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Chadron Record: Obituaries 2004

A. Marie Fowler

May 28, 1917 - Dec. 19, 2004

Funeral services for A. Marie Fowler will be conducted from the First Baptist Church in Holdrege today, (Dec. 22) at 11:00 a.m. with Reverend Dr. Gary Winget, officiating. Interment will be in the Prairie Home Cemetery at Holdrege.

Alice Marie (Johnston) Fowler, 87 years of age, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004 at the Christian Homes in Holdrege. She was born May 28, 1917 in Byars, Okla., the eldest of two daughters of Clarence Francis and Anna Leah (Edgmon) Johnston. Marie was a registered Chickasaw Indian, establishing her blood line through her father, C.F. Johnston an original enrollee in the Oklahoma Territory in 1904. Marie's father was a salesman for E.B. Price and The Jewel Tea Company who went into new territories and opened up new sales routes. Once the routes were established, his company would move C.F. to another area. He always took his family with him. This meant may school changes for Alice Marie and her sister, Lois. Marie attended three junior High Schools and five High Schools. The family moved to Oklahoma City, where Marie graduated from Central High School with the class of 1935.

She often spoke of the many moves she made as a young person but she always found support in the church. Marie and her mother were both baptized in February of 1932 in the First Baptist Church of Wichita, Kan., by Reverend Dr. McClung.

During these travels, Marie studied music, taking piano lessons for seven years and playing the cornet in an all girls band in Oklahoma CIty. She also developed a love of art during this time. She has a sketch book that she filled with pencil drawings of her friends and attached a photograph of each on the page with the sketch.

Marie met J. Clyde Fowler in the youth group at the First Baptist Church in Ponca City, Okla. She was shy but caught his eye. He preached his first sermon on his seventeenth birthday and had decided that he was called into the ministry. Marie agreed to be his wife soon after they graduated from high school and they were united in marriage on April 21, 1937 at Enid, Okla., and to this union God gave three children: Joyce, J.C. "Bill" and Edward R.

Through the years of Clyde's pasturing, Marie served as church secretary, church pianist or organist, taught Sunday School classes, taught Vacation Bible School, participated in the women's work, sang alto in the choir and often sang duets with Clyde. They often went to the American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, Wisc., usually attending the Mission Conference which they both had a great passion.

Marie always had a love of art and handcrafts. She taught handcrafts to many youngsters in Vacation Bible Schools and Church Camps in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. She took art courses at four different Community Colleges in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming after she took up oil painting in the 1960's. She developed an oil based technique to paint on smooth rocks and those painted rocks were shipped as far as Germany to fill requests. Many requests were made for painting of family homesteads or another favorite request was the "Wyoming Bucking Bronco" scene that was used as favors at banquets. Marie estimated that she had painted over 1500 rocks and 200 oil paintings.

Marie was an avid seamstress and loved to crochet. She made countless afghans for friends and family over the years. In later years, Marie had Parkinson's which hindered her participation in many Church activities but her heart was always there. She read her Bible every day, completely reading through the bible eight years in a row before her eye site began to slow her down. She missed being able to go to the Nursing homes to visit friends. She played the piano at the Methodist Homes for group singing for about two years before Parkinsons took away the feeling in her fingers.

She leaves to mourn her passing one daughter: Joyce Barnes and husband Howard of Odenton, Maryland; one son: Edward R. Fowler and wife Jan of Holdrege; one daughter-in-law: Gayleen NEstor and husband Wayne of Stromsburg; nine grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; one son: J.C. "Bill" and one sister, Lois Danely and husband Quentin.

A memorial has been established in her memory.

The Nelson Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege in in charge of the arrangements.

Helen Colleen Grantham

Mar. 23, 1925 - Dec. 23, 2004

Helen Colleen (Higgins) Grantham died December 23 at Crest View Care Center in Chadron. She was 79 years old and had lived a Crest View Center for the past three years as she suffered the effects of Alzheimer's Disease.

Funeral services were Dec. 28 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery in Chadron.

A memorial has been established for St. Patrick's Catholic Church and First Congregational United Church of Christ Parish Health Ministries. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, Neb. 69337.

Colleen was born in Missouri Valley, Iowa on March 23, 1925, the eleventh of twelve children of Charles F. and Jeannette A. (Tamisiea) Higgins.

