Robert (Dean) Retzlaff passed away on Oct. 30, 2016, at Pioneer Manor in Hay Springs, Neb. He was born June 10, 1935, to Warren and Esther (Swick) Retzlaff, and was a long-time resident of Sheridan County.
Bob grew up on the family farm south of Clinton, Neb. and graduated from Gordon High School. His childhood was filled with family and farm life, and he was quite the prankster as a teenager. In 1954 he married Lois Evans and they shared over 60 years together.
Bob’s early jobs were as a ranch hand around the county, and then he moved his young family to Pine Ridge, S.D.; White Clay, Neb.; Rapid City, S.D.; and Portland, Ore., before finally settling in Clinton, Neb., where he spent 47 years before moving to Pioneer Manor after breaking his leg in 2015.
Many people knew Bob as a top-notch tractor mechanic who served many ranchers and farmers over the years; starting out at Frontier International in Rushville, and then owning Ag-Repair in Chadron until 2009. He frequently talked about his love of diagnosing and fixing difficult machinery.
Story telling as well as a booming laugh may well be what acquaintances remember most about Bob. He had an extensive repertoire of jokes. Even in his last months at Pioneer Manor, he managed to come up with new witticisms; keeping the staff and other residents entertained.
Family will recall Bob sitting on his porch swing watching the sun set, as well as the annual July 4 celebrations that he and Lois hosted. He loved fireworks and was the originator of the “Retzlaff Firecracker Ladder”, which grew over the years to include thousands of firecrackers. He loved nothing more than to be surrounded by his loved ones, reminiscing and telling stories.
Bob is survived by his 4 children: daughter Mary (Ron) Shedeed of Clinton, Neb.; son Vance (Donna) Retzlaff of Chadron, Neb.; daughter Marla (Patrick) DeMars of Spokane, Wash. and son Verlin (Lori) Retzlaff of Chadron, Neb.; many grandchildren and great grandchildren; 3 siblings, Ron (Sue) Retzlaff, Roy (Nina) Retzlaff and Carol Wenzel.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lois; and his brother, Harold.
Memorial services will be held at Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home in Gordon, Neb. on Saturday Nov. 12, 2016, at 10 a.m.
Memorial donations may be sent to Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366, Gordon, NE 69343.