After enjoying 99 years of life in Custer Center, Burnard Merle Whitney, died Friday, June 14, 2013, at Golden Living Center in Broken Bow. He was born May 16, 1914, to Harlen and Ollie (Street) Whitney in a sod home west of Broken Bow.
How does one sum up the life of a man who lived to be nearly 100 years old? Burnard was quite simply a farmer who loved the land where he was born, living within five miles of the original homestead all of his life. He was a part of the land and in some ways the land was a part of him.
February 11, 1939, he married Lucile Daily at Loup City, and after a year in the Prairie Center community, they moved to Custer Center. Two sons were born to this union: John and Clifford. Burnard's greatest joy was his family second only to his love of the Lord. His problems were of no concern to himself, but the problems and lives of his family not only enriched his, they were everything he ever cared about more than farming and the farm life he so enjoyed.
Solid and dependable, he was always ready with a smile, a hug, a kind word and genuine interest in those around him. His love of stories, popcorn, tomatoes and melons are memorable, along with his joy at family gatherings, playing cards, pool, and ping pong.
Survivors include son, John Whitney and wife Beth of Broken Bow; daughter-in-law, Darlene Whitney of Broken Bow; sister, Ruth McCauley of Grand Island; six grandchidren, Lynne (Jim) Purcell of Tucson, Ariz., Robin Whitney of Ansley, Mark Whitney of Beatrice, Becky (Bill) Stadler of Hatley, Wisc., Lori (Tim) Jensen of Grand Island, and Ron (Susan) Whitney of Lincoln; seven great-grandchildren; two step great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren and also his beloved cat, Sassy.
Burnard was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Lucile (just five months ago); his son, Clifford Whitney; and one sister and two brothers who died in infancy.
Funeral services will be Thursday, June 20, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Govier Brothers Chapel in Broken Bow with Pastor Larry DeMoss officiating. Burial will be in the Custer Center Cemetery near Broken Bow. Memorials may be made to Doulos Discovery Ministries, a mission in the Dominican Republic at which his great-grandaughter Ruth Jensen Cruz is serving.
Published in Custer County Chief, June 20, 2013