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September 2019

Volume 4 | Number 5

Welcome to Rise

Welcome to the September 2019 edition of Rise Grand Island the alumni newsletter for Grand Island Senior High published every other month by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation. Rise is where we connect with thousands of Islanders across the globe, keeping you and them informed on what’s happening in Purple and Gold land, and reminiscing a little bit as well.

This is Volume 4, Number 5, the fifth edition of Rise this calendar year, our fourth year as the official publication for alums of Islander Nation. Thanks for reading us and for your comments and support.

We really enjoy hearing from those of you who find Rise in your in-box every other month. Give us a shout, especially if you or a GISH alum you know has done something new, newsy, or newsworthy. You can reach us at

Our At the Top lead story this issue is about Senior High’s beginning to the school year and how the term “summer” has become more and more difficult to define.

Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg, writes about the legacy of Mrs. Bea Southard who passed away this month in her Shaking the World story. 

Leigh Lillibridge’s Grand Legacy Update chronicles the first game in the new Memorial Stadium, which is still under construction. Checkout how they pulled it off in Leigh’s article.

We have a guest column this issue. Cindy Johnson, Executive Director of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, is asking Islander alums to consider a move … back to Grand Island.

Our Class Reunion Update lets you know who is going to party and when, in case your class is on deck or maybe you just want to crash another class’s soiree and see a few old friends.

Milestones highlights Islander baseball standout Cal Henke (Class of 2015) whose new employer is the Texas Rangers.

Our Distant Mirror correspondent, Mike Monk, Class of 1967, takes a look at the aspect of time through a number of lenses including some great lines from rock and roll and literature.

My I’ve Been Thinking column is a benign rant on how far we’ve come in phone technology, what we’ve lost because of it, and the social dexterity needed to survive it.

As usual we’ll see what songs were popular on the radio, what movies were wooing us on the big screen, what novels we were reading, and what television shows entertained us from our each decade during September.

Finally, as we do every issue, we honor those Islanders who passed away the last couple months in our In Memoriam section.

We hope you find this Rise to your liking
Remember Islanders: Keep pushing on.  

George Ayoub, Class of 1968
Editor, “Rise Grand Island”

At the Top

New Senior High School Year One of Nearly 150

Grand Island Senior High started a couple days later than expected this year after mold was discovered in a couple classrooms. After a few days of school leaders scrambling, workers abating, and students rejoicing, current Islanders made their way to first period and began the school year.

The mold was neither a science project gone awry nor a sack lunch of tuna fish left over from the previous year, but rather the result of a perfect storm of a couple factors: Some closed up classrooms and some hellacious storms during a wet and wild summer. 

Despite the delay, everybody seemed to know what to do, but then, the school year has started at Senior High nearly 150 times. They know what they are doing.

Still, as the Class of 2020 — a number more than a few of us “seasoned” alums can hardly fathom — took its rightful place in the corner marked “Top Dogs,” a new decade of grads was in the house ready to write its own chapter in GISH history.

The beginning of the school year always comes with mix of  excitement, hope, and yes even a little consternation as the lazy, hazy days of summer close and the regimen of school with its bells and order arrive. Summer, however, has become a relative term as the school year has crept further and further back into heat and humidity of August. The first full day of classes at Senior High was scheduled for August 16. Given that timeline students could well be into math formulas, science experiments, and the minutiae of APA footnoting by the time they took a break on Labor Day, the cultural end of summer.

They were also well into fall sports (the varsity football team is 3-0 as of this writing), the musical, “Elf, the Musical,” has been cast, and the marching band has been, well, marching since the dog days of the ill-defined summer.

The new Memorial Stadium and Jack Martin Field is also moving toward what will truly be a spectacular completion. The Islanders have hosted football games in the soon-to-be Grand Legacy, a work-in-progress. Leigh Lillibridge, who is on point for that massive project, has more in this Rise on the first big varsity football game played there on September 6 against Lincoln High.

Also marking the beginning of the school year was the opening of two new elementary schools in the GIPS, part of a series of building projects launched five years ago after a successful bond issue in the city. Those schools were Starr and Jefferson. Five other schools, including Senior High, had either major remodeling projects or additions, completed in the five years.

