Gene Martin Nielsen, 93, lifelong Keith County rancher, died July 14, 2021, at the Perkins County Community Hospital in Grant. He was born June 25, 1928, in Ogallala to Martin and Theresa (Feltz) Nielsen. He grew up on the ranch east of Ogallala, which has been in the family for over 100 years. He graduated from Ogallala High School in 1946. He married his high school sweetheart Elaine McKeag on June 1, 1950. The couple made their home on the ranch and had six children together. Gene was an active member of St. Luke's Catholic Church and served as a parish trustee. An avid reader and library patron, he also served on the board of trustees of the local public library.
He will be remembered for his devotion to his family, strong faith, kind heart, skill with livestock and machinery, and lively intelligence.
He is survived by three daughters: Melody (Kelly) McGowan of Columbus, Kirsten Macdissi of Fort Calhoun, and Elise (Kevin) Lockhart of Ogallala; two sons: Martin (Jackie) of Loveland, CO and Matt (Laura) of Ogallala; 12 grandchildren: James (Stephanie) McGowan of Omaha, Anthony (Melissa) McGowan of Omaha, Nicholas (Christie) Nielsen of Erie, CO, Monica (John) Doherty of Fort Collins, CO, Erica (Robert) DiRocco of Houston, TX, Lucas Nielsen (Becky Adair) of Ogallala, Jenny Nielsen of Ogallala, Adam (Kristen) Macdissi of Omaha, Anthony (Sarah) Macdissi of Omaha, Elena (Joshua) Barker of Roca, NE, Theresa (Alex) Knobbe of Omaha, and Phoebe Lockhart (Aaron Collins) of Boston, MA; 20 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law Gail Anderson of Tensleep, WY and Mary Ann Anderberg of Arthur; brother-in-law Delbert (Carolyn) McKeag of Ogallala, and numerous other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife Elaine, infant son John, infant sister Mary, and son-in-law Tom Macdissi.
A memorial has been established to St. Luke's School. Condolences may be shared at prairiehillsfuneralhome.com, where the services will be streamed live.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 20 at St. Luke's Catholic Church with Father Bryan Ernest as celebrant. Burial will be in the Ogallala Cemetery.
Memorial book signing will be on Monday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Prairie Hills Funeral Home in Ogallala. Rosary will be recited at 6:00 p.m. Monday, July 19, at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala is in charge of arrangements.