Plains Edition Obituaries |

Plains Edition Obituaries

, 99, of Mullen, Neb., died Feb. 9, 2008, at the Pioneer Memorial Rest Home.

She was born on Jan. 30, 1909, at a farm northwest of Aurora, Neb., in Hamilton County to Stephen and Sarah Herbig Willis. At the age of 10, she moved to a ranch in Cherry County, 8 miles northwest of Mullen with her parents and family. She started her education at Aurora and finished the 8th grade at a country school in Cherry County. She wanted to go on to high school, but money was scarce and her parents needed her help on the ranch.

She helped on the ranch until she married William Harvey Cotant on Feb. 26, 1930, at Valentine. To this union nine children were born, one son died in infancy, Harvey Raymond. The couple lived in Cherry County at different ranches until they moved into Mullen.

In 1947, they bought a piece of ground in southwest Mullen on the north side of the railroad track. They moved to a small three-room house into town to live in so the children could attend school. They lived in this house until July of 1949 when they built a new house to the north. They lived in the basement until the upper level was finished in 1952. After Harvey passed away in May of 1974, she continued to live in the home.

In the fall of 1998 she moved to an assisted living unit in Broken Bow and later to one in North Platte. When her health began to fail and she required more care, she moved to the Pioneer Memorial Rest Home where she resided until her death.

While raising her family, she did house cleaning, baby-sat for numerous children, provided child care on Sunday mornings at the Methodist Church, laundry and housekeeping at the Commercial Hotel and took laundry in at her home.

Some of her hobbies were gardening, flowers, especially African Violets, quilting, scrapbooking, crocheting bread wrappers and doilies, embroidery and family history. She was honored in 1944 by the Hooker County Fair for having exhibits at the fair for 34 years, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

She is survived by four sons, Willis (Linda) Cotant of Missoula, Mont., Garry (Sharyl) Cotant of Livingston, Mont., Douglas Cotant of Kearney and Dennis (Mick) Cotant of Imperial; two daughters, Vonnie Barr of Wolbach and Mary Jane (Don) Younkin of Mullen; son-in-law, Vernon (Marian) Shears of Mullen; daughter-in-law, Delores (Wayne) Farrar of Hemingford; 20 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren; one sister, Vera Stairs of Glenvil and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harvey; one son in infancy; one son, Harold; one daughter, Shirley Shears; son-in-law, Dale Barr; grandson, McKenley Farrell; and two brothers, Ralph and Raymond Willis.

, 85, of Archer, Neb., died Jan. 24, 2008, at Litzenberg Long Term care in Central City.

He was born June 15, 1922, on a farm near Charitan, (Wayne county) Iowa, to Paul M. and Llewella (Ehrsam) Niday. The family moved to Rock County, Neb., when he was five years old. His mother married Lucas Djernes in 1933. He moved to Marquette, Neb., where Lucas became his father by love and law through adoption. He attended Rural District School #89 and graduated from Marquette High School in 1941.

He was united in marriage to Marilyn J. Retzlaff on June 4, 1944, at her parent’s home near Palmer. They made their first home on a farm west of Marquette for 21 years. The couple had two daughters, Lynette and Carolyn. In Dec. of 1965, they moved to their present home near Archer, Neb.

He was a lifelong farmer and good steward of the land. He could build or fix just about anything. He raised hybrid seed corn, and had exotic birds. He loved animals, especially his white German Shepherd, Niki. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He was a member of the Archer Zion United Methodist Church and served on the Finance Committee, and was secretary of the Archer Evangelical Cemetery Board for 40 years. He was a member of the Central City Sportsman’s Club. He was proud of his 25 straights and trophies he won shooting blue rock. He belonged to Archer and Palmer Senior citizens. He was a member of the Loyal Workers Sunday School Class and Tri-F Card Club.

After retirement, they traveled and enjoyed many interesting places and made a wide circle of friends. He also gardened and liked to share with others.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn of Archer; two daughters, Lynette (Dr. J.M.) Goldberger of Saginaw, Mich., and Carolyn (Michael) Toughill of Eagle, Colo.; one grandson, Dory (Dr. Virginia) Goldberger of Silver Springs, MD.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister and brother-in-law, Melvarae and Tom Briseno and a half brother, Emmert Niday.

, 83, of McCook died Feb. 10, 2008, at McCook Community Hospital in McCook, Neb.

He was born July 20, 1924, the son of the late Fredrick William Emil and Pauline Dorotha (Hedke) Steinke.

He grew up on the farm where he was born and graduated from rural school. On Jan. 11, 1945, he entered the U.S. army where he was a Supply Sergeant and Medic in the Philippine Islands during WW II.

Following his honorable discharge on Nov. 26, 1946, he returned to Trenton, where he married Polly Marie Thomas on Oct. 9, 1947.

He worked for John Deere before moving to a farm north of Trenton, where they lived and dryland farmed for 16 years. They moved to an irrigated farm southwest of Trenton where they resided for the next 44 years.

He was a multi-talented man who farmed wheat, corn, milo and raised hundreds of pigs. He was a master mechanic and woodworker who made clocks, baby cradles, picnic tables, jewelry boxes. He enjoyed repairing farm machinery and as a gunsmith he made a miniature cannon and helped build a civil war cannon. He repaired all kinds of guns and started the first black powder shoots at his farm at Trenton with help from people who were interested. They shot targets and dynamite for 30 years. He was a life member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Assoc. and N.R.A. He made several muzzle loading rifles with parts he handmade and the barrels were made and rifled on a machine he made. He used hacksaw, file and drill along with a small lathe. He called his file a pocket milling machine. When retiring he loved his garden and made hundreds of push hoes.

He was a member of the Trenton American Legion Post 337 where he served on the firing squad for many Military Funeral Honor Guards and kept the rifles in good repair as well as reloading ammunition. He served two terms on the Trenton School Board and served on the Service Unit Board.

Survivors include his wife, Polly of Trenton; one son, John Steinke of McCook; two sisters, Arlene Lawson of Caphlament, Wash., and Twyla Thomas of Denver, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Esther Steinke of McCook, Rachel Steinke of Manning, Iowa, and Mardelle Brown of Littleton, Colo.; brother-in-law, La Verne (Heather) Thomas of Golden, Colo.; and special family, Doug and Bonnie Nitzkorski of Littleton, Colo., Brad and Natalie Stokes and children, Kaylie, Jacine and Mason of Highland Ranch, Colo.; Gunnar and Heather Nitzkorski and daughter, Breanna of Littleton, Colo., Bill and Kathy Dozen of McCook and daughters, Tracey and Teresa both of Lincoln, numerous nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors.

He was preceded in death by an infant son, Lloyd Warren Steinke in 1948; his parents; five brothers, Delbert, Lee, Walter, Harry and Glenn Steinke; brother-in-law, Jack Lawson and sisters in law, Ruth Steinke, Chloie Steinke and Lucile Steinke; and in-laws, Webster and Marjorie Thomas.


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