Long-time community servant selected Grand Marshal

Courtesy photo
THE VILLAGE OF Carbon Hill will host its 71st Annual Homecoming celebration this week, and the long-time community servant Ed Lancaster will be honored as the festival’s grand marshal. The honor bestowed on him for his service and dedication to the village. Along with serving as grand marshal of the annual Homecoming parade, he will be honored during a program hosted by the Carbon Hill Historical Society at the School Museum and will be publicly recognized by the mayor and village trustees with a plaque presentation that will mark the opening of the festival.

By: 
Michele Micetich
Special to The Coal City Courant

During each Carbon Hill Homecoming the village honors one resident who has devoted time and energy to its community's needs, one who has particularly showed initiative and commitment with Homecomings in the village park.
Park events, like Homecoming, support the village's independence and also strengthen its habit of community service. As residents they know each other better through the work they do together. This year’s community honoree and grand marshal is Ed Lancaster.
The original honorees back in the 50's were old timers who were actually born or grew up in the village's earliest years—soccer players, mayors, children of first families, workers in the coal mines, organizers of the first homecomings. As time went on, the honorees list grew to celebrate newer mayors and board members; all the guys who built the new town hall, the park stands, maintained the roads, monitored the water tower, worked in the stands. And, they also honored a long list of women worker bees, as well as many couples who led village and homecoming projects over the years.
Now, in 2021, the honoree serving in this year's parade as grand marshal represents all the same qualities of these past devoted citizens. Lancaster moved into Carbon Hill in 1996 with his young family, building his new home across the street from the old school. He and his wife Lori, daughters Tiffany and Whitney, and granddaughter Amelia still call this place home. From the first, Lancaster was one with the village—friendly, helpful, community minded, and a family man.
Born Aug. 10, 1961 in Wyatt, MO, he and his family moved to Coal City when he was four years old.
Jobs here, particularly at Caterpillar, were plentiful. Many of his family and his family's friends and co-workers came to the Coal City area around this time—the Brewers, Bensons, Stevens, Scotts, Grosvenors, and others. All these familiar family names arrived in that era of the 60's and became neighbors, and are now long time residents with grandchildren home grown.
It is a tribute that people come from somewhere else but stay here to make a life.
Lancaster is a painter by trade, he can also plaster.
One of his early memories in Carbon Hill was coming to Mrs. Dryer's home and finding her dozing in her screen porch. She woke and they chatted for a bit. He was there to see about some plaster work she needed done and after a friendly conversation and checking the need, just like that, she gave him the key to her house. He did the job, returned the key, and was always comfortable in this neighborly and friendly place.
Lancaster took over running the park beer stand in 2002 for Judy and Sy Baers. Charlie Shain helped him and it grew into an annual responsibility Lancaster had for four years.
Then he became a village board member for awhile and years later took back the responsibility for the beer stand. The unions, the banks, the TaTa group, and other local volunteers make it smooth running in the beer garden— except, of course, for last year's pandemic shutdown. Lancaster has been a rock star keeping the beer stand successful and it is much appreciated by the townspeople, the ball teams, and the revelers, of course.
When interviewed, Lancaster was quick to describe his oversized army trench coat and crazy sunglasses during his teen years. A self proclaimed knucklehead, he had a great youth.
He mentioned his teachers from first grade through high school, recalling them all. He shared his yearbook picture where he was undefeated as an eighth grade wrestler when Mr. Plese was his coach. So many stories like these will be shared at the Carbon Hill School Museum on Sunday, June 27 at 4 p.m. Those attending the grand marshal celebration at the museum will hear more stories, see photos, and have time to add your own stories and congratulations. Those attending are encouraged to bring a few photos and lots of anecdotes.
As grand marshal, Lancaster was selected to throw out the first pitch at this year's Homecoming softball tournament, the 10th Annual Josh Cumming Tournament that runs through Sunday evening. This evening [Wednesday, June 23] 6 p.m. Lancaster will receive a plaque from the Carbon Hill Village Board in a ceremony at the park flag pole, as the Homecoming is officially opened.
On Sunday, June 27, Lancaster will lead the parade [with the help of his granddaughter] and at 4 p.m. is the school museum ceremony honoring his service and dedication to Carbon Hill.