Here’s a link to an op-ed piece by Bonnie Hinkle, president of the Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education in which she details the success of massive project.  Five years later, Grand Island school bond construction finishes on time, on budget

School. Football. Marching bands. Play rehearsal. Sounds very autumnal to me, even though the calendar reads summer. 

Not to worry, though. The Harvest of Harmony — Grand Island’s cultural start of fall — is just three weeks away.

Shaking the World

Affecting Eternity

This month, Mrs. Bea Southard, passed away. She was 99. Bea was named Legendary Educator by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation in 2013. She was a tremendous teacher and role model for students at Walnut Junior High and her legacy lives. Following is an excerpt from the Legendary Educator Presentation made at Riverside Golf Club on October 3, 2013.

Henry Brooks Adams said it well when he said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." 

This is definitely the case with Mrs. Bea Southard. Mrs. Southard’s influence reached far beyond the classroom and followed children throughout their lives. From the dozens of nominations that we received for her was the following quote, “Students who were lucky enough to be in her class, were considered “her kids.” She not only taught them subject matter, she taught them character, kindness, and how to rise above adversity and succeed.”

When Mrs. Southard began her teaching career in 1938, FDR was president, Hitler was on the rise, and in June of that year, the Superman Comic Character was born. I am pretty sure that the inspiration for Superman came from the likes of this woman. Though small in stature, Mrs. Southard was large in heart. And, like Superman, she saved a lot of people, a lot of students.  She taught a total of 44 years, 27 of them with the Grand Island Public Schools.  

After teaching in rural schools in the area, Mrs. Southard joined the teaching staff of Grand Island Public Schools in 1960 as a Fourth Grade Teacher at Dodge Elementary. She transferred to Walnut Junior High in 1965, where she taught English and Social Studies until 1987.

Mrs. Southard didn’t follow the same path that one would follow today to getting her degree in teaching. Times were tough, but she never gave up. She had to return home after one year of college due to the depression. She kept learning though, and received her bachelor’s degree by taking night classes and ultimately a lifetime teaching certificate was granted to her in the 1980’s.    

One of the things I was told about Mrs. Southard was, that during her days at Walnut Jr. High, before the beginning of each school year, she would go see Principal Phil Harvey and ask him to put the children in her class that were of the least means, and those that needed hope.  And then, she would work her “magic” as one nominator put it. And I quote: “Her ‘magic’ was simple: she loved and respected her students, and they mirrored it. She saw deep into the needs of students who struggled academically, whose homes provided no support, and who were not always likable. Her sincerity paid off in her classroom where kids were engaged and well-behaved.”

Her magic continues today at Walnut Middle School where in recent years, she donated a new grand piano in honor of her husband Bill who was a wonderful musician and had always wanted to own such a fine instrument. Additionally, Mrs. Southard funded an endowment for Walnut students so that those who are missing opportunities might be offered support. Her fund has supported wrestling shoes for an entire team, soccer club, camps and choirs for individual students, and even sent a student to a national wrestling competition. Nearly all the students at Walnut know about “Aunt Bea” as they call her.  

We received many nominations for Mrs. Bea Southard that illustrate her profound impact on students. I pulled just a few anecdotes to share with you.  

There was a particular student of mine that Bea took a liking to. His name was Willie. Oh how Bea loved this little guy! And, he loved her. He would light up when she would speak with him outside my room. Bea happened to supervise Willie’s lunch shift and was particularly concerned with the lunches he brought from home. His daily diet of cakey peanut butter on dry bread was more than she could handle. If I remember correctly, she would regularly ‘find’ him a more adequate lunch from the school kitchen. No wonder Willie was so fond of Mrs. Southard. She fed his tummy as well as his heart.  

Bea and her husband Bill became surrogate parents for hundreds of needy Walnut students.  She truly cared about the welfare of “her kids.”

She showed great respect and kindness to every student. In return, they respected and loved her. It was not because she was easy on them. On the contrary, she was a tough taskmaster, who showed them how to do, then how to be, their best.

This caring person refused to let a child fail.

