Edward "Ed" Uvacek Jr. '66 November 21, 2023 12:59 PM updated: November 21, 2023 1:20 PM
Edward "Ed" Uvacek, Jr.
September 12, 1930 - November 1, 2023
Dr. Edward “Ed” Uvacek, Jr., 93, passed away peacefully with his loving family at his side. He was born in Newark, New Jersey on September 12, 1930 and grew up on a horse ranch in Upstate New York. His supportive parents were Edward Uvacek, Sr. and Julia Lukasik Uvacek.
This fabulous husband and father attended Seton Hall Preparatory School in South Orange, NJ from 1948-1951. To raise money for college, he worked at a horse-riding camp, teaching young children how to ride. Ed earned his B.S. in Agriculture in 1952 and his M.S. in Agricultural Economics and Animal Science in 1956 from Rutgers University in NJ, as well as graduating from the ROTC. In between earning these degrees, Dr. Uvacek served his country in the U.S. Air Force as 2nd Lieutenant. He was deployed as Mobility Air Transport Service during the Korean War in US, Korea and Okinawa and then continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve Command. How fitting that the planes into Easterwood airport will be flying over Ed's resting place in Aggie Field of Honor.
After receiving his M.S. he worked for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, alternating working in D.C. and California. In 1959, Ed met the love of his life Bea, in D.C and married her after only a 3-month engagement. They went on to honeymoon in Miami Beach, FL and then directly to Chicago where Ed had accepted a job with Armour & Co. in the Sun Times Bldg.
Ed and Bea came to Texas A&M University in 1961 where he worked as an Extension Livestock Specialist while earning his Ph.D. in 1966 in Agricultural Economics. He also served as a consultant to USAID in Panama in 1961 and then in Korea in 1962. His Extension appointment continued while he began teaching graduate-level Livestock and Meat Marketing classes. While working for the Extension Service, he was well-published. His publications included weekly columns for the State of Texas Livestock Market News Report and BEEF Magazine and the Cattleman Magazine, the TAMU Market Newsletter, and he produced two TV shows and radio tapes each month.
Throughout his distinguished career, he was recognized as a leader of exemplary status. His numerous professional awards throughout his Texas A&M University Professorship and Extension Specialist include Premiere Livestock Forecaster and Professional Excellence awards from the American Agricultural Economics Association; Appreciation Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation; Superior Service award from the USDA; Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Former Students; Extension Specialist of the Year and Official Commendation for Superior Service; Lifetime Honorary Director position with the Texas Livestock Marketing Association; Award Trustee for the Livestock Industry Institute; Recognition of Faithful and Meritorious Service to the People of Texas by County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas; as well as induction into the Dr. Ty Timm Honor Registry.
Ed had also been a very active member of the community and avid volunteer. His willingness to give back to his community he loved included College Station Citizens Advisory Committee for budgetary appropriations; Jack Wiech Fellow for dedicated service to the Children of the Texas Lions Camp; work in concession stands at A&M football games for A&M Consolidated Band Boosters; and the College Station Noon Lions Club as TailTwister. He was so dedicated to them that he donated his personally-owned 1958 Rolls Royce for a fundraising raffle! The proceeds from this helped fund the College Station Central Park’s Fun for All Playground. He also contributed to the Brazos Valley Chapter of Westerners; Bluebonnet Girl Scout Council; American Red Cross monthly Blood Drives; TAMU Opera and Performing Arts Society; Friends Association of Symphony Orchestra; two terms as President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees; and the Graduate of Leadership Brazos- a very competitive program designed to promote and foster the development of community leaders.
Ed was a cowboy at heart and his first love, before Bea, was horses and cows. So much so that together, they purchased a large ranch in the late 1960s in the “countryside” of College Station and named it Spanish Bit Ranch. Ed’s mother and her husband became Texans also and lived on the ranch. Throughout the years, his family had horses, cattle, and other various animals. Ed instilled his love of nature and knowledge of animals into his children as well as turned his favorite “filly” Bea, into his beautiful ranching cowgirl. Many years of joy and sharing with friends, all enjoyed horseback rides, cookouts, fishing and camping trips, and his favorite tractor. All these created long lasting and wonderful memories for the Uvacek family over 5 decades. Keeping the cows and horses fed, carrying hay bales, building and fixing barbed wire fence, changing cattle to different pastures, all teaching his kids how to be ranchers are skills and memories that will always be treasured.
If you ask his family and friends to describe one particular trait about him: Humor. He had the best! Witty and funny, he used it to make people laugh, entertain and showed us how to deal with life’s stresses with humor. Everywhere he went, people would remember him by that handsome face with “all that great hair” and his sense of humor that he graciously shared with his friends. His family has repeated his “Ed-isms” and will be repeating them and laughing forever.
Ed was a keynote speaker at professional conventions each summer during his career, where he and Bea would pack up the entire family and travel to each destination. Sightseeing along the way and stopping at National Parks, city landmarks and historic sites created an appreciation of travel and beauty of our country. Musical talent was a huge part of Ed’s life, where at the young age of 12, he performed a solo violin piece in Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a teenager, he also played in a musical group with his father at the equestrian camps in upstate NY each summer. On family vacations, he would initiate sing- alongs with the kids on these long driving trips as well as swoon Bea as “Her Elvis” singing karaoke with friends for years later. He and Bea loved the Brazos Valley symphony orchestra as well as visiting operas and musicals that would come to town.
After his retirement from A&M in 1986, Ed and Bea continued their love of travel domestically as well as internationally, from cruise ships to land tours exploring different countries and Unesco sites around the globe.
Ed and Bea were beautiful and enviable dancers from the time they were young and first married. Dance floors were cleared as Ed held her in his arms, swaying together to the music of the Big Band era to Western music to Classical pieces. As time went by and physical limitations advanced, that didn’t stop them at all. Chair dancing began, hand in hand, and their love of dancing and enjoying life’s music together continued throughout their loving 64 years of marriage.
They are blessed with three magnificent children, Debi Theresa Musinski (hubby Peter), Cindy McLeod Phillips (hubby Rock), and Edward Eugene Uvacek (wife Mitzi); and four beautiful grandchildren, Taryn Ashley McLeod, Cameron Shane McLeod, Brandon Edward McLeod, and Blake Edward Uvacek.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Ty Timm Honor Fund, Account 73813, in memory of Ed Uvacek. Ed was inducted into the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry, the Department of Agricultural Economics’ highest honor for its graduates, in 2018. Donations should be mailed to The Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840.