LEORA LOIS KETTELHUT FREITAG
Leora Lois Kettelhut Freitag of Byron, NE graduated from her earthly life to her heavenly one December 12, 2020. Her faith in Jesus Christ, her love for her family, and hard work defined her.
Leora entered the world January 7, 1932, on a farm in Republic County, Kansas to George and Anna (Hoops) Kettelhut. Leora was baptized January 24, 1932, and later confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Byron on April 14, 1946. Her memory verse was Psalm 119: 113-115.
Leora graduated from Byron High School in 1949, where she met the love of her life, Verdell Freitag, and they were married on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951, at St. Peter Lutheran Church, rural Byron. Their German ancestry prepared them well with an amazing work ethic, and they created a life together upon this foundation laid before them by their parents, with faith in God, laced with humor, fun, and family.
Leora and Verdell were blessed with three children and they lived on two different farms before retiring to Byron in 1991. Leora taught herself to cook after getting married, as she always helped her father, and later, Verdell, outside with farming and chores. Even in her last year, she was asked if she missed cooking, and she laughed and said, “No, but I do miss my flowers and garden.” She was a master seamstress, having sewn clothing for her children, hundreds of quilts and her daughter’s wedding dress. Leora loved her animals, and her fondest childhood memories included her speckled rooster, baby chicks, pheasants and turkeys she raised. Over the years, she expanded that list with sheep, hogs, chickens, peacocks, ducks, and geese, in addition to the cattle and horses on the farm. Leora taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and served on numerous church committees during her life. She especially enjoyed making quilt tops for Lutheran World Relief.
Leora worked outside of the home and was one of only two secretaries at Reinke Manufacturing in the early 1960’s for five years. She said her greatest fear was falling off a ladder, maybe because she painted her way across Thayer County for several decades, from family homes and barns to the courthouse. She also cleaned the Byron School for a few years with her dear friend, Roberta Kemper.
After the kids left home, she had more time to socialize and enjoyed her women’s club, bowling, quilt guild, and bible study group, and she and Verdell enjoyed vacationing in Arizona over the winter for a number of years.
Leora is preceded in death by her beloved husband and parents; sister, Verla Heitmann; brothers-in-law Willis Gass, Marvin Freitag, Orin Freitag; sisters-in-law Hildreth Freitag, Deanna Freitag, Adalene (Freitag) Schlueter.
She is survived by children: Don and wife DeEtte of Holdrege; Lonny and wife Jan of rural Byron; Evonne and husband Bill Williams of Omaha.
Leora was blessed with 8 grandsons and 18 great-grandchildren, 15 of whom she was able to meet before she died: Michael and his wife Amy (Aiden and Erin) of Kearney; Matthew and his wife Mandy (Liese and Eliana) of Omaha; Nate and his wife Stacey (Makenna, Brooke, Riley and Jordan) of Byron; Daniel and his wife Kasey (Ethan Twohig and Jace) of Holdrege; CPT(P) Ben Williams and his wife Michelle (Reagan, Ryan, Evelyn, Chloe) of Manhattan, KS; Tom Williams and his wife Jessica (George and Max) of Laguna Niguel, CA; Sam Williams and his wife Emily (Faye and Violet) of Omaha; Max Williams and his wife Jocelyn of Iwakuni, Japan.
Extended family members include: brother Willis Kettelhut and wife Marilyn; sister and best friend Jeanette and husband Richard Mohrmann; sister Joanne and husband Perry Jones; brother-in-law Lavern Heitmann; sister-in-law Fern and husband Gene Wittke; brother-in-law Arlen Schlueter; and many nieces and nephews.
Leora suffered a stroke January 3, 2019 and was a resident of Parkview Haven Nursing Home in Deshler, where she died at the age of 88 years. A special thank you to her sister, Jeanette, who called Leora every day after Verdell died, and continued to call and visit her frequently after Leora moved to Parkview Haven.
A graveside service conducted by grandson, Chaplain Michael Freitag, was held December 17 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, rural Byron, where she was buried next to her beloved husband, Verdell. Well done, good and faithful servant. Condolences may be left at www.krollfh.com. Kroll Funeral Home of Deshler, NE is in charge of arrangements.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
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