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Marilyn Vencill

Funeral services for Marilyn Vencill, age 72, of Crawford, Nebraska were held Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM at the Congregational Church in Crawford with Pastor Bill Bagley officiating. Burial was at the Crawford Cemetery.

Mrs. Vencill passed away on December 16, 2011 at the Ponderosa Villa in Crawford. Marilyn was born on April 22, 1939. Immediate Survivors: Husband, Dennis Vencill; Son, Andrew Norman, Daughter, Laurel Andrews.

A memorial has been established. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337. Online condolences can be made at

Chamberlain Chapel of Crawford is in charge of arrangements.


Neil Kent Strong

Neil Kent Strong died Friday, December 16, 2011. Neil was born July 8, 1956 in Rushville, Nebraska to Ralph and Louisa (Petersen) Strong. He graduated from Rushville High School in 1974. Neil received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which made him a lifelong Nebraska Cornhusker. He also held an associates degree in Electronics. After living and working in Colorado for several years, Neil moved back home to Rushville where he was united in marriage on December 17, 1993 to Nancy Houtcooper (Mitzel), at the Rushville United Methodist Church. Neil was a loving and devoted husband, father and friend.

He lived for the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, working around the house, and his most recent obsession was golf. He also enjoyed spending a majority of his summers at the family lake cabin in North Dakota. Neil was dedicated to his two dogs and would rarely miss a daily walk with his two side-kicks, Tucker and Ozzy. Neil was a master electrician and was most recently employed by Chadron State College. His work ethic and attention to detail was immeasurable as proven by spending most of his free time doing electrical and other side jobs for numerous friends and family in the community.

He will be greatly missed and is survived by his loving wife Nancy of Rushville, son Jason Mitzel and wife Melissa of Rapid City, S.D.; daughter Kristin Mitzel of Scottsbluff, Neb.; daughter Megan Mitzel and fiancé Ross Janssen of Sidney, Neb., along with their son Khai, who became the light of Neil’s life for the past 9 months; brothers, Forrest of Los Alamos, N.M., Grant of Denver, Colo., Mark (Larraine) of Lakeview, Ore., Harold of Custer, S.D., Bernard (Terry) of Rushville, Neb. and sister Sonja Janssen (David) of Hay Springs and numerous nieces and nephews. Neil is preceded in death by his father, Ralph, mother, Louisa and sister, Bernita.

Memorial services were held on Wednesday December 21, 2011, 1:00 P.M. at the United Methodist Church in Rushville with inurnment burial at Fairview Cemetery. A memorial has been established and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home PO Box 366, Gordon, NE 69343.


Martin Donald Connealy

Martin Donald Connealy, born May 12, 1933, in Decatur, Neb., as a child moved with the family to Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana before returning to Nebraska. Marty made his journey to heaven at age 78 on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011.

A graduate of Gordon High School in 1952, where he held the shot put record for decades, Marty attended UNL on a football scholarship before returning to the Nebraska Sandhills, where he married Donnie Vinton in 1955. A lifelong Catholic, Marty divided his time as a member of All Saints parish in Hyannis and St. Joseph’s in Lincoln where he served on the Newman Center board as well as the Lincoln chapter of Legatus.

Starting with a herd of 20 cattle, Marty ultimately developed one of the finest Angus operations in the country. At the annual bull sale, Marty loved greeting his local friends and neighbors and enjoyed widening that circle of friends as he and Donnie delivered bulls all across the nation. Famous for his love of all things Irish and his beloved Cornhuskers, everyone who knew Marty admired his integrity, his passionate love of life and his boundless generosity. A grass-roots member of the Husker Beef Club, Marty remained loyal to the Huskers with his lifelong support of the Nebraska Athletic club. He traveled to Ireland many times with friends and family and could never tell a story about the old country, old friends or his family without tears filling his eyes.

Marty treasured his time in the Sandhills driving in his little gray pickup to view baby calves, walking through the bulls, or taking a trip to the fishpond to feed his fish. A medium rare, Connealy Angus dry-aged steak for dinner would close a perfect day. In Lincoln, a perfect day for Marty began with Mass at St. Joseph’s, breakfast at the Cornhusker, and attendance at a Husker football, basketball or baseball game. He especially delighted in these activities when he was accompanied by his best friend, Donnie, or any of his beloved children, grandchildren, great grandchildren or the multitude of wonderful people he was blessed to call his friends. Marty truly relished sharing his passions with those he dearly loved.