Clearly, Bea’s heart still beats strong in the hallways of Walnut Middle School.

Grand Legacy Update

Friday Night Lights

On Friday September 6, the new West grandstand at Memorial Stadium hosted its first varsity football game. Although still under construction, it was easy to see how amazing the completed facility will be. Fans were able to sit in the new West grandstand and enjoy the game and the band’s halftime show. Just like the first game at Memorial Stadium back in 1947, our Islanders won their first game too!  We won against Lincoln High 47-4. Go Islanders! 


We can’t wait until the entire project including the renovation and additional structure at East Stadium are ready to unveil in the fall of 2020, but we need your help to raise the $779,535 needed to complete the project at East Stadium! Every gift will help get us across the goal line and give our community the premier facility it needs. 

Your gift can be mailed or made online.  To give online you can go to our Ways to Give page found on our Memorial Stadium website.

Checks can be mailed to: 
GIPS Foundation 
Memorial Stadium Campaign
P.O. Box 4904 
Grand Island, NE  68802

Guest Column: Cindy Johnson from the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce

Have You Ever Thought About Coming Back to Grand Island?

When we graduate from high school, there is often an eagerness to flee the hometown to experience life beyond the city limits of their childhood.  This grand plan could be college, a new business venture, a new relationship, or a new start in a new place. Many of us did just that. If this describes you, have you ever thought about coming back to Grand Island?

How about coming back to family, or good friends who still live here?  Back to a familiar place, or perhaps a change of pace? Back to a quality of life you now want for your own family?  This grand plan can be as life changing as the one you had when you moved on from high school. And, as much as there would be some familiarity, you would also find many things new and different—“grander” so-to-speak.

There are grander recreation options.  The traditional venues you may remember still reign true in the area, such as Harvest of Harmony Parade, Stuhr Museum, and the sandhill crane migration.  But there are continuous community enhancements that keep us moving and shaking. For example, you need to check out the new Memorial Stadium at Grand Island Senior High!  Also, Eagle Scout Lake now includes a sports complex with ball fields and a splash pad. Ten years ago, Fonner Park was transformed significantly into the home of the Nebraska State Fair.  Speaking of transformation—the downtown area, now called Railside, is hopping! For the third year in a row, Hear Grand Island has held outdoor concerts every Friday night during the summer.  And, Grand Island is becoming quite a place for cultural cuisine and dining options.  

There are grander possibilities.  Through Grow Grand Island, the vision for the community is being brought to life through “planning, partnering and doing.”  Lead organizations such as the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation, and the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau partner with other organizations such as Hall County, City of Grand Island, Grand Island Public Schools, and others, to keep our community vibrant and appealing to live here, work here, play here, and learn here.

There are grander opportunities.  Whether looking for a career or to make a difference through volunteer work, Grand Island is growing and thriving.  Employers in the area need all levels of employees, especially those with solid work experience or college degrees. Visit the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce’s website and view a partial listing of available job openings.  Many of these employers have training programs and great benefits. Plus, the lower cost of living will have you spending less on life’s necessities and more on living “the good life.”

Employment aside, volunteer opportunities are abundant. Become a board member of a non-profit organization, or help coordinate a fundraising event, you will positively impact hundreds of people. This is an extraordinary way to meet others and make an impact in ways that are not as available in bigger places.  When was the last time you were able to engage in meaningful community service where you felt you made a difference? This occurs every day in Grand Island. 

To see some of the volunteer opportunities available, visit Go2Volunteer: The Heartland Volunteer Hub.

How might Grand Island be grander if YOU came back?  

For more information on career opportunities, housing or educational options, please contact Cindy Johnson at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, or 308-382-9218.

Alumni Reunions

Planning a class reunion?

We can help get you started!
Contact us for your class list and send us information about your reunion. We will post it to our website.

Kari Price, Alumni Coordinator
308.385.5900 ext. 1148


NOTE: Reunion information in this newsletter is current as of the publication date. To see Reunion updates and additions go to our Alumni Reunions page.

Class of 1956

The Class of 1956 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly gathering. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Midtown Holiday Inn at 6:00 pm. 

