Victor Bollwitt, age 98, of O’Neill, passed away Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill, NE.
Following his wishes, his body has been donated to science. A Private Family Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Inurnment will be in the O’Neill Cemetery at a later date. Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill is in charge of arrangements.
Victor Carl Bollwitt was born on July 2, 1918, to Carl Otto and Camille “Millie” (Tagel) Bollwitt at the family farm in Holt County. Vic lived with his parents and family on their farm until he was in the sixth grade. It was then that the family moved to the “Bollwitt Home Place” where his grandparents had established the family homestead. Vic was joined by his brothers and sisters, Richard William, Elfreda Millie (Pruden), Elizabeth Irene (Kaczor), Fredrick Sylvester and Virgil Jerome.
Vic attended his schooling, attending the rural grade school northeast of the Bollwitt Home Place. He learned the value of hard work, helping his father on the farm with planting, harvesting and raising livestock. Vic and Richard would spend their evenings playing baseball and developed a love for the game that would last a lifetime. Vic was a left-handed pitcher and both he and Richard played for several local teams for several years. Vic stopped playing ball on a regular basis when he was in his early 40’s.
A scout from the New York Yankees came to Holt County and talked with Vic about coming to try out for the team. He loved baseball and would like to have gone to play, but felt an obligation to stay on the farm and help his folks. He turned down the offer only to wonder what might have been. What if he would have gone? What if the scout had been from the St. Louis Cardinals (his favorite team) and not the Yankees (his least favorite team)?
Vic met Mabel Urban in 1941, and a few months later they were married on June 1, 1941 at the home of Mabel’s parents in Wheeler County. They began their married life on the same farm where Vic was born. On June 19, 1942, their first child, Duaine, was born. Duaine was later joined by six more siblings: Key, Gene, Shirley, Gary, Rita and Becki. In 1958, the family moved to an urban homestead in Wheeler County, where they farmed and ranched, raising their seven children. They received the Ak-Sar-Ben Pioneer Farm Family award in 1992 for continuing the farm in the same family since 1892.
Vic and Mabel retired from farming and ranching, moved to O’Neill, and built a new home in 1989.
Vic liked to drive to the ranch, especially in the first years after retiring. He also helped his son Gary with carpenter work from time to time. Vic continued his “farming” in town by planting an orchard of apple, pear, plum, cherry, and peach trees, as well as grape vines and strawberries. He grew a large garden every year with tomatoes he started in the house every February. Even when Vic was 90, he still continued to raise his garden and tend to his trees.
Vic is survived by his 6 children: Duaine Bollwitt and wife Josie, of Monticello, IA, Eugene Bollwitt and wife Lorinda of Great Falls, MT, Shirley Dillon and husband Roger of Ewing, NE, Gary Bollwitt and wife Melanie of O’Neill, NE, Rita Bollwitt of Belle Fourche, SD, and Rebecca Thunker and husband Jerome of Ewing, NE, 22 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, 2 step grandchildren, one sister-in-law, Doris Ann Bollwitt of Ewing, NE, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Mabel in 2014, one daughter, Karen Kay Green, one son-in-law, James Green, 3 brothers; Virgil, Fred, and Richard Bollwitt, and 2 sisters; Elfreda Pruden and Elizabeth “Betty” Kaczor.