05/01/2017 - Verne Lewellen
92-year old Verne Lewellen of Scottsbluff died Friday, April 21, 2017 at his home surrounded by his loving family. His memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Monday, May 1, 2017 at Mitchell Federated Church with Pastor Dr. Charles Richardson officiating.
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At his request, cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation. The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials in Verne’s honor be made in care of Mitchell Federated Church, or Special Olympics. Online condolences may be left at www.jones-mortuary.com.
Verne was born September 6, 1924 in Lincoln, NE to Leland and Lorena Maupin Lewellen. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, all deceased. He received his K-12 education in the Minatare schools, graduating in 1942.
While in high school, he was a member of the 1940 state basketball runner-up, the 1941-42 state champion football and track teams, and state qualifying basketball team. As a senior, he was 1st trumpet in the band.
Verne joined the US Army in May, 1943 and after basic training, was assigned to the 16th Armored Division of General George Patton’s 3rd Army. His main responsibility was a tank driver (although he was qualified to drive all other Army vehicles) through France and Germany.
The division was prepared to go from Europe to the Pacific, but then the war ended due to the atomic bombs being dropped on Japan.
The 16th AD was given the honor of being the lead division into Czechoslovakia where the war in Europe ended. Because of that, Verne returned after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1990 for 17 celebrations honoring the American Veterans
He received many honors from the Czechoslovakian government before the country split in 1993 and Czech Republic after 1993. He was an honorary citizen of many towns and cities in Bohemia as well as honorary member of many Czech clubs.
Following his release from the Army, Verne enrolled at Chadron State College where he played four years on the famed Purple Passion football team that won two Nebraska Conference championships. He was elected to the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the charter class in 1983 and was given the prestigious Chadron State College Distinguished Alumni Award in 1986.
Verne married Erma Gold on August 20, 1950 in Chadron at the Methodist Church. After graduating from CSC in 1950, he became head coach at Hay Springs for three years, eight years at Chadron as head basketball coach and Junior High Principal (his 1961 Chadron High team won the State Championship in basketball after leading two other teams to state).
He then left coaching to become a superintendent, serving five years as Superintendent at Rushville and 19 years as Superintendent of the Mitchell schools. He was honored by Mitchell schools upon his retirement by having the weight room building named in his honor.
Verne was a life member of the American Legion, VFW, BPOE, and Former member of the Sugar Valley Barbershop Singers. He was active in the Federated Church for years where he sang in the choir, served as an elder and deacon, and chairman of Stewardship and Finance and Missions Committee.
Verne is survived by his wife Erma; son Curtis of Scottsbluff; daughter Tammi (Steve) Greenlee of Scottsbluff; grandchildren Shantell Lewellen, Chase Greenlee, and Myah Greenlee; and greatgrandchildren Andrew and Katalia Adams.
The family would like to give a special thanks to Regional West Hospice and their staff for all their kindness and wonderful care during this time.
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