Class of 1959

The class of 1959 is planning a 60 year Class Reunion on September 27-28, 2019 at the Riverside Golf Club.

Class of 1966

The Class of 1966 wishes to extend an invitation to fellow classmates to join them at its monthly lunch gathering. Classmates from ‘66 meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Platt Duetsche at 1:00 pm. 

Class of 1969

The Class of 1969 is planning its 50th Class Reunion on October 18-19 at Riverside Golf Club.


Pushing On | Milestones

Cal Hehnke Signs With Rangers

Islander Cal Hehnke (Class of 2015) signed a professional baseball contract with the Texas Rangers in August and finished the season in Phoenix pitching for the AZL Rangers of the Arizona Rookie League. 

Hehnke, who pitched four years at UNO, appeared in 2 games with the AZL Rangers, going 1-0, throwing five innings, striking out six, and not allowing any runs. He will report to the Texas Rangers spring camp in January.  

At UNO, Hehnke appeared in 62 games during his four-year career, In 2019, his 23 appearances set the UNO single season school record for mound appearances. He saved 12 games for the Mavericks, fifth all-time in UNO history. 

Read the Independent’s full story on Hehnke’s signing here: Hehnke signs with Texas Rangers

A Distant Mirror

About Time

Today, as we peer into the Distant Mirror, we observe my 7th grade science class at Walnut, in 1962. On this day our teacher showed the class a wonderful Bell Telephone educational film called “About Time.”  

I was amused by the title, which was both a simple description of the subject and yet invoked the common phrase that it is “about time” something was done. And I loved the film, which examined the concept of time, including Einstein’s theory of relativity, which to this day is a hard one for me to grasp.
In the film, a cartoon displayed a how a twin took a spaceship to a distant planet and returned many years later. But when he returned, his twin brother had aged, now looking far older than he. The space traveler, however, looked not much older than when he departed.  

The lesson was that traveling away from the gravity of earth alters the passage of time. Experiments have indeed shown that a watch on a high mountain (farther from the earth’s gravity), will run ever so slightly slower than one at sea level.  One supposedly simple explanation of Einstein’s theory says, “All motion must be defined relative to a frame of reference, since space and time are relative, rather than absolute concepts.” Say what? Isn’t 10 minutes always 10 minutes?
More recently I read the Stephen Hawking book entitled “Brief Answers to the Big Questions.” It expressed the theory that time began only with the Big Bang and that there was no time prior thereto. Once again, I am stupefied. What happened two hours before the Big Bang? Does not time go back endlessly prior to any event and will it not continue without end after any given event?  

This concept reminds me of the Meatloaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” The song describes a man trying to seduce his girl friend in the car … “by the dashboard light.” She will relent only if he “promises to love her till the end of time.”  So he promises to love her till the end of time. But by the end of the song, he regrets the decision and says, “So now I’m praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive, ‘cause if I have to spend another minute with you, I don’t think that I can really survive.”
There are also countless aphorisms about time. Some I have heard forever, but for which I do not know the source:

“Time waits for no one.”
“Time races for the man who will be taken to the gallows to be hung in one hour.”  
“Time crawls for the youth awaiting the arrival of his lover.”  
“Time marches on!”

Others come from songs or literature:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Do not squander time. That is the stuff life is made of” (inscribed on a clock in the classic movie “Gone with the Wind”)  

“Yeah Beavis, I don’t have time for a yeast infection either.” (From a “Beavis and Butthead” cartoon)

“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future ” (Steve Miller Band, “Fly Like an Eagle”)

Shakespeare addresses how our perception of time differs in varying circumstances:

“Come what come may/Time and the hour runs through the roughest day” Act 1, Scene III in “Macbeth”

“Time is very slow for those who wait. Very fast for those who are scared. Very long for those who lament. Very short for those who celebrate. But for those who love, time is eternal.”

