Arthur Edward Oelkers, 88, of Elwood, Nebraska, died Thursday, November 14th, 2013, at the Elwood Care Center.
He was born July 26th, 1925, on the family farm in Frontier County to Ernst and Bertha (Gruber) Oelkers. He was baptized on August 30th, 1925 and confirmed May 5th, 1940, both at the Salem Lutheran Church in Frontier County.
He was a member of this church until moving to Elwood when he then joined the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church where he remained a member the rest of his life. He attended the Salem Lutheran Parochial school in Gosper County where he met his soulmate, Dolores Pfeiffer. They became engaged in May of 1949 and were married December 25th, 1949, at Salem Lutheran Church.
To this union, four children were born. Next month they would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. They farmed in Gosper County while also helping his parents on the family homestead in Frontier County with the farming and raising of livestock. They later moved to the family farm where Art continued farming after his father’s passing. Art and Dolores moved to Elwood in 1964 after selling the farm and started a construction company named Art’s Building and Repair. It was later changed to Art’s Building and Supply when the business changed to agri/commercial construction.
He was honored by Chief Industries of Grand Island, Nebraska, as one of the nation’s Top 10 Volume Dealers multiple times. Art had many hobbies and passions that included fishing, hunting, boating on his showboat, antique cars, participating in parades, daily coffee shop visits and taking his grandchildren on various excursions around the country. He also loved to put up Christmas lights and their home was one of the brightest in town every year.
Art and Dolores loved to travel both in the U.S. and internationally where they visited countries on six of the seven continents. He was very community-minded and was involved in civic organizations including the Elwood Lions Club, was a member of the Elwood Village Board (including serving as mayor) and was one of the original co-founders of the Gosper County Carnival Association. He worked with the carnival association to help with the maintenance and running of the carnival rides and donated the pony cart ride that is still running today.
Art also gave much of his time after retiring to driving his family and friends to medical appointments whether in the local area or as far as Mayo’s Clinic in Rochester.
Art was very proud of his family, including his children and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, where he instilled the importance of God, family and hard work.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Evelyn Naprstek, nieces Janice Sunquist, Cristy Niemeier and Shelli Farr, brothers-in law Floyd Farr and Edward Naprstek, sisters-in-law Lois Pfeiffer and Bonnie Pfeiffer.
Survivors include his wife, Dolores; three daughters, Charlene (Chuck) Tilson of Elwood, Jacklin (Doug) Hanson of Hickman, Nebraska, Patricia (Doug) Brown of Oberlin, Kansas; and one son, Kent Oelkers of Lincoln, Nebraska. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren, Ryan (Michele) Wolf of Omaha, Nebraska, Corrin (Andy) Weekly of Hickman, Shane (Laura) Tilson of Elwood, Ashley (Don) Mulvey of Parker, Colorado, Kimberly (Mike) Fredenburg of Hickman, Matthew (Justine) Tilson of Chicago, Illinois, McKenna Oelkers of Kearney and Skyler Brown of Oberlin, Kansas; nine great-children, Emma, Lawson and Maddox Weekly, Haylee and Landon Wolf, Gavin and Karter Tilson and Kaden and Greely Fredenburg. He also has two great-grandchildren due to arrive in January.
Services will be held Monday, November 18th, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood with Pastor Michael Wolff officiating.
Burial will be at the Elwood Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested to the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Elwood Care Center or the Alzheimer’s Foundation.