WILLIAM "BILL" M. FRANKEN, 83 of Ogallala, passed away Thursday, September 13, 2018 at the Ogallala Community Hospital.
William M. Franken, son of Shirley W. and Lucille (Keith) Franken was born on Dec. 25, 1934 in Ogallala, Nebraska. He graduated from Ogallala High School in 1952, attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, followed by Colorado A&M in Fort Collins, CO where he continued his participation in Farm House Fraternity and on the livestock judging team.
Bill returned to join his parents on the family farm, expanding into cattle feeding where he maximized their corn crop by proving wet corn storage possible. He and his father were early innovators, embracing new technology for irrigated farming and cattle feeding.
As a youth he participated in trap shooting competitions with his Grandfather Franken and his father. He earned a reputation in his preteens for his skills in breaking blue rocks. His marksmanship skills carried into hunting, especially a love of goose hunting where many lifelong friends were made. Frequent visits to area sales barns to buy cattle expanded friendships. He enjoyed his special status of "Uncle Bill" by introducing his niece and nephews to fishing as well.
After purchasing his beloved Blue Creek property, "Little Thunder's Sanctuary", in Garden County, he developed a powerful bond with the Lakota Nation of South Dakota, inviting them onto his land, the historic site of the Battle of Blue Water. Bill loved a good storyteller, had a great sense of humor, and was modest about his achievements. Bill's artist's eye and respectful appreciation of nature's beauty inspired him to take many photographs.
Bill remained on the family farm until is health dictated that he move to Indian Hills Health Care in Ogallala where he resided his final years. He was a member of St. Luke's Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, National Guard and was on the Bank of Paxton's Board of Directors.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents Franken and Keith. He is survived by one sister, Kay Gamet and husband John; nephews Stephen (Kimberly) Gamet of Lincoln, Patrick Gamet of Ogallala, and niece Paige (Theresa Harich) Gamet of Minneapolis, MN, grandnieces Mikayla and Meredith Gamet, Leanne Gamet, Katherine Harich and grandnephew Jack Harich. Cousins include Jack (Charlotte) Frost, Pete (Wanda) Peters, Connie (Alvin) Siffring, Kerry Feltz Himler, Charles (Berla) Frost, and John (Penny) Feltz.
Memorials are suggested to St. Luke's Catholic Church or to the donor's choice in Bill's memory. Condolences can be shared at prairiehillsfuneralhome.com.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, September 17, 2018 at 10:00am at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala with Father Bryan Ernest as Celebrant. Burial will be in the Ogallala Cemetery.
Visitation will be Sunday from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, with a Rosary at 6:00pm, at Prairie Hills Funeral Home in Ogallala. The family will be greeting friends from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.