Thursday, November 15, 2018

Happy Birthday, Ed!

Ed Chasteen is a friend I first met over 40 years ago, and tomorrow (Nov. 16) he is celebrating his 83rd birthday. This article was written to wish Ed a happy birthday. But even more, I have written it to introduce a remarkable man to those who do not know him.
Becoming a Prof
Edgar R. Chasteen was born in Texas and lived in Huntsville from 1948 to 1958. He was baptized in a Baptist church there when he was 13. In 1954 he enrolled in Sam Houston State Teacher’s College and majored in sociology. When he was 21 he married his wife, Bobbie, and they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year.
After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, Ed was employed by William Jewell College (in Liberty, Mo.) where he taught sociology, and especially a course in race relations, from 1965 to 1995.
Two matters of great importance occurred during those years when Ed was a prof at William Jewell: he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and a few years later he founded HateBusters.
The “Peddlin’ Prof”
In 1981 Ed received the terrible news that he had MS. The doctors said he could no longer be active. But after two or three years, and against his doctor’s orders, Ed began to fight his illness by riding a bicycle.
And ride he did! In 1987 he rode over 5,100 miles in 105 days, peddling from Disney World to Disneyland. He rode alone and without any money on him—and with great success. Disney dubbed him “the pedalin’ prof from William Jewell College.”
And he has continued to ride his bicycle since then: in 2003 he rode 10,000 miles to raise funds for MS and HateBusters.
In 2004 the National Multiple Sclerosis Society named Ed an MS Achievement Award winner.
It has now been 37 years since he was first diagnosed with MS—and Ed is still active and still rides his bicycle—but earlier this year he had to give up riding outside. He now rides about 50 miles a week inside on his stationary bike.
The HateBusting Prof
About 30 years ago—soon after David Duke, the former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, won a seat in the Louisiana legislature—Ed and his sociology students at William Jewell College started a group, or perhaps it is better considered a movement, called HateBusters.
The name, and the logo found on their tee shirts, was taken from the popular 1984 film "Ghostbusters." The picture is several years old (taken when he was about 75), but here is a picture of Ed in a HateBuster tee shirt and his personalized bicycle: 
HateBusters has primarily worked in opposition to hate directed toward people because of their race/ethnicity or because of their religion and in support of those who have been victims of hate.
According to their website (see here), HateBusters’ first objective is “To oppose hate wherever we find it and in whatever form it takes.” And when an act of hate occurs, they seek to go “help redeem the situation.”
On Monday of this week, I had breakfast and a delightful conversation with Ed. I was impressed, again, with his mental vitality in spite of his debilitating physical illness and with his deep-seated desire to combat hate and prejudice and to create a world filled with people who live in harmony and practice mutual respect.
Happy Birthday, Ed! The world badly needs more people like you.
For further information:
** Here is the link to a May 2017 VOA article and video about Ed and HateBusters.
** Most of Ed’s books are available for downloading at the website linked to above. Some books are directly related to MS and some to HateBusters, including a 1996 book with 42 issues of “HateBusters Bulletin.”


  1. From Thinking Friend Eric Dollard in Chicago:

    "Thanks, Leroy, for bringing this remarkable man, Ed Chasteen, to our attention. What an inspiration for the rest of us, who have not had to face what he has faced. So, Happy Birthday, Ed!"

  2. Thank you Leroy for illuminating the life and good work of Ed Chasteen. I know you are limited to space in these blogs, but may I add that Ed has been a member of Second Baptist Church, Liberty, Mo., since he came to WJC. In the 1980s, the church (through the leadership of then pastor Dub Steincross) named Ed the church's Ambassador to Other Communities of Faith (something along those lines). He has helped us all understand that life is more than anyone's view of it; that people who are not like you are as equal to and valuable as you. Ed is also an author. He wrote "The Runner" and "How To Like People Who Are Not Like You." And all this while living with MS. May Ed have many more birthdays to keep being a prof and making the world a better place!

    1. David, thanks so much for adding this important information about Ed and Second Baptist Church. I wanted to include that in the article but didn't have the space to do so. I thought about putting that information here in the comments section, but it is much better than you did so. Thanks again!

    2. I had Ed as lecturer at CBTS during 2000-2002! Always had good interrelations during classes andfree time. The Happiest of Birthdays to you and many more with your wife.
      George M Melby, Pastor/HospitalChaplain (Ret.)

  3. The name Ed Chasteen is familiar to me. I was pastor at FBCKCK 1992-1999, and was active in racial reconciliation, AIDS issues, and other social activism. Our paths may have crossed.

  4. Thinking Friend Michael Olmsted in Springfield, Mo., shares these comments:

    "I say amen to a celebration of this man who encourages us all by his example. I came to know Ed when I served as interim pastor at Second Baptist Church, Liberty, MO. God​ ​bless Ed with many more days … we need his witness."

  5. Local Thinking Friend Temp Sparkman writes,

    "I appreciate the good greeting to Ed Chasteen. I exchanged a few words with him one day at Second [Baptist Church]. After reading what you wrote, I will put him among the people whose kind doesn’t come along often."

  6. Last year about this time I was visiting the Kansas City Zoo, when I happened to look up into the heavens, and saw Bobbie Chasteen sitting at the right hand of God, who was looking down and smiling at me. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that "God" might be Ed Chasteen, riding the overhead tram across the zoo. It has been an inspiration and a joy to know him for a number of years. Having never attended William Jewell (one of my many faults) I only know him from church. I have two of his books in my library, "Runner" and "William Jewell College My Camelot."


  7. Yesterday evening, Thinking Friend John Tim Carr in Arkansas, sent these words I am passing on to Ed:

    "Happy Birthday, Ed, and I wish I knew you Personally!

    "May our Great GOD continue to Bless you and the inspiration you continue to bring us."

  8. And here are words from Thinking Friend Dub Steincross, who was Ed's pastor for several years:

    "What a splendid capturing of Ed and who he is. He and Bobbie deserve this sort of awareness drawn to them. Sheer inspiration."