Bernard “Bernie” Francis Pieper, 90, of North Platte passed away on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.
Bernie was born on April 14, 1927 to Ernest A. and Elizabeth (Holtkamp) Pieper in Houghton, Iowa.
He entered the U.S. Marine Corps on Sept. 15, 1945 and served until Sept. 20, 1946 after which he returned home and graduated from St. John’s High School in 1947.
He met his future wife, Mary Evangeline Hahler, while she was visiting a friend in Iowa, and they were married on Aug. 30, 1952 in North Platte at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
The couple lived in Iowa briefly before moving to North Platte where Bernie farmed with his father-in-law John Hahler. He later began farming on his own.
The family business continued until shortly before his death. He was “someone who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says ‘I want to spend my life doing what dad does.’”
He was very involved in his community, being a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and passing his Catholic faith to his family. He served on the church’s finance committee, was a regular greeter at Mass and volunteered at the annual St. Pat’s BBQ since its beginning.
He was on the NPCS School Board and was a 4th degree in the Knights of Columbus, serving as 3rd degree Grand Knight and 4th degree Faithful Navigator. He and Mary are Wall of Honor recipients at the North Platte Catholic Schools as tireless volunteers and supporters.
He was named Outstanding Young Farmer by the North Platte Jaycees in 1957, was a past chair of the Nebraska Pork Producers, served as an original member of the Twin Platte NRD board, and past member of the Osgood School board.
He helped begin the pork breakfast for NebraskaLand Days and was a supervisor for the Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation District.
His innovative hog confinement system design earned national recognition and the June 1969 cover of Hog Farm Management magazine.
Bernie’s greatest joy was to leave everyone smiling.
In addition to Mary, his wife of 65 years, Bernie is survived by his children, Mary F. Wyatt, Kurt (Jeanne), and David (Ann), all of North Platte, John (Lyn) of Polk City, Iowa, Lisa of Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Kent (Marilyn) of Farnam, LynnAnn Scharf and Mark (Michelle), and Dr. Jay (Cindy), all of Lincoln, Kati (Rich) Odbert of Columbus, and Adam (Pam) of Richland; 35 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren; brother, William “Bud” (Glorine) Pieper of Ft. Madison, Iowa: and other family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant twins; in-laws, John and Mary Hahler; sisters, Marge and Agnes; and brothers, Henry, Bob, and John.
Mass of Christian Burial was on Feb. 5 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church with Rev. Josh Brown as celebrant. Burial followed at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery with military honors. Adams & Swanson Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Memorials are suggested to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church or the NPCS Endowment Trust and online condolences may be shared at adamsswanson.com.