Her father was a Chicago and Northwestern railroad employee and moved the family to Chadron when she was a young girl. She graduated from Assumption Academy in 1943. She worked at various jobs in Chadron including the movie theatre and the First National Bank.

She was united in holy matrimony to Donald Wilbur Grantham on April 8, 1947, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chadron. In the early years of her marriage she lived in Chadron before moving to Seattle, Wash., for two years, returning to Chadron in 1954 and buying her home on Chapin St., where she lived in almost 50 years. She and her husband were involved in several businesses in Chadron, including Scott's Produce, Don's Produce, Don & Bill's Meat Center, Donald's Liquor and Donald's Drive-in.

Colleen was actively involved in the Catholic Church and the Assumption Academy School which several of her children attended until it closed in 1971. She was a member of the Catholic Ladies Society, the B.P.O.E.Does, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the VFW Auxiliary. In later years she was a Eucharistic minister in her church where she had a special calling to minister to the ill, the lonely, and the elderly.

Colleen was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her home was always a welcome place for her many friends and large extended family. Colleen also cared for her own parents, who lived in a trailer home in her back yard, until their deaths in 1960 and 1961.

Survivors include: her children, Pamela Jeanne Staal and husband Dennis of Chadron; Julie Anne Bohnenkamp and husband Russ of Chadron; Donald Carl Grantham of Chadron, John Scott Charles Grantham of Chadron, and Sandra Alice Plooster and husband Curt of Chadron; two sisters-in-law, Mariam Higgins of Westminster, Colo., and Le Deyne Higgins of Seattle, Wash., six grand-children, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Seh was preceeded in death by her husband, Don;, her brothers, Edward Harold, Charles, Phillip, Donald Francis, Joseph Malcom, Paul Francis, and John Allen, and her sisters Elizabeth Marcella (Herman), Mary Marjorie (Richardson), Gladys, Margaret "Peggy" Ann (Russell), and Phyllis Ann (Davis).

Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of the arrangements.

Gordon Johnson

Feb. 8, 1942 - Dec. 26, 2004

Funeral services for Gordon Johnson of Whitney will be held Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Crawford Community Building, with Pastor Don Pelto officiating. Burial will be at Crawford City Cemetery.

Mr. Johnson died Dec. 26 at Chadron Community Hospital. He was 62. A memorial has been established for Christ Community Church of Crawford. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, Neb. 69337.

Mr. Johnson was born Feb. 8, 1942 in Alliance.

He was active with Pro Senior Rodeo, and a member of Christ Community Church and the Eagle's Club.

Survivors include: his wife Sara Johnson of Whitney; sons Codey and wife Brenda of Crawford, Burl Johnson of Whitney, Gerald Johnson of Ft. Irwin, Calif.; daughter Vickie Johnson of Crawford; brothers Tom Johnson of Alliance, and Blake Johnson of Alliance.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain Chapel of Crawford.

David John Maher

David John Maher, age 53, of Hot Springs, S.D. died suddenly Christmas morning December 25 while on a routine Burlington Northern Railroad run from Gillette, Wyo. to Edgemont, S.D. 

A Rosary and Prayer Service will be held at 7 pm, Dec. 29 at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Hot Springs. Celebration of life will be held Dec. 30 at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Hot Springs. Burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery.

David was the eldest son of John and Pauline (Gossman) Maher of Mitchell, S.D. He grew up in Mitchell and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1969. David volunteered for the Navy and served from 1970 to 1974 with a helicopter unit in Vietnam.

He married Jeanne Mayer in 1972. To this union three sons were born. Upon discharge from the Navy, they resided in Edgemont, where David resumed his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad.

In 1993 he married Adela Cisneros and made their home in Hot Springs.  At the time of his death, David was a train conductor for the Burlington Northern Railroad.  His career with the railroad spanned nearly 35 years.

David was an avid sportsman with a great love and respect for nature. Next to his wife and his family, hunting and fishing were his passions in life. 

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife Adela of Hot Springs; his three sons: Rob Maher and wife Diane of St. Louis Park, Minn., Ryan Maher of Bemidji, Minn. and Aaron Maher attending the University of Minnesota-Moorhead; stepdaughters: Carly Anderson and husband Charles and children of Newport News, Va., and Amy Cisneros of Hot Springs; his sisters: Patty Horgan and husband Ed of Carson City, Nev., and Joan Henderson and husband Doug of Beresford, S.D.; his brother Robert (Bob) Maher and his wife Denise of Belvidere, Ill.; six nephews, many aunts, uncles, and cousins and close friends.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of McColley's Chapels of the Hills in Hot Springs.

