Plains Edition Obituaries
Alfred A. Smedra, 85, of Loup City died Nov. 11, 2007, at Rose Lane Nursing Home in Loup City.
He was born Aug. 9, 1922, in Rockville to Joseph and Helen (Gorecki) Smedra.
On Nov. 20, 1947, he married Leona Mendyk in Loup City at St. Josaphat’s Catholic Church.
He joined a growing family of brothers, Zig, Ignatz, John, Conrad, Alex and Stanley and a sister, Esther. He grew up in the Boelus/Rockville area and attended country school to the eighth grade. While five brothers served in World War II, he served in the C.C. Camps at Broken Bow.
He was a lifelong farmer and livestock producer. Upon retirement in 1984, the couple moved into Loup City where he enjoyed golf and family. He also enjoyed playing cards, crossword puzzles and football games.
He was a member of St. Josaphat’s Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus.
Survivors include his wife, Leona; sons, Ken (Laura) of Loup City and Mark (Tammy) of Kearney; daughters, Marge (Jim) Shade of Omaha, Paulette (Dave) Janulewicz of Grand Island, Kristi (Mark) Ulferts of Fullerton and Cindy (Paul) Soto of Wood River; brothers, Conrad of Loup City and Stanley of North Platte; 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mary at birth and Esther Kusek; and brothers, Zigmund, Ignatz, John, Ray and Alex.
Marcus “Mark” Manuel Gertner, 82, of Sterling, Colo., died on Oct. 29, 2007, at his home.
He was born May 23, 1925, at a farm home near Padroni to John and Anna (Ertle) Gertner. They were of German-Russian decent. He had six brothers and 6 sisters.
After graduating from Padroni High School, he worked for a neighboring farmer where he learned a great deal about handling horses. He then enlisted to serve in World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines where he worked as the company clerk for several years.
In the fall of 1945, he and his brother Ben both got jobs of linemen. They had received their training from the army. They worked on the same crew for the Tennessee Utilities Construction Company. The company set up new substations and also brought electricity to areas where there was none at all. They climbed poles in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota.
In 1950, he married Florence Lambrecht. He quit his job as a lineman, knowing he never wanted to travel as a married man with a family. They rented a small farm near Cedar Creek. Six years later, his parents retired and Mark took the opportunity to move back to his boyhood farm. In the early years, he farmed with both horses and tractors, eventually phasing out the workhorses.
He always watched the weather and tried to get his beets planted as early as possible. He received honors as a High Ten Grower for The Great Western Sugar Factory in 1959 and 1962. He also was a top producer for the Jessica Beet Dump another year. The family could often be found out in the fields working together.
In 1982, he and his wife retired from farming and moved into Sterling. He worked at various jobs, including Re-1 Valley School District, The Great Western Sugar Factory and Sterling Country Club, but he remained a farmer at heart.
In his younger years, he was very athletic. He liked playing all kinds of sports, especially baseball and basketball. In his later years, his hobbies could find him caring for his small garden, playing with grandchildren, winning at a game of cards or leisurely walking around Sterling.
Survivors include his wife, Florence; seven daughters, Delores (Bob) Stumpf of Sterling, Susan (Ben) Davis of Inman, Kan., Patricia (Charles) Bartlett of Merino, Judy (Jim) Vandagriff of Sterling, Mary (Mike) Michael of Julesburg, Jacqueline (Dan) Jackson of Peachtree City, Geo., and Joann (Blaine) Horn of Buffalo, Wyo.; three sons, Thomas (Rose) Gertner of Holyoke, Luke of Sterling and Daniel (Carol) Gertner of Great Neck, N.Y.; and 20 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Anna Mary Bretz and brothers, John and David.
Evelyn Virginia Douty, 87, of North Platte, died Nov. 18, 2007, at Centennial Park Retirement Village.
She was born April 9, 1920, at Sutherland to Dewey and Mary (Wisemiller) Johnston. Evelyn graduated from Sutherland High School in 1939 as valedictorian. She received a scholarship at Grand Island Business College then worked as a bookkeeper for Alexander Furniture Company in Grand Island.
On Jan. 18, 1942, she was united in marriage to Willard Mellroy Douty at the Presbyterian Church in Sutherland. The couple lived in Grand Island, Hastings and Palmer before moving to Paxton in 1946. The next year they moved to North Platte where she worked as a bookkeeper and then as City Clerk. Later they moved to Omaha where she was employed by Olsen Drapery Service as a seamstress and was commissioned to make the drapes for the White House. In 1972, they moved to LaMonte, Mo., where they were house-parents at the Show-Me Christian Youth Home.
Willard passed away on Aug. 28, 1975. She stayed at the Youth Home until a replacement was found, and in 1977, moved back to North Platte to live with her children, Wilma and Mike. She was a charter member of the Valley Christian Church, an avid musician, being an organist at the church.
Survivors include her children, Nancy (Don) Titus, Wilma Douty, and Mike Douty all of North Platte, Bob (Rojean) Douty of Irving, Texas, Dennis (Carol) Douty of Seward, Larry (Janice) Douty of Belton, Mo.; three sisters, Miriam Crosby of Anaheim, Calif., and Ruth Crosby of Tucson, Ariz., and Mary Louise Warner of North Platte; two brothers, Warren (Phyllis) Johnston of Riverside, Calif., and Byron (Jan) Johnston of Omaha; sisters-in-law, Joan Johnston of North Platte and Betty Johnston of Omaha; 17 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and foster children.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and three brothers, Marvin, Arthur and Duane Johnston.
Richard E. Schmitt, 65, of Chadron died Nov. 13, 2007, in Chadron.
He was born Aug. 16, 1942, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Emil and Freida Schmitt.
He entered the Army in 1964 and was discharged in 1966, serving in the Army Military Police Attachment. During his time in the service he was a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Olympic shooting team and was an instructor at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He traveled all over the world competing and won many medals.
He worked for New York Telephone in New York City and transferred to US West in Colorado, spending most of his working career in Colorado and retired at the age of 50 after 31 years of service.
He married Gayleen Gustafson on June 6, 1998, in the Colorado Mountains and they moved to Chadron in 1999. He was a member of the NRA and the Northwest Trap Club. Gayleen and Richard shared a love of the outdoors and riding their horses.
Survivors include his wife, Gayleen of Chadron; one brother, Karl of Pittsford, New York and his son, Richard; two nieces, Susan Therrien of Massapequa, New York and Linda Blaszkiewicz of Bayshore, New York; and a brother-in-law, Rand (Cindy) Gustafson of Hays, Kan.