William J. HUFFMAN
William J. (Bill) Huffman, 87, of Ainsworth, Neb., passed away June 30, 2012, at the Rock County Long Term Care in Bassett, Neb.
Bill, second son of Marion and Maude McMullen Huffman, was born on February 13, 1925, at Sutherland, Neb. His parents resided in the McPherson/Arthur County area in Bill’s early years. In 1929, his father moved them to Mason City, Neb., where they lived close to his Aunt Mabel (Quinn) Van Meter. Then, within a year, Bill’s family returned to the Huffman ranch, living in what is known as the Soddy. They soon moved to his Uncle Bird Huffman’s ranch on the Wright place at Squaw Creek where Bill and his siblings had a happy time working and playing together. From here they moved north of Hyannis, Neb., where Bill’s family would spend six years on the Dumb-bell Ranch. Bill would always tell that he was 10-years-old at the time and he rode horseback 35 miles to move the cows to their new home.
As did many young adults of the Sandhills area, Bill attended high school at Curtis, Neb., graduating in 1942 from the Nebraska School of Agriculture. However, the family’s herd of cattle had grown, so in 1941, his father had moved the family to Koshopah on the Lovelace place north of Dunning, Neb.
In Dunning Bill met Odetta M. Fisher of Brewster, Neb. They were married on June 15, 1944, at St. Anselm’s Catholic rectory at Anselmo, Neb.
On January 16, 1945, Bill was inducted into the Army, and spent about 1-1/2 years during World War II serving at Fort Bliss, Texas and Honolulu, Hawaii. Bill was discharged on August 13, 1946. After Bill returned from the Army, he and Odetta lived at Swan Lake on the Huffman homestead where he had lived as a toddler. In May, 1947, Bill and Odetta moved to the Bud and Billie McGooden ranch south of Dunning, Neb., until October of that year when they relocated to the McAdam’s ranch north of town. They resided on the ranch until their house burned down in June, 1952.
Following the house fire, they moved to town, increasing the size of their family to four “living” children. Bill would spend a total of 20 years managing this well known Blaine Co. ranch. It was said that the owner had to hire three men to replace him when Bill decided to relocate his family to the L.D. Putnam ranch near Vetal, S.D., where they would live for the next seven years fulfilling their dream of raising their children out in the “country.” In 1973, Bill and Odetta returned to the area of the Sandhills near Hyannis, Neb., where Bill would work as a ranch hand for Farrar Cattle Co.
However, two years later, Bill and Odetta accepted an offer to return to their “old” house at Dunning, Neb., where Bill would work again as ranch foreman for Mick McAdams, devoting around 30 years of his life to this Omaha-based family. When the ranch sold in 1987, Bill decided he would “move on” and he and Odetta accepted an offer from Monahan Cattle Co. and moved to the Flick Ranch north of Whitman, Neb., where they would live for the next 17 years where Bill would continue being a “cowboy” till he was 78 years of age.
Due to Odetta’s failing health, Bill and Odetta retired to Ainsworth, Neb., in June, 2003. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary before her passing on April 12, 2005. Bill continued to maintain their apartment until this past January when his health declined and he moved to Cottonwood Villa in Ainsworth, Neb., where he renewed old friendships with Sandhills ranch neighbors and friends until complications of a stroke ended his life.
Bill was a member of the Brewster American Legion, Post No. 0323, for 65 years and the Dunning V.F.W. Post No. 8544. He was also very proud to be one of the initial inductees in 2006 to the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame.
He is survived by two daughters, Mabel Irene Boots (Rodney) of Ashby, Neb., and Jo Ann Heath (Larry) of Cody, Neb.; two sons, William G. (Billy) and wife Bobbie and Robert Stanley (Bob) and wife Sue, all of Bassett, Neb.; nine grandchildren, Andrea (Jason) Fanning of Martin, S.D., Sheila (Corey) Pourier of Chadron, Neb, Steven Huffman, and fiancé Julie Thyne of Kearney, Neb., Suzanne (John) Neefe II of Alliance, Neb., Justin (Kelsy) Boots of Lexington, Neb., Brittany (Eric) Kauffman of Omaha, Neb., Darin Boots of Ashby, Neb., Bridget Kinkaid of Ainsworth, Neb., and Kendra (Jace) Rambat of Medicine Lodge, Kan.; 20 and soon to be 21 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mabel Rodocker of Halsey, Neb., and Mary Duryea of Broken Bow, Neb.; three sisters-in-law, Fern Huffman of Denver, Colo., Donna Smith of Maryville, Mo., and Sharon (Merlyn) Rieber of Griswold, Iowa; and aunt, Betty (the late Edgar) McMullen of Grand Island, Neb.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Odetta; four babies, including Donald Lee, Linda Lou and Billie Marie; two brothers, Edmund and Gerald Huffman and one grandson Jimmy Matteson.
