Wayne Leonard Gerdes was born April 30, 1953 in Auburn, Nebraska. One of five children of Leonard Thomas and Pearle (Gebers) Gerdes, he was baptized May 29, 1953 at St. Paul (Hickory Grove) Lutheran Church and confirmed March 19, 1967 at St. John (Stone) Lutheran Church. Wayne attended school in Johnson, Nebraska, and graduated from Johnson-Brock High School in 1971. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for one year. On June 17, 1972 Wayne was united in marriage to Cynthia Volker at St. James (Long Branch) Lutheran Church near Humboldt, Nebraska. They were blessed with six children. Cynthia passed away November 13, 1995. Wayne married Cheryl (Rieken) Gerdes on July 12, 1997. This union brought Cheryl’s five children into Wayne’s family. Cheryl passed away November 9, 2010. Wayne farmed after high school for many years. He went back to school at Peru State College while farming, and graduated in December of 1993 as a CPA. He worked as an accountant in Marysville and Beattie in Kansas and Pawnee City, Nebraska until 1998, when he bought the gas station in Johnson. In addition to selling gas and working on vehicles, he operated the station as a convenience store, eating place, and coffee shop. Wayne was a member of St. James (Long Branch) Lutheran Church near Humboldt, and served on the Johnson Volunteer Fire Department. He contributed in many ways to the community. Wayne was a humble and giving man, and he loved his grandkids. He would travel many miles to witness an activity of a grandchild. He also enjoyed gardening in his spare time. In June of 2014 Wayne met his fiancée Pamela Johnson. He enjoyed spending time with her at her home on Beaver Lake near Murray, Nebraska. Wayne was involved in an accident while working on a car at Pam’s house, and was rushed to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He passed away there that same evening on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the age of 63 years, 5 months, and 5 days. In addition to his wives, Cynthia and Cheryl, he was preceded in death by his father Leonard, fathers-in-law Otto Volker and Henry Rieken, and grandson Damian Gerdes. Wayne is survived by his children and spouses Jeremy and Jana of Johnson; Christopher and Dana of Chester; Philip and Crystal of Auburn; Nathaniel and Alecia of Johnson; Michelle and Douglas Hoff of Rosemount, Minn.; Randall of Johnson; grandchildren Katelyn, Devin, Cedric, David, Zandra, Eliah, Isaac, Thomas, Ellanor, Austin, Alerik, Vivian, Serena, Josias, Levi, Malachi, August, and Sophia; step-children Trisha (Joel) Kelsay of Auburn; Tonya (Chris) Kramer of Johnson; Brian Gerdes of Omaha; Shari (Gabe) Berglund of Brock; Ashley Caspers of Lincoln; step-grandchildren Alissa, Cade, Mackenzi, Holden, and Haidyn; mother Pearle Gerdes of Auburn; sisters and brothers Barbara (Roy) Fife of Overland Park, Kan.; James (Joyce) of Auburn; Vernon (Carin) of Auburn; Patricia Fiorese of Auburn; mother-in-law Helen Volker; sisters-in-law Jeanne (Jim) Haith; Barbara (Dave) Ahlschwede; Lisa (Danny) Wenzl; brother-in-law Brad (Janice) Volker; mother-in-law Vera Rieken; brother-in-law Craig (Gina) Rieken; fiancée Pamela Johnson of Beaver Lake; her children Jennifer (Marc) Peter; Michael Johnson; Bobby (Jenn) Johnson; Pam’s grandchildren Jordan, Kyle, Sydney, Regan, Brody, Quinten, Creighton, Rhiannon, Jesse, and Eli and great-grandchild Mason; 20 nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends. A funeral service was Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at St. James (Long Branch) Lutheran Church near Humboldt, officiated by Pastors Eric and Amalia Spruth-Janssen. Carolyn Hahn was organist and accompanist for a solo by Andy Oestmann and congregational hymns. Casket bearers were Eric Bohling, Dale Bohling, Lanny Gerdes, Gary Volker, Doug Lueders, and Dale Ottemann. Honorary bearers were James Gerdes, Vernon Gerdes, Roy Fife, Brad Volker, Jim Haith, Dave Alschwede, Danny Wenzl, and Craig Rieken. Burial was in St. James Lutheran Cemetery. Services were entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.


Nemaha County Herald

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Auburn, NE 68305
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