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Donald Max “Don” Andersen,97

1924-2022
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Donald Max “Don” Andersen,97

Donald Max “Don” Andersen

Donald Max “Don” Andersen of Cozad, Nebraska passed away Sunday, February 13, 2022, at Meadowlark Pointe Assisted Living, surrounded by family, and aged 97 years, 5 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Don was born on August 21, 1924 and was the youngest of eight children to Anders Emmanuel and Ella (Anderson) Andersen. Imagine the changes he observed from 1924 to 2022.

At around age six, his family moved from Cozad to a farm north of Darr, Nebraska. In his teen years, he boxed with the Golden Gloves of America and once competed in Omaha. He graduated from Cozad High School in 1942 and was always proud to show his signed diploma to anyone who asked.

Don married his sweetheart and love of his life, Wilma Louise Wells, on October 13, 1946 at the First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, and they spent 70 wonderful years together. He was a dapper gentleman. In Don and Wilma’s courting days, they enjoyed attending dances and picture shows, and often would stop at the Lexington bakery to get the first donuts of the morning. The home they lived in for most of their married life started out as a repurposed sugar beet shack on the Darr farm. Don and Wilma were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Cozad for many decades. They welcomed daughter Patty in 1951 and daughter Sue in 1955 (also lovingly nicknamed Pete and Clem). Don built Patty a playhouse, a tree house, and a tree swing. Many hours were spent enjoying her daddy’s best gifts. He was a good sport for playing beauty shop with Patty, and as far as she was concerned, he was the best daddy in the world. Sue enjoyed working outdoors and became Don’s “hired man.” Together, they would irrigate, they built the little red barn, and they enjoyed many games of ping pong in the patio.

The couple enjoyed playing pinochle with neighbors and traveling throughout the United States, including Hawaii. Don loved to entertain his many nieces and nephews by taking them on donkey cart rides in a cart he built himself, snow-saucering through the fields behind a pickup truck, and with his menagerie of farm animals who lived in and near the little red barn, including goats Billy and Jimmy, milk cows, pigs, donkeys, chickens, geese named Hiss and Piss, ducks, dogs, cats, and peacocks. His favorite dogs included Tippy, Pete and Re-Pete, Pugsy, Sandy, Chrissy, and Milo. The love of growing plants and livestock was in Don’s blood. He got his first Holstein heifer while in high school, and that was the start of his milking career. For many years, Don would milk twelve or more cows twice daily by hand. He primarily raised corn, alfalfa, and sugar beet crops until the 1980s. During retirement, he continued to grow bumper crops of cucumbers and tomatoes in his garden. He also devoted time to building a playhouse for granddaughter Amy and other primitive wood crafts in his shop. Grandson Scott loved spending time in the “machine shed” his grandpa made which held all of the Tonka machinery he had given him. Scott caught the woodworking bug from his grandpa.

In 2016, Don and Wilma moved to Meadowlark Pointe Assisted Living. He made quick friends with the nursing staff at “The Nest” and had a kiss for everyone - chocolate or otherwise. He often brewed coffee as early as 4:00 AM and would invite staff for conversation and an early morning cup.

Don was known for using nonsensical phrases like “terrible good” and “whoop-di-doo.” He was always asking people to “tell me something.” He referred to everyone younger than himself as “kid,” which was everyone. He loved to sing and would break into song whenever the spirit struck him. His repertoire included such hits as You Are My Sunshine, The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down, Release Me, a rousing chorus of Amen, and the national anthem. Don loved a simple piece of Danish family-recipe rye bread with butter - in recent years baked by his granddaughter-in-law Kazi. He enjoyed cheesy puff balls, onion rings, black jelly beans, and the occasional extra dirty martini. He loved to regale others with a catalog of useless information that he had read or heard and was fond of opening presents of any kind. Don was a member of the Elk’s Club and a lifelong Mason. He was recently recognized for being the oldest living Mason in the state of Nebraska. While Don could be considered ornery at times, he will be remembered for his kind smile, fierce sense of humor, and devotion to his family.

He was preceded in death by his five sisters and brothers-in-law: Edna (Frank) Manners, Lula (Art) Harvey, Dorothy (Art) Smith Ballmer, Edith (Robert) Snyder, and Margaret (Steve) Lauby; and two brothers and sisters-in-law: Thorvald (Doris) Andersen and Loy (Edith) Andersen. He was most certainly met at the heavenly gates by his beloved wife Wilma (Wells) Andersen, whom he proposed marriage to 76 years ago on Valentine’s Day.

He is “awful proud” to be survived by his two daughters and son-in-law: Patty and Gary Lockhorn of Plattsmouth, Nebraska and Sue Andersen of Timnath, Colorado; his grandchildren Scott (Kazi Jestribek) Lockhorn of Greeley, Colorado, Amy (Sean-Casey) King of Aurora, Colorado, Anders Holthaus of San Diego, California, and Karly (Jeremy Liedl) Holthaus of San Diego, California; two great grandchildren Lydia King (14) and Finley Liedl (4 months), along with many other nieces, nephews, extended family, friends, and wonderful caregivers and staff from the Meadowlark.

A Celebration of Life service will be Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the First Presbyterian Church with Don’s dear friend Rev. Jill Boyd officiating. He was the end of an era, the last of the family and a member of the greatest generation. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to The First Presbyterian Church or to Meadowlark Pointe Assisted Living, both in Cozad, Nebraska. Don made plans to have his body donated to science and so he would tell folks he was “going to Creighton to get educated.” LOVE YOU DEARLY!

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