Memorial services were held July 5, 2012 at the St. Pius X Catholic Church in Ainsworth, Neb.
Military graveside was held at the Ft. McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Neb.
Memorials contributions may be made to the Brown County Ambulance Association, or to the NCDC-Cowboy Hall of Fame. ❖
Andrew “Andy” Meyer, 81, of Oshkosh, Neb., passed away July 10, 2012, at the Garden County Health Services Hospital in Oshkosh, Neb.
Andrew (Andy) Jackson Meyer was born January 19 , 1931 on a farm in Graham County Kansas to Andrew Wesley and Gladys Adelia (Hill) Meyer. He was the fifth of nine children. He grew up on the farm attending rural schools graduating from Hill City, Kan., High School in 1948. It was there he met the love of his life. He and Laurel Janice (Jan) Engleman were married on September 23 , 1950 at Jan’s parents home in Hill City, Kan.
After graduation Andy went to Kansas City Jr. College for a year and worked with a survey crew surveying for rural electricity in north central Kansas and south central Nebraska for a year. He had also been farming for several years and continued after marriage, living north of Bogue, Kan. Three children were born during the time they lived on the farm — Jack Edward, Janet Marie and Susan Joy.
The family moved to Denver, Colo., in 1959 managing an apartment house and Andy worked as a linotype machinist for The Denver Post, Denver Catholic Register and other printing shops. He had learned the trade working for Jan’s mother in her newspaper shop in Hill City, Kan.
One of Andy’s enjoyable life experiences was taking flying lessons with his mother-in-law, Marie Engleman. He was quick to gloat when he was allowed to fly solo before she was.
The family moved to Frederick, Colo., in 1961 after buying the Farmer and Miner newspaper there. Jan edited and wrote the articles and Andy set type and did the machinist work while still working in the Denver, Colo., area.
In 1966 the family sold the newspaper and moved to Julesburg, Colo., where Andy started an International Harvester Dealership. After two years the business closed and he worked for Wycon Chemical Company selling, delivering and spreading fertilizer in the northeastern area of Colorado and the panhandle of Nebraska. In 1973 he had an opportunity to buy the Farm and Ranch Fertilizer business in Oshkosh, Neb., and through the years developed it into a good sized business.
He sold the fertilizer and chemical assets of the business to Westco and the feed business to Farm and Ranch Feeds in 1998. After retiring the next 12 years were spent traveling in their motor home spending quality time with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Andy served on the church board while living in Kansas. He served as a volunteer fireman in Frederick, Colo., and Oshkosh, Neb. He was a Lions Club member in Julesburg, Colo., and served on area agriculture committees while living at Oshkosh, Neb.
Andy loved people; working with the public all those years he was in business was the highlight of his life. He loved his family and in later years lived for the times family could be visited or came to visit him. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were perfect in his eyes. He was a great encourager and his faith was a strength he passed on to all of them. He always said he was not defeated, he was challenged. He was an active member of the Oshkosh Wesleyan Church.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years; his daughters Janet M. (Kerry) Johnson of Julesburg, Colo., and Susan J. (Ace) Backer of Mitchell, Neb.; nine grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren; four sisters, Lois Lee of McClouth, Kan., Mary Fountain of Hill City, Kan., Betty Lang of Topeka, Kan., and Dorlea Jenkins of Phoenix, Ariz.
He was preceded in death by his son, Jack E.; two brothers, Elbert (Bill) Meyer of Kansas City, Kan., and Glen W. Meyer of Ovid, Colo., and two sisters, Nancy Hall of Olathe, Kan., Sylvia Hetzel of Longview, Texas, and his parents.
Visitation will be on Monday, July 16, from 1-7 p.m., with the family present from 4-6 p.m. at the Holechek Funeral Home in Oshkosh, Neb. Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at the Oshkosh Wesleyan Church in Oshkosh, Neb. Burial will follow in the St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Cemetery near Oshkosh, Neb.
Memorial contributions may be made in Andy’s name to the VOA or the donor’s choice.
Family and friends may sign the guest book and leave condolences online at HolechekFuneralHomes.com. ❖