Kenneth Stevens, 84 - August 26, 2009
Kenneth Lee Stevens, 84, of Farnam died Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009, at Lincoln.
Memorial services were held at the Farnam United Methodist Church on Sunday, Aug. 23, with the Rev. Tess Hufford officiating.
Stevens was born Sept. 18, 1924, at Dwight, to Everett Lee Stevens and Lillian (Hunt) Stevens. The family lived in the York area on farms at Dwight and Benedict.
He then resided in York with his grandparents while his father was in a military hospital in South Dakota for a year. The family moved with their three children to a ranch on East Deer Creek, north of Ingham, in the fall of 1934. He attended the Ingham schools, graduating in 1941 as valedictorian.
Stevens enrolled at the University of Nebraska on a regents scholarship until the fall of 1943 when he enlisted in the Army.
He served in World War II with the 36th Infantry Division out of Texas in Austria, France and Germany where he received the Purple Heart.
Following his honorable discharge in 1945, he returned to the university where he met his future wife, Joan High of Bertrand. The couple were married on May 31, 1949. Following his wife’s graduation, they returned to live in the Ingham and Farnam areas. Three daughters were born to the union. His wife preceded him in death on Dec. 28, 1990.
Stevens was a rancher and a rural mail carrier, starting with a 25-mile route from Ingham and finishing 31 years later with 150 miles out of Farnam and Eustis. He also authored a book on the history of Ingham.
He married fellow adventurer Betty Thompson Hoppe on April 2, 1994, and together they visited 49 states, Canada and Mexico.
Stevens avidly pursued water and grass conservation, always looking for ways to be a better custodian of the natural resources in his care, according to family members.
He was a lover of family, good food, nature and adventure as well as history, reading and enjoying the hills of Lincoln County, the family said. He is remembered for his kindness and sense of fun.
Stevens was preceded in death by: his parents, Everett and Lillian; his first wife, Joan; sisters—Gwen and Dorothy.
Survivors include: his wife, Betty of Farnam; his daughters—Nancy (John) Gumb of McCook, Betsy (Kyle) Stevens-Spilker of DeWitt, and Sara (Kevin) Stevens-Stehl of Bertrand; grandchildren—Erin (Dallas) Schwenka of Minden, and great-grandson Brycen, Julie (Edgar Alconera) Gumb of King of Prussia, PA, Bill, Jack and Pete Spilker of DeWitt, Dustin Stehl of Omaha, Brandon Stehl of Kearney, and Shelby and Riley Stehl of Bertrand; step-children—Weldon and Paula Hoppe of Colon, Sharla and Brian Rader of Henderson, Wendel and Donna Hoppe of Montgomery, TX; 10 step-grandchildren and four step-great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law—Doris High of Grand Island, Ruth (Irvin) Hess of Farnam, Pat (Ron) Benning of Batavia, OH, and Sally Thomas of North Platte; brothers-in-law—Swede Fastenau of Bertrand and Robert High of Lincoln; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.blase strauser.com. Arrangements have been placed in the care of Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel of Gothenburg.
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