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Bob Kassmeier

A Celebration of Life service for Robert Kassmeier, 88, of Dodge will be held on Bob’s birthday, Monday, Feb. 16, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Howells.

The family will greet friends starting at 4 p.m. followed by a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. with a reception in St. John’s School after the service.

Bob was born Feb. 16, 1926, on the family farm in Colfax County. He was the last of nine children born to John and Elizabeth (Liekhus) Kassmeier. Bob received his formal education at Sacred Heart Academy in Olean. He rode his horse the four miles to Olean until the eighth grade, when he drove a 1927 Whippet to school. He did not get to attend high school because his parents needed him on the farm. He successfully developed and expanded the farm, making it his lifelong profession. He was a self-taught welder, mechanic and brilliant engineer. He loved being in his shop, where he spent thousands of hours building machinery and farm implements.


In addition to farming, Bob did custom farm work, including corn shelling and grinding, combining and hay baling. Bob designed and built their current family home in 1968, just 15 feet from the home where he was born.

On April 11, 1951, Bob married Frances Clare Wisnieski at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Dodge. Bob was a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Parish at Olean, served on the Colfax County ASC Committee for several years, was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Howells Bowling Team which he sponsored, and the Howells Jaycees when it was active. He enjoyed time with his family, grandchildren and great-grandchild, as well as his nieces and nephews.

Bob passed away peacefully in his sleep Feb. 2, 2015, just two weeks before his 89th birthday. His wish was granted, as he hoped to pass on the home place, where he had lived his entire life.

Fran Kassmeier

Departed this life the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

The oldest child of Frank and Ida (Schmueker) Wisnieski, she was preceded in death by her parents; a younger brother, Francis Marlin Wisnieski, an infant who died in 1937 at the age of 4 months; and her husband of almost 64 years, Robert (Bob) F. Kassmeier.

Survivors include her children, Randy, Rodney (Mary), Vicki (Stuart) Denker and Kathy (Dan) Lanphier; grandchildren, Bob (Ellen) Kassmeier and their children Evelyn and June, Jaclyn Kassmeier (partner Adam Orand) and Jake, Joey and Jenna Denker; sister, Jeanette Wieberg; brother-in-law, Doc Wieberg; and cousins, nephews and nieces.


Fran attended Sacred Heart Olean School and graduated from Dodge High School. Following high school, Fran enrolled at the University of Nebraska, transferred to Duchesne College in Omaha, then after her marriage on April 11, 1951, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dodge, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1965. Mrs. Kassmeier, as she was known for many years, taught at District 45 in Dodge County, Brunswick, Snyder and St. Wenceslaus in Dodge. She retired from teaching in 1983.

Following her teaching career Fran earned her license to sell insurance and represented German Mutual Insurance Company through the Scribner Insurance Agency. She also became a news correspondent for the Schuyler Sun, reporting the Howells news.

Fran joined many political, civic and social organizations. She served as Democratic Central Committeewoman of Legislative District 18. Fran and Bob hosted fundraisers for various candidates running for state and federal legislative offices and the Nebraska governorship.

Fran was elected to serve as a member of the Dodge School Board beginning in the 1980s through 2011. During various terms she served as secretary and president.

In 1999, Fran assisted in writing and editing Sacred Heart Olean’s 125th anniversary history book.

Fran joined GFWC Howells Woman’s Club in September 1957 and remained a member until June 1977. She renewed her membership in September 1984 and remained a member until her death. During the second membership, in 1987, Fran joined a committee of club members in organizing, gathering and compiling recipes and proofreading the Howells Centennial Cookbook, which is still sold and remains one of the club’s most profitable projects. The club chose Fran as president in 1985-87, 1989-92 and 2004-06.

The Woman’s Club evolved into one of her passions and Fran held many offices in the Nebraska Federation of Women’s Club, including ways and means chairman, education chair, treasurer, second vice president and president from 1998 to 2000. She became a member of the GFWC Past State Presidents Club. She loved attending the monthly meetings, Mother’s Day banquets and Christmas parties.

Fran specifically requested that her obituary include mention of her membership in the Nebraska Admirals Association, an association formed by those who have been honored by the governor of Nebraska with an Admirals certificate to promote and enjoy tourism in the state of Nebraska. Proud of this appointment by the governor to the title of “Admiral” in a state without a navy, Fran loved Nebraska and made certain her family and friends enjoyed Nebraska’s many treasures.

With this love of her home state, Fran cheered the Huskers. She also enjoyed many state football championship games and NFL games.

 She loved her home, which she often opened to the public for fundraisers.

Really proficient on the computer, Fran renewed many friendships through her Facebook page and emails. She became quite the eBayer.

And yet, with all these accomplishments, one of her greatest hobbies and loves always remained driving a car.

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