Time also appears to pass at different rates at different ages. When you are six years old, it seems to take forever to get to seven. So my Grandson Leo, like many at that age, says he is six and a half years old.  When you are 60, however, you seem to turn 70 in the wink of an eye. I speak from experience on this one. The perception of time in later years is like a coin that is circling round and round on its edge, at first slowly and then increasingly more rapidly, until it comes to an abrupt stop.
As we age, the decreasing and uncertain amount of time left to live becomes more precious. We now more clearly realize it must be used most wisely. To the extent you are able, you start to avoid any activity that does not “spark joy.” You try to fill your life with those activities that bring you pleasure or achieve lifelong goals. You create a bucket list. I joke with family and friends, “If you have a cranberry muffin and a blueberry muffin in the refrigerator, and you prefer the cranberry, eat it first.”  You many never get to the other one. 

I was on the floor laughing recently after Leo asked in total seriousness, “Grandpa, when your two dogs die, will you and Grandma get new dogs … if you are still alive?”  

A few years back, I heard an unflinchingly brutal phrase, which is sadly true:

“Time is the reef upon which most of our dreams eventually crash.”  

This chilling thought encourages me to do the things I really want to do now, not “when I get around to it.”
“And you, of tender years,” as Crosby Stills and Nash sang, can also benefit from this approach. You never know how long Grandma Betsy will be here. If you love her, tell her so now. You never know what tomorrow will hold. In short, follow your bliss. This includes not only your passions, but good deeds, rest, reflection, exercise, health and attacking those adventures or projects that have significant meaning to you. 
About 20 years ago my close friend and 1967 GIHS classmate, Bob Johnsen, went to the Kentucky Derby. When he returned, I asked him what motivated the trip. He said he loved horse racing, and the Kentucky Derby was the pinnacle of the sport. He further elaborated that he did not want people at his funeral saying “Yes, Bob had a wonderful life, but, you know, he never made it to the Kentucky Derby.” Four years ago, Bob passed away at the young age of 66. I spoke at his funeral, and reminded everyone that Bob had indeed made it to the Kentucky Derby. 

Of course, during much of our lifetime we have work, family, and other unavoidable obligations that require and demand our time and attention. Life cannot be simply a pursuit of joyous or meaningful activities. But when you have time that you can decide how to use, at any age, use it wisely.  Embrace your passions, plan for the future, treasure your friends and loved ones, appreciate the beauty all around you, and seek happiness. The last thing Lydia Severson, my fifth grade teacher at Howard, said on the final day of fifth grade, just before we left the classroom, was, “Don’t take things too seriously. Life is just a bowl of cherries.“

Well, I have spent enough time on this piece. It is about time I wrapped it up. Until next time!
Mike can be reached at

Your Legacy. Their Opportunity.

Gaga For Opportunities

Students at Knickrehm Elementary have one more thing to make them go “GaGa” over school.

The school now has a GaGa Ball pit thanks to an alumni and Eagle Scout, Justin Hollister.  Justin, who is now in middle school, decided to build the pit for Knickrehm as his Eagle Scout project. He wanted to give back to his elementary school and give students a new opportunity to play a game that he enjoys.

“I went to a Boy Scout camp over the summer and I was either in the pool or in the GaGa Ball pit, so I thought it would be really cool to build a pit at Knickrehm,” Hollister said.

The GaGa Ball pit was officially dedicated on Tuesday, September 3. Hollister gave a speech and was able to play GaGa Ball with other scouts in attendance.

At the GIPS Foundation we are “GaGa” over Justin’s desire to give back to his school. He proves that one only needs the desire to make great things happen for students. Justin Your Legacy IS Their Opportunity. You can make great things happen for students too. We are just a phone call or e-mail away.; 308-385-5900 ext. 1170

I've Been Thinking

More Than Party Lines Long Gone

A tale of two phone calls … 53 years apart.

When I was growing up, a phone ringing in our house often prompted a race to the receiver, especially when my sister and I were teenagers. A call from the outside world was a bit of excitement, a mystery revealed, a ringing riddle to solve. I have never enjoyed talking on the phone, save those first few revelatory minutes. 

One evening when I was in high school, my mother answered our phone. My sister was in college, and I was slow on the uptake. The conversation went like this:

Caller: Is George there?
Mother: Senior or junior? (I share my father’s name.)
Caller: I think he’s a sophomore.