Marty is survived by sons Bill (Renee) of Phoenix, Jerry (Sharon) of Whitman, Jack (Jane) of Lincoln, Mick (Kathy) and Terry (Lisa) both of Omaha; daughters Susan (Bob) Huffman of Bassett, and Kathy (Steve) Cleveland of Chadron. Twenty-five grandchildren proudly called Marty grandfather and seven great-grandchildren carry on the family legacy.

An offering of the Holy Rosary will be in Mullen at 7:00 p.m. (M.S.T.) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mullen on the evening of Dec. 28. Visitation prior from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (M.S.T.) on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. Mass of Christian Burial, also in Mullen, will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Dec. 29 at 10:00 with burial immediately following in Cedarview Cemetery. A memorial service celebrating Marty’s life will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10:30. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered to St Thomas Aquinas - Newman Center, 320 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. Arrangements handled by Mullen Funeral Home, P.O. Box 290, Mullen, NE 69152. (308) 546-2260.


Brenna Layne Clark

Brenna Layne Clark, age 3, of Thedford, Neb. went to be with Jesus on December 17, 2011.

Brenna was born on August 27, 2008, in Cambridge, Neb. to Adam and Alicia (Abbott) Clark. She lived in Cambridge until March 2009, when she and her family moved to a ranch located between Hyannis and Merriman, Neb. In September 2011, they moved to a ranch near Thedford.

Brenna will always be remembered by her family as a beautiful, smart, loving little girl who smiled with her whole face and adored her family, including her big sister Anna and her little brother Caleb. She loved Jesus, music, reading, riding her horse Mac, the color pink, helping her dad with the cows and helping her mom cook, riding her tricycle, changing clothes, painting, coloring, picking on Caleb, and daydreaming with Anna. Her best friend is her sister Anna.

Survivors include her parents, Adam and Alicia; sister Anna; brother Caleb; grandparents Chris and Kim Abbott of Gordon, Neb. and Stan and Carolyn Clark of Ainsworth, Neb.; great-grandmothers Mary Clark of Ainsworth and Ila Horner of Rose, Neb.; uncles and aunts A.J. and Jessica Abbott, Carver and Billie Abbott, Jon Clark and Ballad and Brent Hummel; cousins Morgan and Cooper Abbott and Isabel, Adyson and Emerie Hummel; and many great aunts and uncles. She is preceded in death by her great-grandparents, Bill and Evelyn Brennemann, Art and Pat Abbott, Earl Clark and Eldon Horner.

Funeral services were held December 22, 2011, at Hyannis High School, Hyannis, Neb. Words of comfort were provided by Pastor Lee Wonch and A.J. Abbott. Pallbearers were A.J. Abbott, Carver Abbott, Jon Clark and Brent Hummel.

Music was “Amazing Grace” (My Chains Are Gone), Jeana Hackel; “Angels Among Us”, Genia Entz and Mary Boehm; “Heaven Is The Face” by Steven Curtis Chapman as well as a selection of children’s music.

Interment was at Hyannis Cemetery, Hyannis. Memorials are suggested to the Brenna Clark Memorial Fund. Mullen Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Bonnie G. Rager

Bonnie G. Rager, 84, a Wellington resident for 46 years and a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at her home following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was born the daughter of George Walter and Edith Eldora (Sullivan) Blare on May 28, 1927 in Martin, South Dakota. It was in Martin where Bonnie spent her early childhood, went to school through her sophomore year and was baptized and confirmed.

On October 19, 1941, her mother married Lawrence Wamsley and in 1943 the family moved to Gordon, Nebraska where Bonnie was a graduate of Gordon High School. Following graduation, she went to work as an operator for Bell Telephone Company.

On March 16, 1947, Bonnie and Don E. Rager were united in marriage. To this union two children were born, one son and one daughter. After the birth of their son, she went to work for the Pine Ridge Plumbing Company in the accounting office. Bonnie was employed there until February 1951 as the family was transferred to North Platte, Nebraska by the J.C. Penney Company. Their daughter was born during their time in North Platte. They lived there through February 1957 and were transferred to Fort Morgan, Colorado. Again, the family was transferred to Yuma, Colorado in 1960 and finally made their last move to Wellington, Kansas in May 1965.

