Ernest John Wempen, 91, of rural Overton, Nebraska, died Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, surrounded by his loving family at his home.
Ernie was born August 11th, 1926, at Sumner, Nebraska to Henry John and Martha (Baker) Wempen. He grew up near Sumner until 1959, when he moved north of Overton, Nebraska.
He was united in marriage to Leila Douglass Runge on October 16, 1971, in Sumner, Nebraska. She preceded him in death on October 18, 1996. He then found love again with Kathryn Henry VanCleave, and they were married August 14th, 1999, at Miller, Nebraska. Although Ernest had no children of his own, he loved and cared for his stepchildren, and special nieces, and nephews as his own.
When asked if Ernie had any special hobbies the family smiled and said, “Working the cattle” was his hobby. He loved being outdoors, fixing fence, going to the sale barn, where he loved to visit. He enjoyed dancing and spent many a Saturday evening at the Miller Dance Hall. He so loved being with the family, socializing, and had a very wry sense of humor. Ernie was special in so many ways. He was born with juvenile cataracts, and although blind throughout his entire life, he could tell you how much a steer or cow weighed within a few pounds, how much it brought within a few pennies as soon as the auctioneer was finished. He was truly an amazing man.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Kathryn of Overton, Nebraska; stepson, Jody (Kathy) VanCleave of Papillion, Nebraska; stepdaughters, Julie (Greg) Brauer of Elm Creek, Nebraska, Tami (Keith) Stombaugh of Cozad, Nebraska, and Sharon (Ed) Antonio of Albuquerque, New Mexico; stepdaughter-in-law, Linda Runge of Grand Island, Nebraska; two sisters-in-law, Beverly Wempen of Overton, Nebraska, and Delna Wempen of Minden, Nebraska; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, special nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Ernie was preceded in death by his first wife, by his parents; two brothers, Cecil and Henry, Jr.; one sister Mary Ann Barth; and one stepson, Larry Runge.
Funeral Services were held Monday, September 11th, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. at United Methodist Church in Elm Creek, Nebraska with Reverend Dennis Wheeler officiating.
Burial will be in the Armada Cemetery north of Miller, Nebraska.
Visitation was held Sunday, September 10th, 2017 at the Reynolds-Love Funeral Chapel in Lexington.
Memorials are suggested to the United Methodist Church in Overton, the Overton Volunteer Fire Department, or the Donor’s Choice.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to have assisted the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com.