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May 28, 2013
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Plains Edition Obituaries 5-25-13

Jake Cross

Jake Cross, 98, lifetime Arthur, Neb., rancher, passed away, May 15, 2013, in his home.

He was born July 1, 1914 on the family Kincaid homestead in Arthur County. His parents were Henry and Lillian (Golzio) Cross. After the death of Lillian, Jake and two brothers were raised by their maternal grandparents. He attended Arthur County District 7 School and graduated from high school in 1931 with normal education training. He taught one year in District 44 on the Garden County line and boarded with the Fred Starkey family. He then traveled and worked in Montana and later in northern California. The Civilian Conservation Corp camp helped him get established in the park and forestry service.

Jake entered the Army on July 22, 1941 and served stateside and in the Philippines. He was honorably discharged from Camp Beale with the rank of sergeant. He resumed working in the forestry service in Oregon and California and then returned to Nebraska. In 1947 Jake was united in marriage to Lucille Monhart Hill. The couple resided in Arthur and Jake was employed in the construction of Kingsley Dam.

The family moved to Sutherlin, Ore. for a time and then relocated to Arthur County where they settled on his father’s homestead. In 1956, Jake began his construction business. He also purchased a small herd of cattle to tend while continuing his construction. He never really retired and enjoyed sharing ranching with retired son, Joe, the last twelve years. His hobbies included reading, gardening, and playing percussion in the family band.

He is survived by his wife Lucille Cross and his son Joe Cross, both of Arthur, Neb.; three daughters: Bonnie Jean Nutt of College Station, Tex., Judy Ann (Jeffrey) Little of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Mary Jane (Richard) Oliver of Maryville, Mo.; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, step-mom Caroline Cross, and five brothers: George, Wilsie, Don, Burt and Percy.

Services were held May 18, 2013 at the Arthur Baptist Church in Arthur, Neb. Interment is in the Arthur Cemetery with military honors by the American Legion E.J. Yates Post #207 and the Keith County Veterans Organization.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Arthur Baptist Church. Online Condolences may be sent to

Donald “Don” Grothe

Donald “Don” Grothe, 74, passed away April 15, 2013 at The Independence House in Lincoln, Neb.

He was born November 2, 1938 in Tekamah, Neb., the son of Oscar and Mildred (Paulsen) Grothe. He graduated from Cozad High School with the class of 1956 and received his degree in business from Midland Lutheran College.

Don married Margaret Jeanine Rouse on June 14, 1959. He worked for North Western Bell before becoming an independent seed corn dealer with Pioneer. Don was an avid fisherman and loved to travel, often snow birding to Mexico, Arizona and Branson in his RV. He enjoyed playing bridge, golfing, and bowling. Don was a member of the Elks Club and American Lutheran Church both in Cozad, Nebraska.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jean of Cozad, Neb.; three daughters, Donelle Bell and her husband Jonathan of Omaha, Neb., Cindy Linke and fiancé Troy Henderson of Lincoln, and Holly Egger all of Lincoln, Neb.; eight grandchildren, Alexandrea Romano, Nicolas Romano, Jacob Linke, Falesha Bell, Cole Linke, Ann Marie Bell, Tanner Egger, and McKinnon Egger.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Services were held April, 19, 2013 at Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Neb.

Cremation was conducted.

Frances Emily Long

Frances Emily Long, 90, of Stapleton, Neb., passed away May 21, 2013 in North Platte, Neb.

She was born on December 24, 1922 at a relative’s home near Arnold, Neb., to Alfred and Anna A. (Patterson) Blevins. During her early years she lived near Stapleton, Neb., then the family moved to McCook, Neb. and Oberlin, Kan. where she attended country schools and her first two years of high school. She finished high school in Stapleton, Neb., graduating with the class of 1941. She married Minor P. Miles in North Platte, Neb. on July 2, 1941 and to this union two sons were born: Dale Rodney and Ray Allen. Minor passed away on August 22, 1943 in Grand Island, Neb.

On January 5, 1946 Frances married Emory W. Long in Oberlin, Kan. Frances and Emory welcomed Ruth Emily who was born in North Platte, Neb. The family settled on a farm in McPherson County, Neb. and then lived on farms near Gandy, Neb. Emory passed away on September 14, 1989 and later that fall Frances moved into her home in Stapleton where she lived until moving to a nursing home in 2009.

