Walter E. Mannel, 86

Walter E. (Walt) Mannel passed away unexpectedly Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, at the Melham Medical Center in Broken Bow. He was 86 years of age. Walt was born Oct. 24, 1924, in the same house he resided in until his retirement to a house in Broken Bow in the 1990s. Walt spent his life farming and raising cattle near Victoria Creek in northern Custer County. He attended the same one room school his father attended, and graduated from Gates High School before marrying Kathryn Bartak of Merna, June 2, 1947. Walt anticipated the renewal of life every year at calving time, even though it sometimes made for restless nights with frequent trips to the barn to see that the new arrival had the best start possible. He was mechanically inclined and became adept at an early age to innovate with whatever was on hand to get the job done. Walt dearly loved the companionship of several dogs that eagerly rode shotgun on the daily excursions in the pastures to make sure the water was flowing cool and clear, the cows well fed, and the rabbits sufficiently exercised if rarely caught. Retirement brought a time for relaxation and the opportunity to enjoy the company of old buddies, close neighbors and a childhood friend who would frequently drop by in the afternoon to share memories while playing a game or two of pool on the table that came with the well-deserved house in town. He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna and Frank; sister, Frances (Hanna); brothers and sisters-in-law, Walter Hanna, Frank and Marjorie Bartak, Clyde Bartak, and nieces. Walt is survived by his wife, Kathryn Mannel of Broken Bow; son, Jim Mannel of Lincoln, and daughter, Karen and Rod Strickler of Grand Island. Funeral services will be Thursday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. at Govier Brothers Chapel in Broken Bow with Pastor Todd Karges and Pastor Don Schauda officiating. Burial will be in the Broken Bow Cemetery with Govier Brothers Mortuary of Broken Bow in charge of arrangements. Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society, or Heritage Hall Nursing Home.Published in Custer County Chief, Sept. 29, 2011