Plains Edition Obituaries |

Plains Edition Obituaries

, 75, formerly of Morrill, died Dec. 31, 2006, at Heritage Estates in Gering.

She was born May 19, 1931, at Bridgeport to Jacob and Katherine (Pfenning) Huber. She was the ninth of nine children. She attended rural C14 country school through the sixth grade at which time her parents moved to Bayard. She graduated from Bayard High School in 1948.

She married Tom Blum on April 25, 1952, at the Zion Evangelical Church (Faith United Church of Christ) in Bayard, which was the church she was baptized and confirmed in. They farmed in the Morrill area for 22 years until his sudden death in 1978 at the age of 47. She continued to live in Morrill until 2002 when she moved to Scottsbluff. In the spring of 2006 she moved to the Heritage Health Care Center.

After a lengthy hospitalization she returned to Heritage Estates in December of 2006.

She was an active member of the church and it’s Mary Martha Circle until her health prevented her from doing so. She was a volunteer at Regional West Medical Center for many years and a member of the Lazy Daisy Garden Club.

Survivors include her sons, Mike Blum of Genoa and Brad Blum of Wauneta; daughter, Nancy (Torry) Butcher of Mitchell; grandson, Sam Blum of Wauneta and granddaughter, Rachael Blum of Arkansas; brother, Henry (Esther) Huber of Scottsbluff; and sister, Irene (Sam) Kraus of Morrill.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Tom; sisters, Lydia Harimon, Mary Wickman, and Catherine Michal, and brothers, Bill, Jake, and John Huber.

, 80, of Sidney died Jan. 3, 2007, at the Sterling Regional Medical Center in Sterling, Colo.

He was born on June 18, 1926, at Havelock, Neb., the son of Leon A. and Opal I. (Webster) Lafler. In 1929 at three years of age, he was confined to bed for six months due to Reumatic Fever. The illness had lasting effects his entire life. He attended District 56 and District 49 Schools before graduating from Sidney High School at the age of 16.

He then attended Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo., waiting to become old enough to join the military services and learning to fly an airplane. Not yet 18 years of age, his parents signed his enlistment papers into the Regular Army Air Corps where he served as an Aircraft and Engine Specialist. He received his Honorable Discharge on Nov. 25, 1945. He returned home to help his mother run the family farm as his father was ill and unable to continue farming.

On Nov. 25, 1948, he was united in marriage to Edna Groeger at Peetz, Colo., a union lasting more than 58 years. He was proud to be a farmer, and in the lean years when hail, drought, and mother nature made it difficult to make a living on the farm, he supplemented his families income by working at the Sioux Army Depot, the Union Pacific Railroad and doing cement work.

He has been an active member of the American Legion since 1945. He was one of the organizers of the ColoBraska Telephone Company, serving as President while building 21 miles of telephone line to provide telephone service to the South Divide area. He began his car collecting in 1951 when he purchased a 1926 Model-T Ford Touring car. It would prove to be one of many projects that led him to organize and serve as the first President of the Trailblazers Antique Car Club of Sidney/Cheyenne County. He raced stock cars from 1951 until 1955 and in 1954 drove in the Nascar Grand National Race at the Langhorn Speedway in Langhorn, Penn. He was an officer in the Jaycees and the Fort Sidney Days Committee. He was chosen the Outstanding Young Farmer in Cheyenne County in 1957. He joined the Sidney Elk’s Lodge #1894 in 1953 holding various offices and serving as Exalted Ruler in 1957, and served as President of Fidelity Inc, a holding company that purchased the City Auditorium for the Sidney Elk’s Lodge.

He built a Model T Ford Adaptatractor in 1993 from pieces he had on hand and participated in many antique tractor pulls over the years. He was also a 10 year member of the Cheyenne County Fair Board, serving as Secretary for 7 years. In 1978, he slowed down his farming operations due to growing health concerns, but always held fondly his years of farming and operating his cow/calf operation. In his semi-retirement, he continued building and inventing things and restoring old vehicles and machinery.

Survivors include his wife, Edna of Sidney; four sons, Kevin (Tammy) Lafler of Sidney, Gregory Lafler of Sidney, Brian (Mary) Lafler of Alliance, and James Lafler of Ft. Collins, Colo.; one daughter, Melanie (Richard) Lafler Anderson of Larkspur, Colo.; two sisters, Doris (Rex) Monahan of Sterling, Colo., and Marilyn Andresen of Tuscon, Ariz.; one brother, Robert (Eleanor) Lafler of Sidney; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

, 82, of Grand Island died Dec. 30, 2006, at St. Francis Medical Center.

He was born June 24, 1924, at Merna to Joe and Dorothy (Karnes) Wanitschke.

He grew up and received his grade school education in the Merna and Broken Bow areas. He attended Broken Bow and Sargent High School and later received his GED at Central Community College in Grand Island on May 15, 1985.

He was united in marriage to Irma Curlile on July 3, 1948, in Kearney.

They lived around Broken Bow, where he was employed by Tom and Art Haumont. He also engaged in sharecrop farming at Loup City and Broken Bow.

They moved in 1955 to Denver, where he was employed with Gates Rubber Company. He first worked in the tire division, vulco rope curing and later as a pressman in the belt division. He retired in 1980.

He was part of the Gates Bowling Team and loved to go bowling with his buddies. They were honored with several trophies for their achievements.

He was granted disability retirement after 25 years of employment with Gates.

They then moved to Grand Island, where he found part-time employment for two years with the Burlington Railroad, driving a van transporting the railroad men from destination to destination. He then obtained employment with the Doniphan Cemetery as the cemetery caretaker for 13 years, during which he took much pride in keeping the grounds in tiptop shape.

Most of all, he loved farming and found much enjoyment in helping different farmers during their peak seasons. The farmers included Kenny Hollister and the late Joe Allen III. He also worked several years for Margaret Landis on her horse ranch until health no longer permitted it. He loved to watch the animals and be part of their care.

He was a dearly loved husband, father and grandfather. He was always a kind and caring man with a willingness to help wherever there was a need.

While living in Denver, he attended Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colo. He put his eternal hope in Jesus Christ and was baptized Nov. 30, 1978. At the time of his death, he was a member of Abundant Life Christian Center in Grand Island.

Survivors include his wife, Irma Wanitschke; two daughters, Peggy (Leon) Johnston of Derby, Kan., and Connie (Larry) Maldegen of Santa Fe, N.M.; five grandchildren, Shawn (Marsha) Cody of Alamosa, Colo., Alisha Cody of Denver, Deyna (Justin) Johnston of Derby, Kan., Jeremy Johnston of Reno, Nev., and Jason (Jessica) Johnston of St. Joseph, Mo.; two stepgranddaughters, Allysa (Mike) Hagmann of Tacoma, Wash., and Erin Maldegen of Durango, Colo.; four great-grandchildren, Joshua, Shannon and Meghan Cody and Hayden Smith; one stepgreat-grandson, Caden Hagmann; as well as a host of friends and other relatives.


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