We had a good laugh, the kind of giggles we’d get when we’d inadvertently catch funny or embarrassing snippets from the neighbors on our party line. (OK, perhaps we heard a few of those conversations on purpose although I’ll deny it if pressed.) 

Either way, when the phone rang we answered it, whoever was on the other end or whatever the tidings he or she might have been bringing.

Ah, the good old phone days, the “Beachwood 4-5789” days … even when the news on the other end was bad.

Fifty-three years or so later “Ben and Sharon Rhoads” kept coming up on my landline’s caller ID. I did not recognize the names. The calls — which took place over a couple weeks — were to invite me to the Class of 1959’s reunion dinner later this month and talk about Rise. 

I answered none of them.

Nothing against Ben and Sharon Rhoads, but I rarely answer my landline. (Why I have a landline is another story and an ongoing debate at my house, which, obviously, I continue to lose.)

I’m beginning to think I should rarely answer my cell phone, too, given the number robo, spam, and “spoof” calls I get. Like I’m sure you do, too, I get calls on both phones from all over the world. None of these calls do I want. I get calls from local numbers that I do answer, and they turn out to be frauds as well, “spoofing” they call it.

In the beginning I’d listen to their pitches, thinking I may get a deal. That lasted about two days. Then I tried to get to a “supervisor,” to be taken off the list. I never made it that far. Apparently never taking calls is one of the perks of being a supervisor.

Their spiels — live or recorded —are a litany of illegalities, improprieties, and slight of voice tricks that never showed up when we were sharing the phone line with a half dozen other families.

I’ve been threatened by the IRS and FBI. I’ve turned down warranty deals on vehicles I haven’t owned for years. I’ve been lucky enough to get offers on financial transactions worth thousands. 

I’ve been asked for money to save the world and all the good people in it. Sorry, I just don’t have that kind of cash on hand.

My landline has been listed on the National Do Not Call Registry for 16 years. I’ve recently registered my cell phone. The NDNCR has five exceptions: political calls, charitable calls, most debt calls, purely information calls, and surveys.

Among the calls I prefer not to get are political, charitable, debt, informational, and surveys.

Still, I assume the NDNCR is blocking calls or having some sort of impact although some days I wonder. On those days someone from Top Health calls a dozen times, a “representative” from the Social Security Administration tries to reach me morning, noon, and night looking for information, or Jason, Mary, Stephanie, or some other cloying electronic voice checks in about every other hour from the warranty department. Thanks for caring, guys.

Essentially, for me, what’s happened in 53 years is that when the phone rings, I no longer have a sense of anticipation or excitement. I assume it’s a number from Spokane or Natchez or Boston or wherever and somebody is either trying to sell or steal. That’s a long way from our party line or an operator saying “number please.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love my smartphone and cling to it like a teenager. It’s my computer, my camera, my written communication device, my calendar, my album collection, my meteorologist, my memory, my alarm clock, my wallet, my scoreboard, my entertainment center, my dictionary, my encyclopedia, and, occasionally, my telephone … when I choose to answer it … which is diminishing.

More help may be on the way. 

I read where government and business are teaming up to do something about robocalls and spam call. Apparently, too, I can buy technology to block these calls or with the help of an “expert,” figure out a system to create a barrier.

Anything to reduce the volume would be greatly appreciated. I just hope they don’t call me to explain how to do any of it.

Because there’s a good chance I will not answer.

In Memoriam

July and August memorial list of GISH Alumni

EUGENE GARNER, Class of 1959, died March 1, 2018, in Kearney. He was 76. 

RON WATSON, Class of 1959, died May 5, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 76.

TOM WILLIS, Class of 1959, died October 30, 2018, in Lubbock, Texas. He was 76. 

PAUL ZETOCHA, Class of 1959, died March 23, 2019, in Tucson, Ariz. He was 77.

MICHAEL WILLEY, Class of 1959, died May 11, 2019, in Natchez, Miss. He was 77.

MARY (STEPHENS) RYDER, Class of 1950, died June 11, 2019, in Dallas, Texas. She was 86.

