Donald LeRoy Nunnenkamp, 84, of North Platte peacefully passed away on March 24, 2021 surrounded by loved ones after a difficult battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
He was born on Feb. 24, 1937 to LeRoy Charles and Pauline Ruby (Conley) Nunnenkamp in the city of Sacramento, Ca.
He graduated from Grand Island Senior High in 1955 and went to work for Union Pacific Railroad. Donald worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 44 years retiring in 1999, working many jobs through the years ending as brakeman/conductor. He served in the National Guard.
In 1960 Donald married Geraldine (Geri) C. Hassett and to that union five children were born: Robyn Wright, Donna Meyer, Shannon (Ramon) Garcilazo, Michelle Miles, and Joel (Keri) Nunnenkamp. Don was like a grandfather to his children’s youngest brother, Aaron Nunnenkamp.
In 1979, Donald married Irene Contos and to this union Irene brought six children: Bobby Jo Nicholson, LeeAnn Gordon, Kathy Salazar, Judy (Tom) Rambo, Kevin (Heather) Williams, and Jason (Laurie Richman) Contos. Donald helped raise the two youngest boys and he had a special bond with the youngest Jason he was Jason’s dad.
One of his many projects was digging out a basement under his childhood home with his dad by hand. Don loved to garden and grew the best tomatoes, much to his children’s dismay he taught them how to weed and harvest the garden. The family enjoyed many special times at Cody Park. Don loved nature and enjoyed traveling to see his children and grandchildren.
He enjoyed the game of pool and could be found at the Eagles Club in the afternoons. On burger nights he took the opportunity to teach his sons Joel and Jason how to play pool. He was an avid Husker fan, watching the games at the Eagles or Brother’s. He was called Nooner by his friends and Smoking Joe by fellow coworkers.
On Friday afternoons he would meet up with a dear friend Don Tuma for beers and keno. Joel and Robyn always made it possible to take dad to Fonner Park to enjoy the ponies. Don was surprised with an 80th birthday celebration at Fonner Park which he enjoyed tremendously.
He is survived by his daughters, Robyn Wright, Donna Meyer, Shannon (Ramon) Garcilazo, Kathy Salazar, and Judy (Tom) Rambo; sons, Joel (Keri) Nunnenkamp, Jason (Laurie Richman) Contos, Kevin (Heather) Williams, and Bobby Jo Nicholson; 30 grandchildren; 44 great grandchildren; and many more that called him Grandpa or Papa Don.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy and Pauline Nunnenkamp; sister and brother-in-law, Joy and Ron Berck; grandparents, John and Lena Conley and Louis F. and Luella Nunnenkamp; daughters, Michelle Miles and LeeAnn Gordon; grandsons, Ryan Meyer and Brandon Salazar; granddaughter, Jessica Rambo; great granddaughter, Kiana Meyer; and great grandson, Braxton Meyer.
Graveside services will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 10 at Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Island with Pastor Daniel Bremer officiating. The family is requesting Husker or casual wear.
Cards may be sent to the Family at Donna Meyer 623 West 7th street, North Platte, NE. Carpenter Memorial Chapel is entrusted with arrangements.
In Lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson research P.O. Box 5014 Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or online at michealjfox.org. Online condolences and sharing of memories may be directed to carpentermemorial.com.