Ainsworth Star Journal

Celebration of Life Services for Alice A. Crooker, age 83, of Ainsworth, NE will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Ainsworth. Burial will be held in the Giles Cemetery at Elsmere. Alice Crooker passed away Saturday, August 23rd at the Ainsworth Care Center. Survivors include: Children, David (Barb) Crooker of Long Pine, Georgia (Jerry) Gaskins of Paonia, CO, Linda (Rick) Strand of Ainsworth, Marie Kenton of Holdrege, NE, Lillie Parkison of Ainsworth, and Joe (Tammy) Crooker of Ainsworth; 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews and other family members. Public visitations for Alice Crooker will be held on Wednesday from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Hoch Funeral Home in Ainsworth and on Thursday at the church until the time of services. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to either the Sandhills’ Cancer Fund or the Diabetes Association. Online condolences may be directed to the family at

Funeral Services for Geneva M. “Neva” Minnig age 83 of Bassett, NE will be held on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Bassett. Burial will be held in the Bassett Memorial Park Cemetery. Neva Minnig passed away on Wednesday, August 29, 2014 atthe Parkside Manor in Stuart, NE.  Survivors include: Husband, Kenneth Minnig of Bassett; children, Douglas (Pat) Minnig of Bulverde, TX and Jeffrey (Penny) Minnig of Flower Mound, TX; four grandchildren, one great-grandson, nieces and nephews. Visitations for Neva Minnig will be held on Thursday, August 28th from 3:00-7:00 p.m. and Friday, August 29th until time of service at theUnited Methodist Church in Bassett. Memorials have been suggested to the Rock County Hospital or to the Area Special Olympics Program in  her name. Online condolences may be directed to the family at

Funeral services for Leroy Smith were held on Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Burke with Father Roger Geditz and Mark Horn officiating. Teresa Opbroek and Jennifer Millage were lectors and Jackie Smith, Amber Opbroek, Elly Daisy and Emily Vitek presented gifts. Allison and Zach Sebern were servers and Jesse Johnson and Ron Konechne were ushers. Music was provided by the Sacred Heart Church Choir accompanied by Jan Determan, organist. Cindy Talsma and Carol Petersen were in charge of registration and Mary Horn, Virginia Tolstedt and Arlene Keever were flower attendants. Casket bearers were Ben Smith, Nick Smith, Nathan Smith, Jordan Smith, Gavin York, Sarah Opbroek Bottjen, Dawson York, Noah Buhta and Grant Buhta. Honorary casket bearers were nieces, nephews and friends. Interment was in the Graceland Cemetery in Burke. Clausen Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Leroy Raymond Smith was born August 14, 1941 in Gregory to Elmer and Cloris (Ellison) Smith. He was the second born of three children. At age four the family moved to Kaleva, MI, because of Leroy’s asthma. While he lived in Michigan he grew up in the outdoors where he learned his first love, to fish and hunt. At age 16 he moved back to South Dakota to attend school and work on the family farm. He split his time between working for Martin Smith at Burke for the summer months and back to Michigan to work during the winter months cutting pulp wood. At age 18 he and his family moved back to South Dakota to continue the family farm where he lived and worked until his death. He met Janice Kahler in the fall of 1957 and they were married on August 12, 1961. To this union five children were born. Leroy was very involved in his community throughout his life. He served on many boards and was involved in his church serving as a eucharistic minister and was a Third Degree Knight in the Gregory Knights of Columbus. Leroy took pride in his many farming endeavors, but enjoyed most the work that he could do with his neighbors. He also enjoyed woodworking and often donated his creations to charity events in the community. Leroy passed away on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at Avera Gregory Hospital, on their 53rd anniversary and two days before he was to turn 73. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Cloris; his mother and father-in-law Ella and Ted Kahler; and his brothers-in-law, Don Lenz, Duane Kahler and Joe Kahler. Leroy is survived by his wife Janice; five children: Sherry (Tony) of Burke; Ray (Donna) of Philip; Rick of Yankton; Annie (Brandon) of Burke; Tina (Austin) of Lennox; 15 grandchildren; 8 1/2 great-grandchildren; sisters Rose Lenz of Elk Point; and Marjorie (Duane) Vel dheer of Zeeland MI; sisters-in-law Barb (Don) Petersen of Gregory and Carol Kahler of Mitchell; a host of cousins, nephews, and nieces; many long time friends and associates.

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