Bonnie very much loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and looked forward to having them around. She enjoyed traveling which she was able to do often with her husband and good friends, George and Donna Storey of Winfield, Kansas.

She was Past President of Newcomers Club, belonged to Grand Cross of Colors, ESA Sorority, Eastern Star, loved to play Bridge in several different Bridge groups, loved solitaire and also served on the Wellington Senior Center Board for 3 years. Bonnie even made their holiday center pieces.

Bonnie stayed busy working on the many crafts that she enjoyed: sewing, quilting, oil painting, woodworking, porcelain dolls and ceramics. She taught ceramics in her home for many years and always had a soft spot in her heart for all the people that attended her classes.

She was preceded in death by her mother, father, step-father and sister.

Survivors include her husband, Don Rager of the home; son Rick Rager and his wife Virginia; step-grandson, Steven and step-great-granddaughter, Samantha of Wichita, Kansas; grandson, Dustin Rager and his wife Michelle and great-granddaughter Alyssa of Chillicothe, Missouri; granddaughter Lindsay Rager of Manhattan, Kansas; daughter, Connie Biles and her husband Wayne of Wellington, Kansas; grandson Sam Biles and his wife Anne and step-great-grandchildren, Cameron and Katie of Belle Plaine, Kansas; grandson, Tyler Biles and great-grandson, Rylan Biles of Wellington, Kansas; granddaughter, Abby Biles of Wichita, Kansas; brother, George Blare and his wife Edna of Mesa, Arizona; brother-in-law, Hudson Morey of Gordon, Nebraska along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 28, 2011 with the family present from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Funeral services for Bonnie will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, December 29, 2011 at the First United Methodist Church, Wellington, Kansas.

Interment will follow at the Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Wellington, Kansas.

Memorials have been established in her loving memory to the First United Methodist Church (Kids Meals on Wheels), 202 West Harvey, Wellington, Kansas 67152 or the Wellington Humane Society, P.O. Box 494, Wellington, Kansas 67152. To share a memory or to leave condolences, please visit


Richard Wayne (Dick) Haslow

Richard Wayne (Dick) Haslow, 79, passed away Tuesday, December 27, 2011, at Good Samaritan Health Care Center.

He was born February 21, 1932, in Gordon, Nebraska to John C. and Famy (Wingett) Haslow. He attended elementary school in Gordon and graduated from Gordon High School in 1950. On August 26, 1951, he married his high school sweetheart, Alta Gardiner and to this union four children were born.

He served in the United States Army, at Fort Dix New Jersey from 1954 to 1956. He attended Chadron State College and was a member of the Blue Key National Honorary Fraternity and lettered in both football and track. He earned his bachelors degree in 1960, and in 1990 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the college, for his achievements in working with youth. He was one of the original staff members of the Pine Ridge Job Corp when it opened at Chadron. In 1976 he was included in the bi-centennial edition of Who’s Who in Nebraska.

Dick was always a cowboy at heart. In his younger days, he worked as a hired man for several ranchers throughout the panhandle. In 1960 he became a full partner on the Orla Rucker ranch near Chardon, and was named Outstanding Young Farmer/Rancher in 1966. He owned and operated a small ranch north of Bingham for nearly 40 years, and enjoyed riding horseback, working cattle and putting up hay. In 1968, Dick moved his family to Alliance and became the Director of the Nebraska Boys Ranch. During his thirty three years at the Ranch, he influenced the lives of hundreds of boys, until his retirement in 2001.

Dick was a member of the United Methodist Church, the American Legion, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He enjoyed watching Huskers and Broncos football, Colorado Rockies baseball and PRCA Bull Riding. He also enjoyed traveling, and had visited all fifty states. His greatest sadness was the loss of two of his children to Cystic Fibrosis. His greatest joy was spending time with the rest of his family; his wife of 60 years, his children, grandchildren and great grandson.

He is survived by his wife Alta Haslow, his children Rich (Rhonda) Haslow, and Carla (Reid) Block, all of Alliance, one grandson, Richard Haslow of New York, NY, three granddaughters, Tammy (William) Suit, Lyndsey Block and Lauren Block, all of Alliance, and one great grandson, Nathaniel Suit. He is also survived by brothers and sisters in law, numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter, Debra Lynne Haslow and a son, Robert Jay Haslow, his brother John Haslow and his two sisters, Betty Hensley and Marian Nygaard.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the Alliance United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Charles Kathurima M. officiating. Interment will be at the Gordon Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. Visitation will be Friday from 1-7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorials may be given to the United Methodist Church, Prairie Haven Hospice or Good Samaritan Health Care Center.

