Claude Berreckman, 80 - September 28, 2013Claude E. Berreckman, 80, of Cozad passed away Saturday Sept. 28, 2013, at Cozad.
Services will be conducted on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cozad United Methodist Church with the Rev. Doug Smith officiating. Burial with military honors will take place at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell.
Berreckman was born March 9, 1933, at Gothenburg to Claude and Mildred (Freas) Berreckman. He graduated from North Platte High School in 1951.
Following high school, he attended the University of Nebraska for two years before beginning his service with the U.S. Marine Corps. He served during the Korean War for two years, and following his discharge from the armed forces, he returned to the university and earned his bachelor of arts degree.
While attending college, he met Jane R. Jeffrey, and the couple were united in marriage on Aug. 17, 1957, at Lexington. He went on to earn a juris doctorate at the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1960.
In 1961, Berreckman, his wife and their three sons moved to Cozad where he opened his own law firm located on west Eighth Street in a two-room building, without the aid of any legal assistants. His practice grew, and in 1965 he moved the firm to its present location at the corner of Eighth and Meridian Streets.
In 1983, the firm became Berreckman & Berreckman, P.C. as he was joined by his son, Claude, Jr. The two would eventually be joined by Brian Davis in 2004 and the firm would become Berreckman & Davis, P.C.
Berreckman enjoyed a long and successful career as a lawyer, and had been a member of the Nebraska Bar Association for over 50 years.
Throughout his time in Cozad, he served as the deputy Dawson County attorney, including serving as coroner, president of the Young Lawyers’ Section of the NSBA and president of the Dawson County Bar. He was a Nebraska State Bar Foundation Bronze Fellow, a certified abstracter and title insurance agent as well as president of the Nebraska Land Title Association.
His list of service and achievements continues outside his legal practice as he was a founder of the Cozad Hospital Foundation and the Cozad United Way. He was the president of the Cozad Hospital Foundation for over 30 years and was inducted into the Cozad Health Care Hall of Fame in 2008.
?Other community organizations he was involved with include the Cozad United Methodist Church, Cozad Lions Club, Cozad Rotary Club, Cozad School Board, TeamMates and Cozad Chamber of Commerce. He received the Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award in 2009. From somewhat humble beginnings in Cozad, he came to be considered by many as a statesman for the community, according to family members.
Berreckman had way of making a lasting impression with his lively personality and he rarely missed an opportunity to do so, according to the family. Intelligent, quick-witted and engaging, he made countless people feel special and important. He took a special interest in the young people of Cozad, and in later years, gave his time to the TeamMates Mentoring program and would occasionally time the end of his day at the office so that he could head to the Wellness Center to interact with some of his “favorite kids,” the family said.
His gregariousness and generosity, on more than one occasion, led to he and his wife sharing their home with a wide array of guests. He hosted friends, health care professionals, needy clients, foreign exchange students, and rescued dogs as well. To him, a stranger was just someone that he had not yet met.
Berreckman valued physical fitness and staying mentally sharp. He ran nine marathons, countless other road races, and sponsored the 100th Meridian Road Race for 12 years.
He also loved watching movies, singing and telling stories, family members said. He loved his family and took great pride in being present when he was needed, and for the special moments in the lives of his children and grandchildren.
Survivors include: his wife, Jane; his sons—Claude (Karen), Dave (Jean) and Cal; his grandchildren—Claire (Bryan) Bazata, Kaitlin, Rachel, Ben and Kennedy; great-grandchild, Max Bazata; his beloved dog, Katie.
A memorial scholarship has been established for Cozad High School seniors.