Bishop Lawrence J. McNamara

Aug. 5, 1926 - Dec. 17, 2004

Bishop lawrence J. McNamara, 76, retired bishop of the Diocese of Grand island, died Dec. 17; just four days after participating in the ordination of his successor, Bishop William Dendinger.

The Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Mary's Cathedral with Bishop William J. Dendinger presiding and Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz and the priests of the Diocese of Grand island concelebrating. Interment at Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Curran Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Bishop Lawrence J. McNamara was born in Chicago on August 5, 1928, to Lawrence I. and Margaret McNamara. he was a graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota, and the Catholic University of America where he earned the S.T.L. degree in 1953.

Ordained for the Diocese of Kansas City, Mo., (now Kansas City-St. Joseph) in 1953, he held numerous church and civic posts.

Bishop McNamara served as associate spiritual director for the society of St. Vincent de Paul, Particular Council of kansas City, Mo., from 1957 through 1970.

A paster since 1964, Bishop McNamara requested an assignment in 1970 to a predominantly African-American parish in the inner-city area of Kansas City, Mo.

Bishop McNamara was also chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Charities Commission on Housing from 1969 to 1972.

Bishop McNamara directed the Campaign for Human Development from 1973 through 1978. During that period of time the Catholic people of the United States contributed almost 40 million in the annual appeal. Bishop McNamara was named by Pope Paul VI as bishop of Grand Island in January 1978.

He served as president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference from 1980 to 1983.

Bishop McNamara celebrated his three milestones on Sept. 16, 2003, 25 years of serving the Grand island diocese as bishop, 50 years as an ordained priest and 75 years baptized in Christ.

He is survived by a brother William Dendinger of Chicago, Ill., niece, kathleen McNamara of Hanover Park, ill., and friend in ministry, Sister Carolyn Hupperts of Saint Louis, Mo.

Memorials are to the charity of the donor's choice.

To send online condolences, visit and sign the guest book under obituaries.

Rita Helen Peters

Jan. 01, 1944 - Dec. 24, 2004

Rita Helen Peters of Glenwood, Iowa, passed away on December 24 at her home.

Rosary services will be held at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Hay Springs on December 30 at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 31, also at St. Columbkille Catholic Church with Father Tim Stoner officiating. A memorial service will be held on Jan. 3, at St. Stanislaus Church in Omaha.

A memorial has been established for St. Stanislaus School or the donor's choice. Memorials can be sent to St. Stanislaus School, 4501 S. 41st Street, Omaha, Neb. 68107 or to Chamberlain-Drabbels Mortuary, PO Box 443, Hay Springs, Neb. 69347.

Rita Peters was born on January 1, 1944 in Hay Springs, the fifth of six children born of Francis A. Peters and Helen P. (Vanderloop) Peters.

She graduated from Hay Springs High School in 1962. After one year of education at Chadron State College, she began a lifelong career of teaching. Rita's teaching career spanned over forty years and included teaching in a one-room school near Harrison and in the Omaha Public Schools. She retired from public education in 1999 but continued teaching in the Omaha Catholic Schools. At the time of her death, Rita was teaching eighth grade at St. Stanislaus Catholic School in Omaha.

In 1982, Rita, along with her sister Lois Rupe, received the Cooper Award.for excellence in education from the Cooper Foundation of the State of Nebraska. This prestigious award was for their innovative teaching of economics in the elementary classroom.

Away from her professional career, Rita enjoyed reading, arts and crafts, traveling, cooking, and her family, especially her many nieces and nephews. Her most recent hobby was communicating with her family and friends on the internet from her home computer.

Survivors include: her sisters Patricia L. (William) McCarter of Hay Springs; Mary E Peters of Chicago, Ill., Lois J. (Michael) Rupe of Glenwood Iowa.; brothers Ronald F. (Connie) Peters of Hay Springs; and many nieces and nephews; her aunts Leona Pisacka and Edna Tulloss, both of Hay Springs, and Delores Kappell of Kaukauna, Wis.

Preceding her in death were: her father Francis A. Peters; mother: Helen P. (Vanderloop) Peters, and one sister, Carol F. Russell.