Online condolences may be left at with Bates-Gould Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.


Wanda "Alice" Gier

Wanda “Alice” Gier, 80, passed away Oct. 23, 2011, at the hospital in North Platte surrounded by her family and friends.

Alice was born May 18, 1931, in Hyannis, the daughter of Gerald and Ruby Wright Simpson. She attended elementary school in the country schools in southern Grant County. Her family moved to Wyoming in the early 1940s. When Alice was 12 years old, she moved with her family to the ranch south of Mullen that she would call home for the rest of her life. When she was asked if she would like to leave the ranch and move to town, she would adamantly reply, “No, I am right where I want to be.”

On May 21, 1948, Alice married the love of her life, Glen Gier.

She studied at the college in Chadron to be an elementary teacher. After receiving her certificate, she taught in rural schools south of Mullen. Glen and Alice had two daughters, Beverly and Bonnie. She was proud of her family and all of their accomplishments. Glen was an artist and Alice was always ready to show off his artwork. She worked tirelessly in the background, promoting and selling his work. She enjoyed growing flowers, crocheting and her chickens. She took pleasure in providing eggs for her neighbors and family.

Alice is survived by her daughters, Beverly Uphoff, of Scottsbluff, and Bonnie (Mike) Strasburger, of Gordon; grandchildren, Dean Rice, Tim Rice, Kendra Uphoff (Marcus West), Todd Strasburger, Tyler Strasburger; great-grandchildren, Riley, Morgan, Courtney, Alexis, Tierra and Ella; brother Benny (Donna) Simpson, of Hyannis; sister-in-law, Mildred Gier, of Hershey; and nieces, nephews and cousins. She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Glen; and son-in-law, Kenneth Uphoff.

Alice’s presence will be missed and her memory treasured by all who knew and loved her.

Services were held on Friday, Oct. 28, at Sandhills Community Bible Church in Mullen with Pastor Darrell Forseen officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date.

Mullen Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Greg Grover

Greg Grover, 28, of Gordon died October 26, 2011, at his home. Immediate survivors: parents, Bob and Jan Grover; wife, Melissa (Ballard); son, McCaffrey; daughters, McKinley and McKaley; sisters: Amanda Saunders and Jennifer Petersen; and brother, Chris Grover. Funeral services for Gregg were Thursday, November 3, 2011, at the Gordon City Auditorium. Burial was at the Gordon Cemetery in Gordon, Neb. A memorial has been established for a college fund for Greg’s children. Donations may be sent to: Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366, Gordon, Neb. 69343. Online condolences can be made at Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Allen Willard Mendenhall

Allen Willard Mendenhall was born on September 17, 1918 in Hay Springs, Neb. to Paul and Edith Mendenhall. Willard was one of seven children and was raised on the family farm south of Hay Springs.

During his childhood, Willard attended Sandridge school and graduated from Hay Springs High School in 1936. He stayed and worked on the family farm and attended the New Hope Friends Church, in which his family were pioneer members.

In 1940, at the age of 22, Willard moved to Portland, Ore. to attend Cascade College. The first person he met when he arrived on campus was his future wife, Phyllis High. They were married on September 28, 1941. He graduated in 1945 from Cascade College with a Bachelor of Theology and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

While raising a family, Willard worked in the Portland shipyards during World War II and continued to pursue his education. He attended several schools and received his Masters Degree in School Administration from Indiana State University in 1958. He taught at schools in Idaho, North Carolina, and Illinois. Throughout his life, he also served as a Quaker minister until his retirement in 1972.

Even after retirement, Willard never slowed down, and he poured his life into his children, grandchildren, and other ventures.

He is survived by his sons: John, David, Alvin, and Adam(Paul), and a daughter, Mary Ellen; 18 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and a sister, Ellen Strasburger, of Ellsworth, Neb.

He is preceeded in death by wife, Phyllis; second wife, Maxine; parents, Paul and Edith; siblings: Floyd, Alice, Lewis, Ardith, and Curtis; and a cousin, Zula.

Services were held on September 17, 2011 at Reedwood Friends Church in Portland, Ore.


