Gene F. Meyers, 90, of O’Neill, NE passed away June 14, 2015 at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill. He had been recovering from a broken leg suffered two weeks previously. Services will be held Wednesday, June 17 at 11 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in O’Neill with Pastor John Ryding officiating. Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Tuesday with a Prayer Service at 7 p.m. at Biglin’s Mortuary with burial in the Ainsworth City Cemetery.
Gene Francis Meyers was born to Vern and Anna (Hollopeter) Meyers on August 19, 1924 at their ranch home south of Ainsworth, NE. He was their first child followed by a daughter, Marian and a second son, Lynn. He attended rural school Districts #62 and #58, riding a horse to and from school. When he was seven years old he contracted infantile paralysis (polio) which left him with a permanent impairment of his right leg, causing him to wear a brace. He enjoyed life and never thought of himself as handicapped. As a teenager he was baptized in the Calamus River south of Ainsworth. As a young man, while still at home, he and his Dad did custom hay mowing in the Sandhills area. He still yearned to be on a tractor again and back in the mowing business. He attended high school in Ainsworth but did not graduate. Later in life he took a college entrance exam and attended Norfolk Junior College where he made the Dean’s Honor Roll. It gave him a sense of pride and confidence and he was a strong supporter of Northeast Community College in O’Neill. He loved music and mastered the saxophone which he played at many small country dances.
In 1942 he worked on the Air Force Base in Alliance. As a young man Gene began working in dry cleaning establishments in Ainsworth and built his first dry cleaners in Mullen, NE in 1947. This was his first love and he eventually owned and operated dry cleaning businesses in Ansley, Stanton, Plainview and O’Neill. While at O’Neill he built an addition to his building and installed equipment for hospital laundry and serviced Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital and West Holt Hospital for eight years until his 1998 retirement. He loved to build. This included buildings to picnic tables to small wooden toys. He was an electrician and a plumber in his own businesses. He never stopped being active or involved even as his mobility decreased. He also owned a tavern in Brewster, NE and a Gambles Store in Sargent, NE. He loved cars. Especially antique cars and trucks to Lincoln Continental Marks, and owned many in his lifetime. He liked to build floats and take part in parades, while still working a more than full-time job.
In September 1947 he married Ellen Fern Smith and they were the parents of three children, Patricia, Deborah and Leon. They later divorced.
On June 19, 1964 he married Joyce Predmore Allison in Carson City, Nevada. They were blessed with one son, Todd. They enjoyed working together jointly in their combined businesses of dry cleaners and beauty salon for 34 years until a health issue forced Gene to retire in 1998. He retired from work but not life and even though his mobility was limited more and more each year he found freedom with an electric scooter and his artistic talents. He enjoyed his time by painting over 80 large paint-by-number pictures during the last 10 years. Gene loved to celebrate Christmas and enjoyed buying presents for all of his family. He had a wonderful sense of humor and liked to reminisce and share stories with family and friends.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Vern and Anna Meyers; sister and brother-in-law, Marian and Everett Williams; sister-in-law, Dixie Meyers; grandson, Jeremy Miller; and stepgrandson, Trevor Andelt.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughters Patricia (Tim) Nichelson of Ashland; Deborah Laible (Bob Oetter) of Orchard; sons Leon (Jacque) Meyers of O’Neill; Todd Meyers of Rochester, MN; stepson Lonnie (Barb) Allison of Kearney; and stepdaughter Jeanne (Frank) Andelt of Lincoln; brother Lynn Meyers of Valentine; 15 grandchildren and stepgrandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers are Steve Williams, Tim Nichelson, Frank Andelt, Dustin Robertson, Rob Predmore and Mitch Becker. Honorary pallbearers are Lee Smith and Gary Predmore.
Memorials may be given to Northeast Community College of O’Neill, Christ Lutheran Church of O’Neill, and O’Neill Fire and Rescue.