She enjoyed many crafts, especially crocheting, sewing and quilting. She won several awards at the Logan County Fair. She sewed clothing for the whole family, raised nearly all the family groceries and sold eggs and cream in town to purchase other necessities. Belonging to the First Presbyterian Church, Banner Mother’s Extension Club, Senior Friendship Club, the VFW Women’s Auxiliary and Farm Bureau kept her busy after moving to town. She often played cards with friends and took many sightseeing trips around the United States.

She is survived by son Ray (Debbie) Miles of Montrose, Colo.; daughter Ruth (Dan) Beckius of Stapleton, Neb.; grandson Rex (Sharon) Miles and great-granddaughters Summer and Erica of Phoenix,Ariz.; grandson Leroy (Sheri) Beckius and great-grandchildren Emily and James of Santee, Calif.; grandsons Andrew and Caleb of Vermillion, S.D.; brother Donald (Lyla) Blevins of Stapleton, NE; and sisters in law Esther Blevins of Stapleton and Twyla Kramer of North Platte.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands; son Dale Rodney Miles; and brother Byron.

Services were held May 28, 2013 at Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Stapleton, Neb..

Burial was in the Arnold Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Stapleton Volunteer Fire Department and online condolences may be shared at

Ron Wittwer

Ron Wittwer, 86, of Stillwater, Okla. formerly of Humboldt, Neb. passed away May 20, 2013.

He was born October 21, 1926 in Humboldt, Neb. to David E. and Isabel (Hilderbrand) Wittwer. After high school, he was inducted into the U.S. Navy on Oct. 5, 1944 and was honorably discharged on July 8, 1946.

On Nov. 25, 1949, He married Luella May “Dolly” Fankhauser. They lovingly raised five children, and enjoyed 52 years of marriage before her passing in 2003. Ron and his brother, Sterling, farmed in Nebraska and began their construction career building terraces, waterways, and dams in the early 50’s. Their business later became known as Wittwer Bros. Inc. and in 1965, Ron formed the company Wittwer Construction Company, Inc. Ron, along with Leon Hake, designed and started the manufacturing company E-Z Drill, Inc. in 1987. E-Z Drill’s product line is made up of concrete drilling machines and is sold worldwide. With Ron’s guidance, E-Z Drill has grown from three employees in 1987 to 50 employees in 2013. After retiring, he returned to his love of farming. On March 20, 2004, he remarried to Jeralyn Campbell.

He is survived by his wife, Jeralyn Wittwer of Stillwater,Okla.; children: Connie Griffin and husband Danny of Stillwater, Okla.; Kay Fire and husband Daniel of N. Tonawanda, N.Y; David E. Wittwer of Dallas, Texas; Daniel R. Wittwer and wife Tracey of Edmond, Okla.; Carolyn Walstad and husband Rick of Stillwater, Okla.; stepchildren, Wes Campbell and wife Donita of Amarillo, Texas; Tim Campbell and wife Diana of Keys, Okla.; Shelly Harris and husband Kevin of Drumright, Okla.; 13 grandchildren: Brad Griffin and wife Heather, Darin Griffin and wife Cassie, Holly Mahon and husband Kenny, Stephen Shughart and wife Tara, Dr. Sally Shughart, Beth McDowell and husband Charlie, John Shughart and wife Erika, Kathryn Anderson and husband Drew, SFC David Robert “Bobby” Wittwer, Clay Wittwer and wife Kim, Matt Wittwer, Chelsea Day and husband Zack and Carley Walstad; 15 great-grandchildren, Jimmy Reid, Trenton Griffin, Alexandra Griffin, Jacqueline Griffin, Victoria Griffin, Aubrey Mahon, Kenley Mahon, Mia McDowell, Max McDowell, Emma Shughart, Jackson Whitmore, Chandler Wittwer, Landry Wittwer, Josey Wittwer and Chloe Day; six step-grandchildren, two step great-grandchildren and brother, Sterling Wittwer of Omaha, Neb.

Services were held May 25, 2013, at The Four-Mile Congregational Church South of Humboldt, Neb.

Interment will be at the Four-Mile Cemetery South of Humboldt, Neb.

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 17, 2013 09:34AM Published Aug 5, 2013 03:18PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.