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Edward Bigelow

WEST CORNWALL — Edward Bigelow, 93, passed away on April 4, 2011.

Born in Worcester, Mass., in 1917, Eddie started out in the New York City Ballet as a dancer (he was the original Mouse King in Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”). He then moved into the role of manager of the company, which he performed for 40 years as one of George Balanchine’s closest friends and aides.

Known for his brawny physique and strapping good looks, Ed organized and moved teams of dancers and huge sets around the world. According to the company’s Barbara Horgan, there was always a constant cry, “We need Bigelow here. Where’s Bigelow? Get Bigelow!” As an expert knot-tier, crate-builder and extraordinary cook, he devoted his life to the ballet and to Balanchine.

During World War II, Ed volunteered with the American Field Service, driving an ambulance in Burma during heavy combat; he was decorated for his valor. True to his adventurous spirit, in1976 he sailed across the Atlantic in a three-man wooden sloop.

His last years were lived out with little regard for his age. He swam each day in the summer and was a regular in some of the area’s more advanced yoga classes. He was counted on by many community organizations, became a late but devoted member of the Chapel of All Saints, in Cornwall, and never stepped out of his role of caretaker, manager and friend, all of which he accomplished with his usual chivalry and grace.

Ed is survived by Carla Stevens Bigelow, his wife of 25 years; a nephew and niece, Hal and Marion Bigelow; his stepchildren, Timothy Stevens, Brooke Stevens and his wife, Karen, Sara Stevens and April Neubauer and her husband, Sandy; and six grandchildren, Sam, Sophie, Fenner, Willa, Phoebe and Maddy.

Services will be held at the North Cornwall Meeting House, Saturday, April 16, at 11 a.m.

The Kenny Funeral Home in Sharon has charge of arrangements.