Chamberlain-Drabbels Mortuary of Hay Springs is in charge of the arrangements.

Raymond "Bud" Durward Ringer

April 2, 1917 - Dec. 16, 2004

Funeral services for Raymond "Bud" Ringer of Crawford were Monday, Dec. 20 at Chamberlain Chapel of Crawford with Pastor Mike Stotts officiating. Burial will be at Crawford Cemetery.

Mr. Ringer died December 16, 2004 at Chadron Community Hospital. He was 87. A memorial has been established. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.

They lived in Glenwood until Bud was five years old. The family then moved to Hemingford. Bud helped his father farm and graduated from Belmont school system in 1932. After graduation, he was active in the CCC program and then worked for the Burlington Route Railwood for a short time. He left the railwood to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 1942. Bud was stationed on Seattle Wash., and assigned to the medical corp where he trained pilots for airplane cabin pressures. After he was discharged from the U.S. Navy, he returned to Nebraska to work for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Bud married Maria G. (Steel) Ringer on November 1, 1939 in Mullen. The couple were married for 65 years. To this union one son Michael R. Ringer was born. The family lived in Marsland until Bud transferred to Edgemont, S.D. Bud was a railroad track supervisor on Edgemont for fifteen years. In 1972 Bud transferred to Crawford where he worked until he retired from the railroad in 1977. Bud lived in Crawford for thirty four years.

Bud loved his yard and all the work that went with it. For many years his sport of choice golf on which he won several trophies. He belonged to a softball league in Crawford in his earlier years. On weekends during football season you could find him sitting in his recliner watching his favorite team "The Huskers". He would sit down and play a game of cards usually walking away a winner. Pitching a game of horse shoes with family and/or friends he enjoyed. As a young man of fifteen he rode his horse "Smokey" from Belmont to Keekine, Wy., to visit his brother. Bud was an out doors kind of guy.

His survivors include is wife: Marie Ringer of Crawford; son: Mike and wife Marilyn Ringer of Sturgis, S.D.; and grandchild: Sheila and husband Barry Blair of Ekalaka Mont.

Mr. Ringer was born April 2, 1917 in Glenwood, Iowa to Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Marcellus and Nora Ringer.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain Chapel of Crawford.

Virgil Wood

June 16, 1920 - Dec. 17, 2004

Funeral services for Virgil Wood of Chadron were held December 21, at Chamberlain Chapel with Pastor Rick Wheatley officiating. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery. Military services were provided by the Veterans Honor Guard.

Virgil passed away December 17 at Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City, S.D., after a hip fracture.

A memorial has been established for First Baptist Church, Kenwood Chapel and Chadron Senior Center. Donations may be sent to Bank of the West, P.O. Box 1001, Chadron, Neb. 69337.

Virgil Wood was born June 16, 1920 in Hay Springs to Reuben Bayard and Opal (Gibbs) Wood. His early years of schooling were in Hay Springs and then the family moved to Chadron in 1935. Virgil entered the U.S. Navy Reserve on June 6, 1943 as a Carpenters Mate Second Class. He served two years and seven months and was discharged on January 2, 1946.

Virgil was united in marriage to Kathryn M. Burk on September 28, 1940. To this union four sons were born: Danny, Charles, Robert and Frank.

Virgil had been a member of the First Baptist Church since 1954 and served on the Board of Trustees several years; was a life member of the Elks Lodge #1399 and the V.F.W. of Chadron; a member of the American Legion, Nebraska Sheriff Association, Ridgeview Golf Course and Chadron Hospital Board.

Virgil built and helped build many homes and businesses in Chadron and surrounding communities. He was always ready to have a good cup of coffee and talk of great times!

He is survived by: his sons, Danny of Chadron, Charles and wife Peggy of Chadron, Robert of Fremont, and Frank of Chadron; grandchildren Master Sgt. Matthew Wood and wife Denise of Rapid City, S.D., Chris Wood of San Diego, Calif., Captain Kevin Wood and wife Dana of Jacksonville Ark., Lori Wood of Lincoln, Christina Mallard of Fremont, Brice Wood of North Platte; five great grandchildren; a brother, Edgar (Pete) Wood and wife Cookie of Page, Ariz., a sister, Vivian Boyd of Chadron; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Kathryn, and three brothers, Clifford, LaVern and Eugene.

Military Services provided by the Veterans Honor Guard.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron.

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