Someone You Should Know: Entertaining nursing home residents for decades

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Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 5:36 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ed Westberg has been performing most of his life.

“I grew up in a family that was musical. I had four sisters, and they were all good singers. And when I was 11 years old, my one sister and I bought a guitar. And I self-taught myself how to play it,” said Ed.

Ed still lives on that farm he grew up on near Beresford. The town where he first showcased his musical talent.

“It was back in the ‘80s sometime, because my mother passed away in ‘88. It was before that because our church ladies group had a service at the nursing home in Beresford. She had me come and sing there. I started singing there all the time, so the word got around,” said Ed.

For about 35 years, Ed has played free shows at area nursing homes. For the past 25 years, the retired mail carrier has been playing at the Good Samaritan in Canton.

“He plays the guitar and sings. And he just goes from one song to another. He never stops,” said resident Margaret Baldwin.

“I enjoy it as much as they do, even on days I don’t feel like doing it. Once I’ve done it, I feel good about it. Of course, I grew up in the ‘50s, so I like a lot of that. I probably lean more towards country music and stuff like that,” said Ed.

This stop in Canton is his last. Ed has decided to hang up his guitar.

“Getting a little tired driving around, and I’ll be 80 in 25 days. And I just decided it was long enough, and I decided not to do it anymore,” said Ed.

“The second Friday of every month, Ed came. And you look forward to good programs like that,” said Margaret.

And he’s looked forward to seeing the smiles at each stop.

“What’s sad to me is that there aren’t many younger people that go around and do this. I’ll miss seeing them, too. There’s a lot of people here I’ve gotten to know,” said Ed.