Funeral services for Loretta Diane (Armstrong) Belknap, age 69, of Hemingford, NE will be at 10:00 AM on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the Open Door Church in Hemingford, NE with Pastor Steve Ratzlaff officiating.
A memorial has been established for the Circle of Light Foundation. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE69337.
Loretta was called home to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 8, 2017 while at home and surrounded by her family and loved ones, following a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. She fought cancer like a hellcat and never let it get the best of her positive attitude.
Loretta was born on March 25, 1948 in Des Moines, IA. Her parents, Mervin and Ethel (McNicols) Armstrong, raised their family, which included a younger sister and brother, on a small farm outside Earlham, IA.
At the tender age of 17, while working at the local Dairy Queen, a friend told her about a bunch of “good lookin’ construction guys” Loretta just had to meet. Loretta thought this was a terrible idea until she clamped eyes on one, Michael Belknap. Mike thought she was a pretty girl and Loretta announced she’d just met the man she was going to marry. Loretta and Mike dated for the rest of Loretta’s high school days. Next she attended and graduated from Surgical Technician Training at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, IA, all while continuing to date Mike. Loretta then decided to further her career in healthcare by attending Mercy College of Nursing, and it’s a good thing she and Mike were still dating, because Loretta needed help paying for her Chemistry class so she could graduate with her Diploma in Nursing. After graduating from Nurses Training in 1974, Loretta moved to Hot Springs, SD to be closer to Mike (they were still dating…) and to begin work as a Student RN while she awaited the results of her Board of Nursing exam. After officially becoming an RN, Loretta continued to date Mike while she worked at the VA Hospital in Hot Springs. Finally, after Christmas 1974 came and went without a proposal from the man she’d now been dating for a decade, she informed Mike that he could either marry her or she was moving to California. The couple was joined together in Holy Matrimony at the United Methodist Church in Hot Springs, SD on January 31, 1975.
After the wedding, Mike and Loretta relocated to a ranch south of Chadron, NE, and Loretta took a job at Chadron Community Hospital. In 1978, they welcomed their first child, Lynette Renee, and Lisa Diane followed in 1981. Mike and Loretta purchased their own piece of Valhalla in 1986, where they raised their girls and celebrated the arrival of their four grandchildren over the next 30 years.
Loretta always believed being a nurse was her true calling in life. Over the course of her vast nursing career, Loretta worked in nearly every facet of healthcare, from administration to home health, as well as going on several medical missions to Jamaica, Haiti, and the jungles of Nicaragua. Loretta greatly valued education as a crucial part of nursing and went back to school to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After earning her BSN, she immediately turned her sights towards a Master’s of Science degree, which she earned from Chadron State College in 2016.
Loretta was thrilled to witness the marriage of both of her daughters to gentlemen of whom she thoroughly approved. Lisa married Andrew Mullen on May 16, 2015, and Lynette married Calvin Williams on July 4, 2016. Loretta was very pleased with the addition of both of these fellows and frequently told people she couldn’t have picked better partners for her girls had she tried…and she had tried!
The only thing Loretta loved more than being a nurse was being a grandma. She welcomed her first and only grandson, Dayde Michael, in 2001 and spent the rest of her life cheering him on in everything he did. In 2014, Lisa brought home her future husband Andrew, along with the first granddaughter, Natalie Elaine. Natalie and Grandma Retta spent several months getting to know one another while making chocolate chip cookies and playing school. Grace Renee joined the ranks of the grandchildren in July 2016 when her dad married Lynette, instantly becoming the senior member of the crew. Madelaine Diane was welcomed to the family later that same month and Loretta spent several months helping Lisa deal with a very beautiful, and equally fiery, little girl.
Loretta was preceded in death by parents Mervin and Ethel (McNicols) Armstrong, as well as numerous aunts and uncles.
She is survived by husband Mike Belknap, whom she loved madly for 52 years, calling him ‘husband’ for the past 42; daughters Lynette (Calvin) Williams of Billings, MT and Lisa (Andrew) Mullen of Hemingford, NE; grandchildren Grace Williams, Dayde Belknap, Natalie Mullen and Madelaine Mullen; sister Linda Algreen of Scottsdale, AZ; brother Ken (Diann) Armstrong of Amboy, WA; numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; many cousins; and a whole host of friends and neighbors whom she held as close as family.
Chamberlain Chapel is in charge of arrangements for Loretta Diane Belknap.