Lodgepole, Nebraska to Clarence C. and Lucy (Singley) Bills. He received his primary education in Lodgepole and his secondary education in Denver. Ed graduated from Denver North High School in 1950.

Ed married Carolyn L. Jakob on August 8, 1954. They would become the parents of three sons; Brad, Scott and Barry.

He attended Kearney State College and graduated in 1956 with his bachelor's degree in education. He began his teaching and coaching career at Gibbon Public Schools, teaching social studies for nine years, and serving as head coach of the boys’ basketball program for eight. He took his teams to the State Tournament and achieved runner-up in 1963 and 1964.

Ed then began teaching with the Grand Island Public Schools teaching physical education and coaching. He also officiated basketball for seven years. Ed ushered in the “Modern Era” of girls’ basketball in Grand Island. He led five teams to the State Tournament, taking three of them to the finals. His team won the State Championship in 1979, finishing the year undefeated. He retired from teaching in the spring of 1992 after the passing of his first wife, Carolyn in 1991. He later married Joyce M. Kohlscheen on July 11, 1992, and lived in Holdrege until 2018, when he returned to Grand Island.

Ed was honored as the coach of the year for the Grand Island Independent and Lincoln Journal Star in 1979. He was also honored as coach of the year by the Omaha World Herald and Nebraska Coaches Association. He also had the privilege to coach the first ever Nebraska Coaches Association Girls’ Basketball All-Star game in 1980.

In retirement, Ed adjusted crops for American Ag Adjusters and assisted with funerals at Nelson Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege. He would document every service that he assisted with, totaling over 1,560 funerals.

Most important to Ed was his Christian faith.  He believed in God and Jesus as his Savior and lived his life that way, putting others first.  Family was a big part of who Ed was.  Being an only child, he considered his cousins as his brothers, especially Paul and Roy Huff, who he grew up with on the farm in Lodgepole.  Ed was instrumental in starting annual family reunion picnics in the late 1970’s through 2019. Being a grandpa was a highlight of his life and he got to as many sporting and other important events for them as he could.  He was part of a large extended family across Nebraska and loved to get together with them as often as he was able.

He also enjoyed spending time and playing cards with friends, going to husker football games and following all the husker teams, and playing golf.  No matter where he was, he made friends and was ready and eager to talk to anyone.

Those left to cherish Ed’s memory are his sons, Brad (Carol), Scott (Barbara) and Barry (Traci); grandchildren, Glenn (Brittany) Bills, Kurt (Mira) Bills, Shea (Scott) Wemhoff, Abigail (Tanner) Martin, Dillon Bills, Brandon Bills; and great grandchildren, Liam Bills, Jenna Mauser, Adley Mauser and a great granddaughter on the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his wives, Carolyn and Joyce, and his brothers, Paul and Roy Huff.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edwin "Ed" J. Bills, please visit our flower store.

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