Roy Nyffler

Roy Nyffler, 55, of Rapid City passed away on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at his home.
Roy was a hard worker who loved to spend time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. He especially loved to spend time with people and loved life. Roy was highly dedicated and took great pride in his work for RPM Associates.

Survivors include his son, Daniel Nyffler, Rapid City; daughter, Ramona Garrigan, Rapid City; mother, Margaret Sparks, Rapid City; father, Robert Nyffler, Rushville, NE; sisters, Tammy Hubert and Teresa Keller both of Rapid City; and two grandchildren.

Celebration of life was held Saturday, October 29, 2011, at Bethel Assembly of God Church in Rapid City with Rev. Jim Sorum officiating. Burial followed at Pine Lawn Memorial Park.

Family and friends may sign Roy’s online guestbook at


Owen Bradley Parker

Owen Bradley Parker, 23, of Laramie, Wyo., passed away Saturday, October 29, 2011, in an automobile accident. Owen was born March 26, 1988, to Brad and Linda Parker. He was baptized into his faith of God in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. Owen attended Hay Springs Schools until 2002, when his family moved to Hershey, Neb. where he attended his freshman and sophomore years. The family then moved to Gothenburg, Neb. where Owen graduated in 2006. After high school graduation, he attended Wyoming Technical School in Laramie, Wyo. where he graduated in September 2007. Just after graduation, he was employed with Laramie GM Auto Center and had just completed his 4th year.

How ironic that growing up in a family of Mopar fanatics, his employment would be repairing Bowties (aka: Chevy’s). His dedication and convictions were evident everyday in his strong work ethic and his love of family and friends. Owen is survived by his parents of Gillette, Wyo.; great grandmother Mary Siegrist, grandparents Bill and Corale Parker all of Hay Springs; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Owen is also survived by his love and best friend Megan Hughes of Laramie, Wyo.

He was preceded in death by great grandparents Lavern Siegrist, Emily and Jesse Parker, Viola and William Harrison Smith; grandparents Martin Siegrist, Helen Siegrist Lees; Aunt Karen Parker and Uncle Michael Siegrist; and baby cousin Christopher Parker.

A candlelight vigil in memory of Owen was held by friends and co-workers in Laramie, Wyoming, Sunday, October 30. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, November 2, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hay Springs Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Michael Wittrock officiating. Interment will follow at Hay Springs Cemetery.

A memorial has been established for the Hay Springs Fire Department Building Fund or the Zion Lutheran Church of Hay Springs. Donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Drabbels, Hay Springs, PO Box 443, Hay Springs, NE 69347. Online condolences can be made at Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary of Hay Springs is in charge of arrangements.


John “Jack” Robson

John “Jack” Robson, 81, Lincoln, Neb., died Monday, October 24, 2011. Jack was born September 22, 1930 in Gordon, Nebraska to John Wesley and Martha Mildred (Shook) Robson. He married Kathryn Baker on August 26, 1951 in David City, Nebraska. He met Kathryn at UNL, and both received their degrees in 1953. Jack went to Korea in 1954 as U. S. Army Officer of Infantry.

He attended graduate school at UNL, received his Master’s Degree from Denver University in Librarianship. His first job was at the Air Force Academy as librarian, next he was employed at St. Cloud State in Minnesota, then as head librarian at SW Minnesota State University, and finally, as head librarian at Nebraska Wesleyan University until his retirement. He was a member and ordained deacon at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lincoln.

Family members include wife of 60 years, Kathryn Mae; daughters, sons-in-law: Deborah Dawn and David Heller, Va.; Diana Lynn Robson and Teri Simpson, Eugene, Ore.; Denise Anne Robson and Sean Butler, Oshkosh, WI; sister: Rosemarie Coy, Shepherdstown, W.Va.; grandchildren: Adam R. and Ethan W. Heller, David Butler; 6 great grandchildren; brother-in-law: Charles M. Baker, Apache, Okla.

He was preceded in death by parents, step-father, brother Bill Robson. He will be remembered for his sense of humor and as a renaissance man. Memorial Services were held Saturday, October 29, 2011, in Holdrege. Robson was cremated.

Memorials can be made to the church, or the Alzheimer’s Association, 1500 S. 70th, Suite 201, Lincoln, NE 68506.

Arrangements were by Roper and Sons Funeral Services Condolences or personal reflections may be sent online at

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