Ainsworth Star Journal

Millie Swystun May was born October 17, 1918, in Lansing, MI. Her parents, Kataryna and Wasyl Swystun, had each immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine a few years before. Millie’s early years were spent attending school in Lansing, where she graduated from Central High School in 1935. In later years, she was fond of telling her children that she had “graduated thirty-third in a class of three hundred and thirty-three!” After high school, she went to work as a bookkeeper for R.E. Olds in Lansing. She met her future husband, Ralph May--an Oklahoma farm boy--while he was attending graduate school in Lansing. They married on March 8, 1941. After a short time in Kalamazoo, MI, they moved to Hinsdale, IL, where their two sons were born. In 1952, the family moved to Highmore, SD where they lived for a year and a half before finally settling in Valentine, where the youngest child, a girl, was born. Millie lived in the same ranch house a couple miles east of Valentine for 53 years. During her half-century-plus in Valentine, Millie enjoyed a wide circle of activities and friends. She was at various times a Pink Lady for the hospital, a member of the Sand Painters Art Club, a Sunday school kindergarten teacher and “circle” member at the United Methodist Church, a golfer, a bridge and pitch player, a ceramics painter, a knitter, a dog owner/lover, and a member of a coffee group that met weekly for many years. But first and foremost, she was a devoted mother to her three children, all of whom survive her: William (Rhonda) May of Shepherdstown, WV; Tom (Lorraine) May of Des Moines, IA; and Mary Ann (Ron) May-Pumphrey of San José, CA. Millie’s beloved grandchildren include, Chad (Amy) Dexter, Clint, Cameron and Ross May, Whitney May (Andrew Roberts), Kelsey (Adam) May and Alex May (John Mason). Millie is also survived by three great-grandchildren, five nieces and a nephew. Her parents, two sisters, and husband preceded her in death. Millie died on August 30, 2014, in the Arbor Springs Nursing Facility in Des Moines, IA. She left us with heads full of wonderful memories! Funeral Service for Millie May was held on Friday, September 5, at 10:00 a.m. at the Methodist Church in Valentine. Burial followed at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Larry Eugene Walton was born on June 24, 1944 to David and Esther Walton and passed away at his home in Ainsworth, NE on August 29, 2014. He was the 5th of 8 brothers and sisters, Don, Dorothy, Lea Anne, Gary, Rick, Mag and Doug. He grew up in Ainsworth attending Ainsworth High School. Following high school Larry joined the U.S. Navy. After being discharged from the Navy, he began his long lifetime career as a meat cutter. Starting as a traveling meet cutter in South Dakota he settled back in Ainsworth working for what would become H & R Foods. He retired from this business in 2002. In 1968, Larry married Judy Schmid and were blessed with three children, Kandi, David and Michelle, whom gave them four grandchildren; Brandon, Seth, Jacce and Holldyn. They were the highlights of his life. Larry’s hobbies included hunting, fishing, and camping. He loved tinkering in his garage on whatever he could find to fix, (whether he needed to use it or not.) He might be most known for his and Judy’s beautiful yard and landscaping. He was active with the church duties including cleaning, handyman and church elder, which he loved very much and was impossible to get him away from. Larry delivered meals for the Senior Citizens Center several days a week which gave him the opportunity to visit with people around town. He was a U.S. Navy Veteran, member of the Ainsworth Elks Lodge #1790 and a 30 year member of the Ainsworth Fire Department. Larry liked everyone he knew and met. He will be missed by all of his family and friends. He is survived by: wife, Judy Walton of Ainsworth; son, David Walton of Ainsworth; daughters, Michelle (Tonny) Beck of Ainsworth, Kandie Flynn (Mark) Ruskamp of Omaha, NE; four grandsons, Brandon Flynn, Seth Flynn, Jacce Beck and Holldyn Beck; brothers, Rich (Dee) Walton of Lexington, NE, Doug Walton of Ainsworth; sisters, Dorothy Mead of Laughlin, NV, and Margaret Kay Switzer of Columbia, SC, along with nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held on September 3, 2014 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Ainsworth, NE with Pastor Georg Williams officiating the service. Music was provided by Georgia Williams, with a special CD selection of “This Face” by Willie Nelson. Pallbearers were Ray Hayes, Wes Luther, Vail Boller, Justin Ludemann, Lenny Fernau, and Roger McCoy. Burial was held at the Lutheran Cemetery under the direction of Hoch Funeral Home of Ainsworth, NE. Memorials were directed to the Zion Lutheran Church, the Brown County Hospital Auxiliary, or to the Ainsworth Senior Citizens Center.

Geneva (Boyd) Minnig, the youngest of four children, was born October 23, 1930 in Chadron, NE, to Elmer and Fern (Gill) Boyd. She died on August 20, 2014 at Parkview Manor in Stuart, NE. Her father worked on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and her early childhood was spent in Chadron, where her family lived in a railroad boxcar. The family moved to several towns in western Nebraska until finally settling in Long Pine where Neva graduated from high school and subsequently met her future husband, Kenneth Minnig. Ken and Neva were married in 1948 and lived in Bassett for the next 66 years. They were members of the Bassett and Ainsworth Methodist churches. Neva loved music, especially Big Band recordings, that reminded her of the many Hidden Paradise and other dances they attended during their courtship and early years of marriage. She also sang with the Bassett Methodist Church choir for more than 30 years. She helped Ken in the garden and canned/froze vegetables each summer to support them for the next year. They were members of the Sandhills Swingers Square Dance Club and traveled to many towns in Nebraska to support other clubs and to San Antonio, TX, to attend the National Square Dance Convention. Neva enjoyed traveling and visited Canada, Connecticut, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Hawaii, and Alaska. She collected bells from everywhere she traveled, amassing a collection of over 100 of the little ding-a-lings. She operated The Yarn Shop in Bassett selling high grade yarn and accessories for crocheting and knitting. In addition to the supplies, there were plenty of “yarns” to be told. Following Ken’s retirement they enjoyed in living during the summers in their cabin on Pine Creek. Neva was preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Debra; brothers, Carmen and Cecil Ray Boyd; sister, Nadine Fletcher Rolf; and in-laws, George and Neva Minnig, Eldon Minnig and Bertha Minnig Brown, Kenneth and Lorene Bentley. Dale and R’Lene Minnig and Evelyn Minnig, The last of her generation from the Boyd family, Neva is survived by her husband, Kenneth; sons Doug (Patricia) of Bulverde, TX, and Jeffrey (Penny) of Flower Mound, TX, four grandchildren; one great-grand son; and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held on August 29, 2014 at the United Methodist Church in Bassett, NE with Pastor Rod Heildbrun and Pastor Eldon Davis officiating over the service. Special music was provided by Kristie Sybrant-Keller and Judith Sybrant-Lemp, with song selections of “Heaven” and “The Old Rugged Cross Medley”. Pallbearers were Raymond Terry, Terry Fletcher, Mark Bentley, George Fletcher, Nathan Minnig and Jon Minnig. Honorary bearers were all of the Bassett and Ainsworth United Church families. Burial was held at the Bassett Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Hoch Funeral Home of Bassett. Memorials were directed to the Rock County Hospital or to the Area Special Olympics Program in her name.

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