The Edmond Majeski-Blach Story written by Charles K. Lincoln, Capac Coach Capac Jr - Sr HIgh School 541 N. Glassford St. Capac, MI 48014
Over a period of more than thirty-five years, I've heard countless versions of the Ed Majeski story.Finally, I am writing my version of the story.I think I knew him better than anyone now living in Capac.I was his teacher and athletic coach through the four years he attended high school here.
Ed was no different than any other typical kid.He was no saint and he certainly wasn't a sinner. He had a happy sense of mischief, especially when he and his buddy, Bob Marquart got together.Their little tricks and jokes were never mean or spiteful.That pair made a couple of clowns and they were always good for a laugh.
Ed's early years are known only from remarks he made from time to time.He was an orphan and never knew who his parents were.His real name is not even Majeski.That's the name of a family that he was literally farmed out to for awhile.He saw many foster homes, usually a short duration.He once told me that he couldn't remember the names of some of the people were he stayed.He was a ward of St. Vincent DePaul.That's when St. Vincent DePaul lost contact with him.Just or when he ended up in Capac I don't know or if I did I've forgotten.Ed came out for football as a freshman.That was my first year coaching.He was too small to make the team but he hung in there anyway.His enthusiasm was a boost to the team and it also drew attention to him as an outstanding future star.
He played quite a bit his sophomore year and then blossomed into the star I thought he would be his Junior and Senior years.He came along rapidly in basketball and was an average baseball player.To my knowledge he is the only Capac athlete that was ever Captain of the football team and basketball team in the same year.A school ruling was made after that preventing it from happening again.Whether that rule is still in effect, I don't know. He achieved other honors; class president and student council president.
Ed's tenure in Capac was precarious.He stayed for short intervals with numerous families.I would have liked to take Ed in but circumstances would not permit.I was recently married and we had a small 3 room apartment. It was so crowded as was that we had to outside to even change our minds. Then the Wesley Ledebuhr family stepped forward.God bless Wes and Delia.They took him in.He became practically a brother to their son, Rollie, and daughter, Marion.This was the only home that Ed had ever really known.They treated him as one of their own children.At graduation he got a watch the same as Rollie who was Ed's classmate.
Ed graduated and six months later World War II came.When we entered the war, Ed had to wrestle with the problem of staying home and helping raise the vital beans that we needed or go into service.In the end, he chose going into the marines.That cost him his life on a God-forsaken placed called Iwo Jima.
I'll never forget that Sunday morning when I picked up the Times Herald on the front porch.I always scan the front page headlines on the various stories.There it was in black bold faced print.CAPAC MARINE KILLED IN IWO.I knew that it had to be either one of the two, Ed or Jay Schurman, a team mate of Ed's and another great athlete.I couldn't bring myself to read the name.I simply handed the paper to my wife and said, "Look."
"It's Ed", she said softly and then she started crying.Another six months, and the war was over.It all seemed so senseless.
I had the distinct privilege of speaking at the Memorial Service held for Ed at the Evangeline Church.Emotionally it wasn't easy but for the eulogy part it was simple.There were so many nice things to say.
The final chapter of the Ed Majeski story was the return of his body for burial here at home.Of course that was when they disinterred bodies and brought them back.The war had ended by then.Ed's best buddy and another marine accompanied his coffin.I talked personally, at length with his buddy.He told me the entire story which I shall not repeat.I will only say this much; Ed was killed by a Japanese sniper.He was killed instantly.
The final touching scene to the Edmond Majeski story was at his burial in Capac. At the close of the service the two marines, in smart, efficient manner folded the flag in the traditional triangular fold.Ed's buddy turned to Wes Ledebuhr and slapped the Stars and Stripes into his hands, saluted and briskly strode away.I think that I know how Wes felt.He just sat there rather stunned.There weren't many dry eyes in that assembly, including my own.
Ed Majeski had come home to Capac and his many friends.
And now to clear up another very foggy point that has had various answers.How did the Ed Majeski Memorial trophy get started?I can answer that very simply.I started it.I know the story of the trophy.It had complications also.I went to Mr. Van and told him what I wanted to do.That was to present a trophy as a memorial to Ed.One that would be a rotating trophy and given each year to an athlete that exemplified the qualities of Leadership, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Contribution to the school.
Mr. Van was in agreement but he vetoed the whole thing.His explanation was logical."You can't.You have had three other fine athletes that were killed in action; Bob Petz at Pearl Harbor, Bob Clark in Germany, and Dick Nemecek at Okinawa.!!"My only answer to that was that these three had come from good homes and had loving parents.He considered that fact but still stuck to his belief that he and I could get a lot of criticism even if we tried justifying it that way.
I did a lot of thinking in the next few days.I still persisted in my belief that Ed was an exception due to his background and no real home until the Ledebuhr family took him in.The kids in my classes knew how strongly I felt about it.Most of them had been younger school mates of Ed.Then a Student Council member came up with a suggestion.I can't recall just who it was or I'd certainly give them recognition.It was simply a matter of the Student Council doing what I wanted to do.They presented the idea in their next meeting and Mr. Van approved it.
I still don't know if we ever paid for that trophy or if Wilson Sporting Goods Company donated it.I told them what I had in mind and we got it.Capac High School still has it and I'm proud that I persisted in my efforts to get a living memorial to one of the greatest kids that I ever had to coach.I'm proud also of the Student Council and the entire student body of the school that year that supported me in my efforts to bring this about.In my mind, the Edmond Majeski Trophy is the ultimate in student achievement at Capac High School.
This trophy is still given to a senior male, who has shown outstanding academic and athletic skills during his high school career.It was first awarded in 1948 and all the following recipient's names are engraved on the plagues at the base of the trophy.Here's the beginning list:
1948Thaddeus Chmilewski 1949Robert DeLong 1950James Lewis 1951James Lang 1952Walter Chernenko 1953Donald Herstein 1954Donald Rowlins 1955James Love 1956James Chermenko 1957George Kabayashi 1958Leo Berard
NOTE: In August 2002, I visited the Capac school and saw and took pictures of the memorial trophy escorted by the kindness of the Capac High School principal at the time, Mr. Mike Mrozinski.The Mr. Mrozinski also presented this Story to me along with the following written notation:
I know this probably wasn't exactly what you were looking for but it is all I could find.The trophy in Ed's honor is still given to an outstanding senior male athlete each spring.
Wes & Della Ledebuhr has passed away but some of their relatives still live in Capac.They may be able to provide further information (about Ed).They are: Lee & Norma Ledebuhr 15750 Petz Road Capac MI 48014