MIKE MINER, Class of 1959, died June 29, 2019, in Naples, Fla. He was 78. 

MICHAEL SMITH, Class of 1976, died July 1, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 60.

DELORES “DEE” (LEHMAN) ARNETT, Class of 1958, died July 4, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 79.

COLLEEN STREET, longtime GIPS/Central Nebraska Support Services Program teacher and consultant, died July 4, 2019, in Omaha. She was 64.

ANN (MICHALSKI) IRVINE, Class of 1959, died July 9, 2019, in St. Paul. She was 78.

ERIC JOHN, Class of 1989, died July 10, 2019, in rural Howard County. Eric lived in Dannebrog. He was 48.

TARA ROY, Class of 1995, died July 10, 2019, in rural Howard County. Tara lived in Dannebrog. She was 41.

LINDA (JUETT) VAN HORN, Class of 1971, died July 12, 2019, in Chadron. She was 66.

JODY SCHWIEGER, Class of 1989, died July 15, 2019, in Grand Island. He was 48.

MICHELE (SHAFER) LARSEN, Class of 1974, died July 19, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 63. 

DIANE ‘JOYCE’ (BERNTH) IRWIN, Class of 1961, died July 20, 2019, in Grand Island. 
She was 75.

BONNIE (WRAGE) BROUILLETTE, Class of 1968, died July 21, 2019, in Omaha. Bonnie lived in Fremont. She was 69.

LARRY CORNELIUS, Class of 1961, died July 23, 2019, in St Paul. Larry lived in Grand Island. He was 76.

MARLENE (FURBY) THELEN, Class of 1967, died July 23, 2019. She was 69.

JOHN SHOVLAIN, Class of 1997, died July 24, 2019, in Omaha. John lived in the U. S. Virgin Islands. He was 40.

RANDY POINTER, Class of 1976, died July 29, 2019, in Omaha. Randy lived in Grand Island. He was 60.

BONNIE (HUENEKE) ETHERTON, Class of 1951, died August 7, 2019, in Loveland, Colo. She was 86.

KAREN (MEYER) SAMET, Class of 1954, died August 9, 2019, in Springfield, Mo. Karen lived in Branson, Mo. She was 82.

JIM LANGE, Class of 1977, died August 11, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 60.

ABE JESSOP, Class of 1984, died August 12, 2019, in Central City. He was 54.

ANTHONY PASCOE, Class of 1981, died August 16, 2019, in Wasilla, Alaska. He was 56.

INA (NORTHOUSE) HANEY, Class of 1945, died August 17, 2019, in Seward. She was 92.

JOAN (THAVENET) KITTEL, Class of 1952, died August 19, 2019, in Slidell, La. She was 84.

JEFF GNADT, Class of 1980, died August 20, 2019, in Gunnison, Colo. Jeff lived in Aurora, Colo. He was 57.

JAMES “BUCKY” SENKBEIL, Class of 1950, died August 21, 2019. Jim lived in Chapman. He was 86.

CHERIE (HABIG) TRACY, Class of 1959, died August 21, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 78.

KAREN (FIEDLER) HANSEN, Class of 1967, died August 23, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 71.

KORYOOM RIAL, Class of 2015, died August 23, 2019, in Hastings. He was 21.

VENA (UNDERHILL) PACE, Class of 1940, died August 25, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 96.

KAREN (BROOKS) HALLSTED, Class of 1979, died August 26, 2019, in St. Paul. She lived in Palmer. Karen was 58.

VERDA (LILLIBRIDGE) SPAHR, Class of 1959, died August 27, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 79.

CASEY STEVENS, Class of 1996, died August 27, 2019, in Lakewood, Colo. He was 41.

KIM (LAWS) KOELZER, Class of 1977, died August 29, 2019, in Aurora. Kim lived in Grand Island. She was 60.

LAURA (BOCKMAN) BOERSEN, Class of 1958, died August 29, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 78.

BERNICE "BEA" SOUTHARD, Longtime GIPS teacher at Walnut Junior High, died September 7, 2019, in Grand Island. She was 99.

To report an alumni death please send an email with the first name, last name, class year and maiden name if applicable to


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