Senator Ed Berrong, Sr. - 1982
Ed Berrong is a man respected in every profession. He has been involved in and is an avid supporter of Southwestern State University. Ed grew up on a farm southeast of Hinton. He was salutatorian of his senior class, the valedictorian being Elloween Ruhl.
They both attended Southwestern State, and Elloween was at the top of the class and Ed was second. Ed worked his way through college picking cotton and mowing lawns. On the week-ends he would hitchhike home to work for Carl Stephens who owned the Hinton Grocery. Carl was a man that Ed gave much credit to for helping him finish education.
Ed Berrong, always a leader, worker, and competitor, was college class president his freshman, sophomore, and senior years was president of the Student Council his junior and senior year. Berrong was four year veteran in debate; was elected president of the Senate, the most prestigious men’s organization which was devoted to the study of parliamentary procedure.
Ed taught history and government at Watonga from 1938 to January 1941. At mid-term, he became elementary principal in Clinton. He later accepted an appointment at Chickasha as resident project manager of the National Youth Administration. At the age of 25, he became the youngest NYA area director in the nation. In 1943, he returned to law school in Oklahoma City, attending night classes and working for Armour and Company during the day.
Having completed all course work, he was licensed to practice law by the State Bar Association. Notification of the licensing did not reach Ed until he had volunteered in the United States Navy as an apprentice seaman, but after 30 months, he was commanding officer of Sub-Chaser 769 operating in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific theaters. Following the war, he was in charge of the veterans training program at Southwestern.
After serving two years with the NYA and turning down the state director position, he and Art Shotts bought the Frank Eaton real estate and insurance agency. In 1949, he was elected to the first of three one-year terms as mayor of Weatherford. Art Shotts bought the Ford dealership, and Ed bought out Shotts. After serving four months of his fourth term as mayor, Berrong resigned after being elected state senator in a special election to succeed K.C. Perryman, who has moved out of the district. Ed served 22 years in the state senate, where he served as chairman of many of the senate committees.
Ed is a member of the First Methodist Church, American Legion, VFW, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Club. He was recently honored by the Rotary Club as Rotarian of the Month for his dedicated service to the city of Weatherford and the state of Oklahoma. He was inducted in the Western Oklahoma Hall of Fame last year. Ed is the President of the Oklahoma Motel-Hotel Association. Ed married Winnie Ola Post in 1933. She grew up at Eastview in Greer County.
Ed passed away in 1998 and is survived by his wife Winnie Ola their three sons Ed, Jr.; Mark; and Brad, all SWOSU alumni. They are all in the family business. The Berrongs have seven grandchildren.