He boarded up rooms used by his mother, including the upstairs, downstairs parlor and living room, leaving them untouched; while the rest of the house became increasingly squalid, these rooms remained pristine.
Subsequently, Henry and Ed began doing odd jobs around town to help cover living expenses.
The brothers were generally considered reliable and honest by residents of the community.
While both worked as handymen, Ed also frequently babysat for neighbors.
He enjoyed babysitting, seeming to relate more easily to children than adults.
He is buried next to his family in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now-unmarked grave. Augusta despised her husband, an alcoholic who was unable to keep a job; he had worked at various times as a carpenter, tanner, and insurance salesman.
George owned a local grocery shop for a few years but sold the business, and the family left the city to purposely live in isolation on a 155-acre farm in the Town of Plainfield in Waushara County, Wisconsin, Edward left the farm only to attend school.By the end of the day – the fire having been extinguished and the firefighters gone – Ed reported his brother missing.With lanterns and flashlights, a search party searched for Henry, whose dead body was found lying face down. Augusta had a paralyzing stroke shortly after Henry's death, and Gein devoted himself to taking care of her.Despite his poor social development, he did fairly well in school, particularly in reading.On April 1, 1940, Ed's father George died of heart failure caused by his alcoholism; he was 66 years old.It was around this time that he became interested in reading death-cult magazines and adventure stories, particularly those involving cannibals or Nazi atrocities.