Melba Whatley


April 20, 2022

Melba Whatley, 91, of Bridgeport, formerly of Dalton and Sidney, passed away Monday morning, April 11, 2022 at Skyview at Bridgeport.

Funeral services was held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at the United Church of the Plains in Dalton with Pastor Leon “Bud” Gillespie officiating.  Burial will follow in the Dalton Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Monday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. at the church in Dalton.

Memorials in Melba’s name can be made to the family for later designation.

Family and friends can leave condolences at

Holechek-Bondegard Funeral Home and Cremations is serving the Whatley family.

Melba Helen was born January 11, 1931, to Gustav and Martha (Shomshor) Nolte, in Ridgeley, NE, joining her older sister, Irene. She grew up on the family farm west of Gurley. She attended a country school, then Gurley High School, graduating in 1948, and then attended Chadron State College.  Melba was united in marriage to William “Bud” Lojek on November 26, 1949, at Grace Lutheran Church in Gurley, NE. They resided in Dalton, NE, and to this union, three children were born, Brian, Judy and Bradley. 

Melba was a homemaker and later became a caretaker for her disabled mother. In 1991, Melba moved to Sidney, NE, and became employed full-time at the Cabela’s warehouse. In 1994, Melba married John Whatley. Melba retired from Cabela’s and then became an employee at Walmart as a greeter where she worked just shy of 10 years.  

Melba enjoyed her family and was blessed to have been able to witness so much of her grandchildrens’ lives as their families grew. She enjoyed time spent in Southern California with her sister, Irene, and Irene’s husband, Porky. Melba looked forward to annual Gurley all-school reunions, and she enjoyed visits and meals with family and friends. Melba was a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sidney.

Melba is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Brian Lojek and Kris (Bozeman, MT), and Bradley Lojek and Cynthia (Gurley, NE), and daughter Judy Frerichs (Cheyenne, WY); eight grandchildren: Sara Smith (Dustin), Joshua Frerichs (Angela), Cory Frerichs (Nicole), Ashlee Lojek, Quinn Clark-Lojek, Lily Clark-Lojek, Jamie Taylor and Ben Taylor; 10 great-grandchildren; and cousin, Sylvia Hicks.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Irene, brother-in-law Porky, a brother Charles who died in infancy, and dear friend Phyllis Gerke.


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