Obituary for Herbert Kraeger
Herbert Louis Kraeger was born in Omaha, Nebraska as the second of four children to Glen and Hilda (Friedrich) on April 9, 1941. He was baptized, confirmed and an active member for most of his life at Christ Lutheran Church. Herb grew up with a love for agriculture, doing chores and helping his Dad and brothers on the farm in rural Plattsmouth. He attended country school in a one room school house at Eight Mile Grove outside of Louisville until eighth grade. Then attended Plattsmouth high school graduating in 1958. He enjoyed playing baseball and slow pitch softball throughout his youth and was on several farm teams (literally).
He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Animal Science. A member of Block & Bridle, Pershing Rifles, Rodeo Club and the Livestock Judging Team that won the American Royal in Kansas City and finished as Reserve National Champions at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Chicago.
He married Elizabeth (Beth) Rowe in August of 1964. They bought a farm outside of Weeping Water, Nebraska and had three children Mark (Leesa), Vance (Vicki), and Mindy (Jon) all residing on, or near, the family farm. They have 10 grandchildren ranging in age from 24 years to 22 months. Hoyt, Reed (fiancé' Rebekah), Gage, Gavyn, Avery, Evalyn, Finn, Joss, Baay and Sunn. And soon to be great grandchild Rosie.
Herb had a strong commitment to service and was an active member in many organizations over many years including the Army Reserve, Christ Lutheran Church Council and Sunday School teacher, Weeping Water Methodist Church Council and Sunday School teacher, Weeping Water School Board, Weeping Water School Foundation, Avoca Rural Fire Department, Cass County Zoning Commission, Nehawka Co-op, Cass County Fair Board, State Extension Board, Aksarben Ambassador and 4-H Leader for Valley View Hustlers.
Herb had a vision and a passion for agriculture and was able to build that into a 2,000 acre, 250 head cow calf, and a farrow to finish hog operation over the years with his family. He strongly believed in leaving the world better than he found it and in continuous learning which manifested itself by stopping along country roads to pick up litter, and at every historical marker no matter the hurry you were in. He always had either the news, PBS, farm markets, or Johnny Carson on (even the well read need a chuckle).
He was always a teacher. He found lessons in everything and made students out of both the willing and not. He would pick up hitchhikers to see where they were going, learn about their lives, and hope to help them find God. He believed in tolerance and acceptance of all people and religions. An example, he took his high school Sunday School class to several different places of worship across Omaha in the 1980's believing that finding commonalities and accepting differences could prevent world wars.
He took great pride in his family and loved spending time with his grandchildren not just teaching them, but learning all the latest humor. It may have been inappropriate for his own children, but became hilarious when told by his grandchildren. He felt a strong obligation to his grandparents and great grandparents who immigrated from Germany taking on many hardships to help future generations. And, given he has one last captive audience of sorts...would take this opportunity to remind everyone to leave the world better than you found it. He certainly did.
He is survived by wife Beth, children, grandchildren, great grandchild, and brother Dave. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Tom and infant brother. His wish was to be cremated and given back to the earth to return part of what it has provided to him throughout his life.
Memorials can be sent to the Parkinson's Foundation, Christ Lutheran Church, or to the family for a scholarship for the University Nebraska Rodeo Club.