The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Wendell Lynn Draper

1947 to 2014


Wendell Lynn Draper

1947 to 2014

Wendell Lynn Draper, 67, passed away Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Sidney Regional Medical Center in Sidney, Nebraska.

A Memorial Service for Wendell will be held at 11 a.m., Wed., April 2, 2014, at the First United Methodist Church in Sidney with Rev. Thomas Hyde and Pastor Eric Alm officiating. A private interment has been held in the Gurley Cemetery.

Memorials in Wendell's honor can be made to the Gurley Rescue Unit or Lodgepole Valley Shriners.

Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Holechek Funeral Home in Sidney.

You can view the online obituary and share condolences with the family at

Born Jan. 23, 1947, in Dalton, as the younger of two sons to Arnold and Dorothy Draper, Wendell attended school in Gurley. He was a member of Frank Welch Lodge No. 75 AF&AM in Sidney, Lodgepole Valley Shrine Club and served on the governing council of United Church of the Plains in Dalton.

Wendell married his high-school sweetheart Rilla Richards Feb. 7, 1965, in Sidney, and together they had three children: Leigh Beth, Brandon and David.

From his childhood on, he worked side by side with his father and brother, raising wheat and other crops on the family farm north of Gurley. Farming was his lifelong passion, and he was happiest when spring arrived and he was able to get back on the tractor, priding himself on being among the first in the field each year. In recent years, he was excited about passing the Draper farming legacy on to his children.

Wendell was an accomplished welder, perfecting those skills as an early employee of the Egging Cab Company. On the farm, he built tools, repaired equipment, and created works of art from metal. During his lifetime, he helped build several homes, and was proud to have built his dream log cabin on the farm with the help of family and friends.

As a teenager, Wendell became enamored with automobiles of all kinds, and loved tinkering with cars and hot rods. He also loved hunting ducks and geese, ice-fishing and camping with family, but only after the wheat was in.

Wendell Draper is survived by his wife: Rilla Draper of Gurley; three children: Leigh (George) Niekum of Gurley, Brandon (Elizabeth) Draper of Sidney and David Draper (Tess Rousey) of Gurley; seven grandchildren: Trista, Sean, Shyla, Jesalyn, Josh, William and Grace; four great-grandchildren: Olyvea, Adelyn, Jackson and Addison and one brother Ron (June) Draper of Gurley and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Arnold and Dorothy Draper.

Holechek Funeral Home in Sidney is serving the Draper family.


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