Berniece Laresta Perry was born October 7, 1915 on the Modisett Ranch, south of Rushville Nebraska, to Harry and Agnes Perry. She had one sister, Lavina, who was seven years older. The family moved from Rushville to Eli in 1924 by train with all their belongings and livestock. She grew up and attended school in Eli through the ninth grade. Laresta boarded in Gordon and attended Gordon High School, graduating with the class of 1933. After high school she attended Chadron Normal College.
Laresta began her teaching career in 1935 at District 49 school. It spanned a period of forty years. She taught at the Davis’s School, Conley Flats, Simmons School, Merriman and Martin schools.
On June 6, 1937, Laresta married John August Wickman in Eli. To this union was born Larella Berniece, John Erick and Jane Elizabeth Wickman.
Laresta was preceded in death by her parents, sister, her husband of 38 years (Gus), her second husband of 17 years (Ted), one granddaughter, Larenda Modlin, one grandson, Byran Cady and step granddaughter Rita Smith.
Laresta is survived by her three children, ten grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren; two step grandchildren, 4 step great grandchildren, and 10 step great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services for Laresta Spear were held March 16, 2012, at the Eli Church, with Pastor Dave Morrison officiating at the 10 a.m. service. Burial followed at Conley Flat Cemetery.
Sandoz Chapel of the Pines was entrusted with funeral arrangements.