By Carrie Pitzer
One of Neligh's most beloved business owners was laid to rest Monday at the age of 97.
Edward "Bud" Wanek carried on the Wanek Pharmacy tradition for decades, having purchased it from his father in 1945 and later selling it to his son, Jim, in 1973. Danelle Charf purchased the business in 2009.
Wanek Pharmacy remains open today as one of Neligh's longest running business under the same name and will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. They became members of the Neligh Chamber of Commerce in 1918 and had been the longest continuous member.
"Wanek Pharmacy was one of Neligh's founding businesses. When you think of that era, to be starting a business and having it this long lasting is pretty special," said Neligh Mayor Joe Hartz. "And it's continued under the same name the entire time. No other business in Neligh has done that. When you think of that in today's world, Wanek Pharmacy really is quite amazing."
Bud was born March 5, 1919, in Neligh, one of four children of Edward and Anne Wanek. He graduated from Neligh High School in 1937 and from the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy in 1942. He married Lois Chipman of Omaha in May 1942 at Rockport, Mo.
He served as a medic with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific aboard the USS Lycoming during World War II. Bud enlisted in the Navy on April 23, 1943, at Omaha and was discharged on November 28, 1945, at St. Louis, Mo.
Survived by his children: Carole Gooden of Denver, Colo., Jim and wife, Cindy Wanek of Sandpoint, Idaho, Don Wanek of Lynch, Neb., Diane Wanek of Omaha, Neb., and Bob Wanek of Neligh, Neb. He had seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
"Bud Wanek was always there to take care of people. He wasn't concerned with just Neligh people - it was the whole region," Hartz said. "He would deliver medicine to people at their house. He would go in after hours. They were friends, not just customers. I have no doubt he learned that from his father, and that's what he passed down to his children. That's what the Wanek family is all about."