Plains Edition Obituaries
E. Louise Fiene, 70, of Grand Island, died Jan. 16, 2008, at Riverside Lodge.
She was born July 6, 1937, at Ansley, the daughter of Kenneth and Maxine (Scott) Slingsby. She was raised on the family farm east of Westerville, which was homesteaded by her great-grandparents who originally came over from England in 1878.
She graduated from Westerville Rural High School in 1954. After attending Kearney College she taught in several rural country schools.
After her marriage to Lewis Stevenson in 1957, they resided in Westerville, Sargent and Lexington.
Besides a career in teaching, she was a homemaker while her children were young. She was employed by U.S. WEST for 18 years in Lexington, North Platte and Grand Island, retiring in Grand Island in 1990 as a supervisor of a dispatch and test center for outstate Nebraska.
In 1980, she was united in marriage to Donald W. Fiene in Lexington. He died in 1994 at Grand Island.
She was active in her church, the Evangelical Free, teaching children’s Sunday school classes for more than 20 years. She was a volunteer for the Republican Party and many candidates over the years. She was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America.
She enjoyed the outdoors and working in her yard, refinishing old furniture – making something old into a useful piece of beauty again. Her love of children filled her days with a fulfilling joy of God’s precious gift of creation. Her most rewarding role was that of a grandmother. Her many grandchildren were her pride and joy.
Survivors include three sons, C.L. Stevenson and his friend Chris Seberger of Grand Island, Dan Stevenson of Hastings and Doug (Sandy) Stevenson of Grand Island; a daughter, Kay (Tim) Hansen of Seward; four step-sons, Deon (Sindy) Fiene of Elwood, Kevin (Mary) Fiene of Elwood, Kelsey (Sherry) Fiene of Gothenburg and Tyler (Tracy) Fiene of Plattsmouth; four brothers and sisters-in-law, Larry (Karen) Slingsby of Ansley, Richard (Caroldean) Slingsby of Broken Bow, Don (Connie) Slingsby of Broken Bow, and Ron Slingsby of Arcadia; three sisters and brothers-in-law, Lenore (Max) Bristol of Kearney, Ellen Smith of Grand Island and Barb Guy of Kearney; special friend and caregiver, Dorothy Rief of Grand Island; 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; her parents; a grandson, Bo Michael Stevenson; a step-granddaughter, Jackie Fiene and a daughter-in-law, Jeanette Stevenson.
Larry Bixby, 79, of Ellsworth, died Jan. 19, 2008, at Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance.
He was born Oct. 21, 1928, in Alliance to Lawrence Y. and Eleanor M. (Riordan) Bixby.
On Oct. 28, 1947, he was united in marriage to Margaret R. Merrihew in Alliance.
He was a lifetime Ellsworth area rancher on the family ranch northeast of Ellsworth. He was a member of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, R-Calf, Odd Fellows, Elks and lifelong bowler and fisherman. For many years he enjoyed piloting his own plane in the operation of the ranch.
He was a 1947 graduate of UNSA at Curtis and always liked to hear from his classmates and friends from school.
Survivors include his wife Margaret; son, Lance (Angel) Bixby of Ellsworth; daughters, Teri (Ted) Junge of O’Neill, Joni (Rick) Blanchette of Bull Head City, Ariz, Mari (Marshall) Garner of Hyannis and Marni (Steve) Harris of Pittsburg, Kan; 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, O’Ryan Bixby and his brother, Jim Bixby.
Mary Elizabeth Widtfeldt, 97, longtime Ogallala resident, died Jan. 31, 2008, in Highland Park Care Center in Alliance.
She was born March 27, 1910, in O’Neill, to Lewis and Rena (Reece) Knapp. She attended rural school District #37 and graduated from O’Neill High School in 1927.
In 1928 she lost both her parents and consequently she stayed home to help care for her siblings. In 1929 she started teaching in the rural schools around O’Neill.
In 1933 she married Helmer J. Widtfeldt at Ainsworth, Neb., and they made their home sixteen miles northeast of O’Neill. This was a ranch which was homesteaded by Helmer Widtfeldt, Sr. In 1939 the family moved and spent the next several years in the Sandhills of Nebraska where she taught country school and he worked on various ranches.
In 1950 the family moved to Rushville where she taught elementary education. In 1967 they moved to the Chappell area where she taught fifth grade and high school art. In 1976 they moved to a farm north of Julesburg, Colo., and in 1987 moved to Ogallala. Helmer J. Widtfeldt died on July 7, 1989.
Survivors include five daughters: Mary Virginia (William) Kane of Atwood, Kan.; Elizabeth Tamburro of Allen Park, Mich.; Kathy (Stanley) Snyder of Portland, Ore.; Judy (Ron) LeValley of Brewster, Kan.; Susan (Randy) Monday of Hemingford; and a son, Helmer (Alta) Widtfeldt of Ogallala; two sisters: Ruby Morton of Bassett, and Rita Morton of Griswold, Iowa; 28 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great granddaughter.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two sons, David and Max; two brothers, Roy and Leonard; seven sisters, Emma Pierson, Helen Hazard, Ette Bell Dugger, Cora Knapp, Anita Morton, Agnes Pierson, and Lola Hungerford; and a son-in-law, Larry Tamburro.
Gertrude Hannah Linda Johnson, 94, of Franklin, formerly of Upland, died Jan. 30, 2008, at Franklin County Hospital.
She was born Dec. 5, 1913, in Kearney County south of Wilcox to Henry and Sophia (Heidemann) Schielke.
She was baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wilcox on Dec. 28, 1913, and confirmed on May 15, 1927.
As a teenager, she worked part time in her dad’s creamery and grocery store, wrote news for the Wilcox paper, did a lot of baby-sitting and cleaned homes in the area.
She taught Sunday school for many years. She graduated from Wilcox High School in 1932. After graduation, she moved to Lincoln and worked as a nanny.
On Nov. 21, 1935, she married George Dirks in Wilcox. He died in 1943.
She and her first husband were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wilcox. After his death, she worked at the grocery store and the bank in Wilcox.
On March 23, 1949, she married Dick Johnson. He died in 2002.
She and her second husband lived and farmed near Upland. She was an active and energetic partner and helpmate on the farm. After he died in 2002, she moved to Franklin.
In her younger years, she did sewing, decorated cakes and would room and board teachers. She helped her church with quilt projects.
As the years passed, she stayed active in her church, tying as many as 100 quilts per year after she moved to Franklin.
Survivors include her sons, Lewis (Shirley) Dirks of Sioux Falls, S.D., Dennis Johnson and Amanda of Upland and Mark Johnson of Franklin; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-granddaughters.
In addition to her husbands, she was preceded in death by her sons, Gene Johnson and Larry Dirks; and five sisters.