Gailen Wilbur Heidzig was born to Wilbur and Lorene (Hobleman) Heidzig on June 18, 1939. He was also loved and cared for by his grandparents, Henry and Mary Heidzig. Gailen was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn and was a life-long member.

After graduating from Auburn High School in 1957, Gailen took a bus ride to California to make his way in the world. For a short time, he worked at General Motors and from that time forward he was a Chevy man. When the layoffs started, Gailen decided to join the Air Force. While in the Air Force, he was trained as an electrician. His last year in the service was spent at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, and he was honorably discharged in 1962.

Gailen was married in 1959, and to this marriage was born four children: Pamela, Doreen, Nicol, and Chad. The couple would later divorce.

During those first years after his service, Gailen began a new career working construction and learning to be a crane operator. Gailen never drove past a construction site that he didn’t have to stop and check out what size crane they were using for the job. In later years, Gailen went back to his electrical training and worked for Nebraska Public Power District, until retiring in 2005. Throughout all his years of employment, Gailen also ranched, raising Brangus cattle and we must never forget his baby, Old General the bull, his pride and joy.

In 1985, a new life began. A stop at Wheeler Inn on a Saturday night began a love that would last beyond forever. Trips to Colorado would follow from that chance meeting and carried on into marriage and a blended family. Her maiden name was Phyllis Oakley and they had known each other since school days.

After a short time in Texas, Gailen and Phyllis moved back to their hometown of Auburn to raise their two youngest sons, Chad and Dan. In 1999, they built their dream home in Johnson, and Gailen finally got to build the shop that he had always wanted.

Gailen is survived by his wife Phyllis Oakley Heidzig; children Pamela Heidzig, Doreen (Tom) Gulizia, Nicol Heidzig, Chad (Danielle) Heidzig; step-children Darren Jorgensen, Kym (Cristina) Jorgensen, Helen (Greg) Debus, Shelly (Harvey) Pierce, Sonia (Richard) Black, Dr. Dan (Amy) Jorgensen; 22 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren +1 on the way; brother Robert (Lora) Heidzig; nieces, nephews, cousins, and many, many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, and sister Barbara Jean Daniels.

A memorial service was Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn, officiated by Rev. Ken Miller. Edith Schlange was accompanist for congregational singing. Urn bearers were grandsons Matt Gulizia, T.J. Gulizia, Lance Gulizia, Ethan Heidzig, and Steven Jorgensen. Burial of ashes was in St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery at Auburn.

Services were entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.

Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273