Jerome N. "Jerry" Lenzen

1924 to 2015


Jerome N. "Jerry" Lenzen, 90, Sidney farmer and rancher and descendant of Cheyenne County pioneers, died Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Lincoln. He had moved to Lincoln to be closer to family members living there, but is coming home to the land he loved.

Mass services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 2, on what would have been his 91st birthday, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church with Father Jim Heithoff officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. No wake services are planned. Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The family suggests memorial contributions be made in his name to Meals on Wheels of Sidney.

Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service, LLC is in charge of Jerome's care and funeral arrangements.

Jerry was born on Nov. 2, 1924, to Peter J. and Kathryne (Bolke) Lenzen. His education began in a one-room country school and continued in town at Sidney's St. Patrick's Academy, where he graduated in 1942. After graduation, he set about laying the groundwork for his farm, which included acquiring land southeast of town. He also met the girl who would become his wife, and on April 29, 1947, he married Marian Loch.  They relocated a country schoolhouse to Jerry's property, remodeled, moved in and started their family.

Together they reared seven children – four boys followed by three girls -- always emphasizing education and encouraging their kids to reach for lives beyond the farm. They considered it one of their greatest accomplishments that all seven of their children graduated from the University of Nebraska, a milestone that was recognized by Nebraska's governor.

Jerry was a true Nebraska man of the land. He was primarily a wheat farmer and cattle rancher, though through the years he had also raised chickens and pigs. Most of all, though, he loved his herd of Angus cattle.

He got up with the sun and lived each day attuned to the weather and forces of nature that could affect his crops and his animals. No wonder he kept an eye on the sky: He saw hailstorms wipe out entire wheat fields in a matter of seconds, and he helped cows give birth in blinding blizzards. But Jerry also appreciated Mother Nature's gentler side -- the magnificent sunrises and sunsets of day and the incredible starry expanse overhead at night. He noticed the hawks and eagles of the sky and the rabbits and lizards on the ground. This bond with the land started early, as he was already helping his father and his brothers herd cattle when he was only 4 years old. It was also in his blood. His grandparents, Adam and Eva Lenzen, homesteaded in Cheyenne County in the 1880s.

Jerry and Marian themselves spent nearly 60 years on the farm that they built, before moving into Sidney in 2006. After Marian died in 2013, Jerry moved to Lincoln.

A man of the land to the end, he hoped to be buried on a nice day under a blue Nebraska sky.

Jerry was preceded in death by wife Marian, brothers Art and Tom Lenzen, and brothers-in-law Galen Thomason and Dennis and Wayne Loch. He is survived by his children and their spouses: Nick Lenzen (Kathleen), Bob Lenzen (Terri), Steve Lenzen (Karen), Patty Hammond (Kevin), all of Lincoln .; Matt Lenzen of Broomfield, Colo .; Kathy Labbe (Carl) of Mesa, Ariz .; and Amy Burt (Randy) of Richardson, TX; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by sister Eva Thomason of Fort Collins; brother-in-law Robert Loch of Custer, Wash .; and sisters-in-law Lynda Loch of Covington, Wash., Betsy Loch of Fairhope, Ala., and Linda Lenzen of Sidney and Omaha.


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