William G. Umberger, formerly of Elwood, passed away April 29, 2018 at the Aksarben Village Independent Living facility in Omaha at the age of 86.
William was born June 11, 1931 to Perry J. and Alice (Kolb) Umberger on the Umberger ranch southwest of Elwood, Nebraska, in the same bedroom where his father was born in 1895. William had two sisters to greet him, Mary Ellen and Janet.
Bill attended country school for eight years and then went to high school at the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis, Nebraska. He attended college at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, receiving an Associate degree in 1951. Bill returned to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in the fall of 1951, was accepted into the Advanced ROTC program and received a Bachelor degree in Agronomy.
William married Shirley I. Miles on August 10, 1952 at the Christian Church in Elwood, Nebraska. They moved to Lincoln where Bill finished his schooling and Shirley taught Home Economics in Eagle, Nebraska. Bill was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the United States Army in 1953. When Bill was called to active duty, Shirley accompanied him to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma where they lived in Lawton, Oklahoma for 8 months. Bill went to Karlsruhe, Germany as an artillery officer in July of 1953 and Shirley was able to join him in November. While Bill was stationed in Germany for 16 months, he and Shirley traveled all over Europe.
After Bill's discharge from the Army in 1955, the couple returned to the family ranch southwest of Elwood. Four children were born to their family between January of 1957 and November of 1963: Laura Ann, Julia Ruth, Patrick Miles and Mary Lynne. Bill continued to farm and raise cattle and hogs while Shirley taught school.
In 1972, Bill became the Director of the Soil and Water Conservation District in Holdrege, Nebraska. Bill served as the director until 1978 when the Soil and Water Conservation District transitioned into the Natural Resources District. Bill was the Manager of the Tri-Basin Natural Resources District in Holdrege from 1978 until his retirement in 1995.
The Umberger Ranch was recognized in 1985 by the Knights of AK-SAR-BEN and The Nebraska Association of Fair Managers with the Nebraska Pioneer Farm Award for long and meritorious service to agriculture, as exemplified by continued ownership within the family of the same Nebraska farm for 100 years or more. Bill and Shirley retired to Omaha, Nebraska in 2007.
William was baptized as a young man at the First United Methodist Church in Elwood, Nebraska and was an active member of the church until his death. Bill was also a member of the Tahama Shriner's Association, and was honored for 60 years of service as a Master Mason of Thistle Lodge No. 61. He was an active member of the American Legion Post of Elwood and called bingo and worked the Legion food booth at the Gosper County Fair for many years.
William was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley in 2016; his parents; 2 sisters, Mary Ellen Balke and Janet Schutz; sister-in-law, Gloria MacEwen; 4 brothers-in-law, Larry Miles, G.A. MacEwen, Ted Schutz and Harold Balke.