Ralph Anthony Heger, age 93 of Crofton, Nebraska died on Friday, June 24, 2016 at Avera Sister James Care Center in Yankton, SD.
Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Crofton, Nebraska with the Rev. Michael Schmitz officiating. Burial will be at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery in Crofton with military rites by the Crofton American Legion Post 128 and the Legion Riders. Visitation will be on Wednesday from 5- 7:00 p.m. with a Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m. at the Wintz Funeral Home in Crofton. Visitation will resume on Thursday, at church, one hour prior to services.
Pallbearers will be Mike Heger (Leonard), Mike Heger(Clarence), Jason Heger, Kathy Nohr, Gary Nohr, and Kevin Kremer.
Honorary pallbearers will be Gail and Wanda Peterson, Mike, Sharon and Tyler Zimmerman, John Nielsen, Linus and June Lange
Ralph Anthony Heger was born on June 15, 1923, to Frank and Anna (Schmidt) Heger at the family farm that his grandfather homesteaded east of Bow Valley, NE. He attended SS Peter and Paul Elementary school in Bow Valley. Ralph married Lillian Gass in Camp Hood, TX, just before he was sent overseas to fight in WWII. He served for two years in the military as a Tech Sgt. on Cebu Island in the Philippines and in the Occupation Army in Tokyo, Japan. The atomic bomb was dropped on Japan while he was in Cebu. He received the Combat Badge, the Liberation of the Philippines badge, and the Occupation of Japan badges. Ralph celebrated VE and VJ Days overseas.
After his return from military service, Ralph and Lillian lived briefly in Crofton and then in Yankton, SD where he was employed painting for Jerry Rupiper. They were blessed with two children, Elaine (Heger) Cox and Jeanne Heger. They began farming in 1948 in Obert, NE. They moved to Lindy one year later and farmed there for 38 years. In 1976 Ralph and Lillian built a house in the Maly Addition in Crofton, and Ralph retired from farming in 1987. After that they spent 30 years wintering in Arizona.
Ralph has been a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church since 1949. He was a lifetime member of the Crofton American Legion Post 128 and the Hartington VFW Post 5283. He previously served on the Addison Township Election Board and was a charter member of the Crofton Lakeview Golf Course.
Ralph's hobbies included restoring old cars and driving them in parades, gardening and card clubs. Everyone identified him with his black and red '48 Chevrolet with the amplified musical horn. He loved all kinds of music, especially polkas and waltzes. He also enjoyed dancing, playing cards with friends, fishing, traveling, and Nebraska football. He bowled for many years and he and Lillian golfed with the Happy Slicers. He donated two summers of volunteer labor to the building of the Crofton Lakeview Golf Course. Ralph had many fond memories of growing up with his 9 siblings along Bow Creek in Bow Valley where they would trap mink and muskrat, fish, swim and ice skate. One of his fondest recollections was the 8th grade reunion spearheaded by classmate Marcella (Wuebben) Anderson Hefner. Ralph will be remembered for his sense of humor; a friend quoted, "There's only ONE Ralph Heger. No one else fits the mold."
Ralph is survived by his wife of 71 years of Crofton; two daughters, Elaine (Bob) Cox of Phoenix, AZ, and Jeanne Heger of Lincoln, NE; grandson Patrick (Amy) Riesberg of Wayne, NE; granddaughter Sara (Joshuah) Spiekerman of Phoenix, AZ; great grandchildren Logan and Peyton Riesberg, Blaine and Bryce Spiekerman; many nieces and nephews. Also he is survived by his extended family, Dale and Karen Riesberg, their children Doug & Danielle all of Crofton; also Benjamin (Pam) Cox and their children Anna & John of Algona, IA.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Leonard, Frank, Roman, Clarence, and Clyde Heger; sisters Irene Bohan, Delores Rodman, and Dorothy Jensen, Alvina Wilson and extended family member Jim Richstatter.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
Lillian, Elaine, and Jeanne, I am so sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. He was such a sweet man and I know everyone will miss him greatly.
Linda (Rupiper) Coe
We were so saddened by the passing of your dad..I have such great memories of your folks and all the times we spent together growing up. He surely will,be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you and your families.
Vernon & Mary Miller
So sorry to hear of Ralph passing. We were just talking about the time we ate supper in Wynot, and found out we are related through the Schmidts. We will keep your family in our Prayers.
Dennis & Vivian Loecker
Lillian (Mrs. Heger), I am so very sorry for your loss. After graduating from high school and realizing you had life outside of teaching, I don't think I ever saw you without Ralph. May he rest in peace.
Barb (Bogner) Lee
My belated sympathy for your loss, Mrs. Hager.
Prayers be with you.
Kathleen DeBlauw Roseboom
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