Edwin C. Petranek
White River, SD
1934, 1793, Pine Creek, S-1 Member
U.S. Veteran Edwin C. Petranek, 100, of Belle Fourche, South Dakota passed away, Thursday, June 15, 2017 at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Fort Meade.
Edwin was born Sept 9, 1916 at White River, SD, the son of Joseph and Anna (Homalka) Petranek. He was raised and educated at White River, SD with his six brothers and sisters. Following high school he attend the University of South Dakota at Vermillion, SD, where he played football and attained a degree in education. Ed was an all North Central Conference Football player on offense and defense. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, but being an ROTC Officer he had to go into the military because of WWII.
Edwin entered the U.S. Army after being commissioned by the ROTC in 1942. Petranek served in the African-European campaign in Africa, Italy and France during World War ll. He was a platoon leader and company A & B Commander of the 143 rd Infantry, 36th Division. His fifteen months of combat at Anzio Beachhead, the Rapido River, Monte Casino and the invasion of Southern France.
1st Lt. Petranek was awarded numerous awards for his service during World War Il including; four Purple Hearts, two bronze stars, a Silver Star, and an Infantry Combat Medal. In 2006 Petranek was presented the French Legion of Honor given by French President Jacques Rene' Chirac in recognition of Petranek's role in the liberation of France during World War ll. Also in 2006 the Teton-Sioux Tribe presented Petranek with the Circle of Life Necklace, which is only given to great warriors. In 2009 Edwin Petranek's name was placed in the Congressional Record for outstanding service to his Country. In 2011 the Belle Fourche Armory was renamed the Edwin Petranek Armory to honor his years of service in the school district. In 2016 Belle Fourche High School introduced an athlete Hall of Fame and Ed was one of the first inductees.
When he was discharged from the Army in July of 1946 he returned to White River, SD. He later took a teaching job in Colome, SD where he was a Social Studies Teacher, Principal and coach. On June 23, 1948, Ed married Alice Schweigert in Colome, SD. They had one son, Rodney.
Ed received his Master's Degree in 1951 and moved to Belle Fourche, SD to be a High School Principal. In his years at Belle Fourche he was a Principal, social studies teacher, coach, and Athletic Director. He was part of a group that designed the first Driver's Education Program for the State of South Dakota. ED taught a total of 31 years.
He is survived by his son, Rod (Betty) Petranek of Newcastle, WY and a special niece, Jeri Bottenfieid of Torrington, WY.
He was Preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Anna; his wife, Alice Petranek; two brothers, Ben and Joe Petranek; four sisters, Clara Obert, Martha Schwanz, Emma Jarl, and Lily Chamberlain.
The family suggests memorials to the Black Hills Health Care Services.
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