Dr. Michael Percy Cartwright


Memorial services for Dr. Michael Percy Cartwright of Whitney, Neb. will be held on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 2 p.m. at the Whitney Methodist Church with Pastor Dusty Sprague and Dr. Charles Peek officiating.

Dr. Michael Percy Cartwright died suddenly at his farm in Whitney on May 22, 2015. He was 72. Mike grew up on the farm and loved being there. Though he lived part of the year in Lincoln, he continued to think of Whitney as home.

After receiving his BA, MA, and PhD degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Mike taught English literature and composition for forty years, first at California State University at Bakersfield and later at Chadron State College. Though he dabbled in academic administration, he said he never imagined wanting to do anything but teach. The students and the camaraderie of his colleagues made it a joy. In 2005, he received the CSC Excellence in Teaching Award. ​​

Mike served on numerous non-profit boards, including the Nebraska Humanities Council, the NPR Foundation, and the Newblom foundation. He was instrumental in founding the Mari Sandoz Society and received the Spirit of Mari Sandoz Award for his many contributions. For three years he directed the Nebraska Book Festival. He served twelve years as an elected Commissioner of the Upper Niobrara-White River Natural Resources District and was once elected chair of the Dawes County Democratic Party in a landslide vote of 3-0.

Mike was a social and sentimental man, happiest trading stories with family and friends over coffee, a martini, a cribbage board, or a good meal. After retirement from CSC, he had time to read as much as he liked. He also became an excellent cook, wrote fiction and non-fiction, and recorded magazines and novels for the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Books and Braille program.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, he operated Cora's Place in Whitney, a coffee shop and popular community gathering place.

He is survived by his wife Jeanetta Drueke, sisters and brothers-in-law Evelyn and Earl Geu of Sidney and Nancy and Dick Hamer of Mankato, Minn .; cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Percy John and Ellen (Dodd) Cartwright and his older brother John.

A memorial has been established for the Center for People in Need in Lincoln, Nebraska. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.

Online condolences can be made at http://www.chamberlainchapel.com. Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements.


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