Katherine Jane “Kathy” Gilligan Manning, 78, passed peacefully from her earthly home and into the Heavenly realm into the loving arms of Jesus March 6, 2013, at Linden Court in North Platte.
She was born the third child and only daughter to Nick and Hilda (Sauerberg) Gilligan Aug. 29, 1934, on the family farm outside of Milburn that her grandfather homesteaded.
Kathy attended grade school at Milburn by traveling horseback or walking the mile and a half with her older brothers with whom played many practical pranks!
She attended high school at the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture at Curtis where she met and made many lifelong friends, including her husband of over 50 years. Mart W. Manning and Katherine Gilligan were married Dec. 28, 1950, at Seward.
They lived and loved most of their married life on the home ranch north of Thedford, where they were partners in life and raised their four children. As a family they worked hard, always having fun and playing harder. There were no limits on all of the fun adventures and there were no boundaries put on their childrens’ imaginations and curiosities!
In the early years, every Sunday afternoon was spent at a local lake, grilling hamburgers over an open pit, swimming and water skiing until their children started rodeoing. Everything was done as a family and Kathy laughed many times when she recalled the story of one of their sons coming home from a dance and telling her “it just wasn’t as much fun without you and Dad there.”
Her children always knew there was a God because we could see His love for us through their mother Katherine! Kathy cooked for the hay crew and extended family every summer, as well as filled in on any of the tractors, wherever she was needed. The Manning door was always open and many Sunday mornings they awoke to a living room with one or more guests that their children had brought home from the night before. They always took the time and enjoyed visiting whenever any of their neighbors or a stranger stopped in. The living room was always full on Nebraska football game day where everyone enjoyed Kathy’s chili and cinnamon rolls. Kathy loved to visit and socialize and never met a stranger.
She loved to fish, dance and hunt arrowheads. She took pride in her yard and drug alot of hoses to keep it watered and green. She was always one to stretch a penny and she could spot a bargain. She loved to shop at Goodwill and always dressed and looked like a million dollars.
Kathy loved her home and thought the Sandhills was the most beautiful of any place she had ever seen or visited and would tell you so when she returned home. Kathy commented many times that she never tired of the trip to Valentine and her favorite view was coming back home and seeing “Hack Berry Hill” at the Brownlee turnoff from the north.
Kathy was proud of her roots and her heritage, but her greatest pride was in family and her cherished grandchildren.
She is survived by her son, Bill (Marj) Manning of Valentine; her daughters, Ann (Rod) Warren of Thedford and Kari Sue Manning of Milburn;
ten grandchildren, Angie (Kevin) McCully, Nat (Mindy) Warren, Justina (Keven) Benscoter, Clayton (Tiffany) Manning, Erin Manning, Sara Manning (Jeremey), Matthew (Kelley) Manning, Kati Pearman (Kevin), Molli (Ford) Miller and Tammy (Mark) Swanson; 19 great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law and son-in-law Becky Manning and Lynn Pearman; two nephews; three nieces and their spouses; the Thayer family and many “adopted” children and grandchildren.
Katherine was preceded in death by her loving husband Mart in 2003 and their son Hain in 1999; her parents, Nick and Hilda; brothers, Tom and Bernard (Norma) Gilligan; her father and mother-in-law William H. and Eleanor Manning; brother-in-law Jack (Micky) Manning; sister-in-law Bee and special friend and dancing partner, Lester Thayer.
Many times Kathy pondered the eternity of the stars in the night time skies and tried to grasp the wonder of it all!
Mom - now you know! Now you know! Proverbs 31:28a “Her children arise and call her Blessed!”
A graveside service will be held Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. CDT at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Thedford, followed by a continued celebration of her life at the Thomas County Fair Building in Thedford. Pastor Lee Wonch will officiate.
Memorials may be given in her name to the Thomas County Fairgrounds or to the Hillcrest Cemetery.
Published in Custer County Chief March 14, 2013