Bideau’s memorial goes to school in Uganda

A few days after the passing of Edwin H. Bideau III, a memorial fund was created for the children of Uganda.

The Bideau family expressed its appreciation this week to friends, family, and community for donating more than $10,000, which is being sent this month to Elyon Primary, a private Christian school in the village of Mutungo.

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The Bideau family has a special tie with the school. The Bideau’s daughter Jennifer first visited on a mission trip in 2008, staying with the Namanya family. She returned several times, taking her mother Margaret in 2009. They both performed home visits to enroll children and also taught classes at the school.

Margaret, a teacher at Chanute Elementary, formed a pen pal relationship between her students in Uganda and Chanute.

Most schools in Uganda are little more than a daycare serving more than 200 students per teacher. Shadrack and Winnie Namanya founded Elyon in 2001 to provide a proper yet affordable education.

What began as a one-room schoolhouse next to the Namanya’s home has since expanded to multiple buildings across two campuses, now providing kindergarten through seventh grade to more than 700 students.

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“It has been a long journey of perseverance but we are sure the results will be good,” says Winnie Namanya. “We have set a good foundation for these pupils.”

Shortly before his passing, Ed expressed a desire to help pay for expansion of the school and provide scholarships for children whose parents cannot afford the fees.

Family members said this memorial fund carried forward that plan in Ed’s absence.

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“Ed Bideau, a servant to the end.” – Susan Lynn

Rep. Ed Bideau was a most unassuming man whose mild demeanor belied the passion he felt for his state.

At a time when most would take down the single, Bideau re-entered state politics after a hiatus of 25 years during which he practiced law, farmed, and helped wife Margaret raise their three children.

Bideau was a moderate Republican, believing in the state’s responsibility to its citizens. He voted against reducing the state’s income tax rates, against allowing firearms in public buildings (though it should be noted he was a strong advocate for gun rights) and against the state budget.

By evidence of his voting record, he was OK with being in the minority. He lived by his conscience.

From his outsider’s perspective, he must have been a good husband, by evidence of his loyal wife Margaret, who in addition to her teaching duties managed his campaign and marketing directives. Together, they made a most admirable couple.

His death Thursday leaves a hole in our hearts for his family.

Ed Bideau was a leader. We will miss his sound judgment, his humble ways, and his steadfast conviction that Kansas is a worthy cause.

May he rest in peace.

Susan Lynn
Editor, Iola Register