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James "Gene" Layne

A funeral service for Pastor James "Gene" Layne will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at Holcomb Evangelical Free Church in rural Holdrege, Nebraska with Gene's nephews, Pastors Barry Layne and Brent Harwerth officiating. Interment will follow at the Moses Hill Cemetery in Phelps County. The church service will be livestreamed via:

Pastor James Eugene "Gene" Layne, 92 years, passed away on Thursday, November 9, 2023, at the Christian Homes Care Community in Holdrege. He was born on April 6, 1931, in Berthoud, Colorado, at his grandma and grandpa Berry's home. He was the second of four boys, born to James Obie and Alverda Margaret (Berry) Layne. At age 3, his parents moved to Bennett, Colorado, where he grew up on a dairy and wheat farm. He graduated from Bennett High School with the class of 1949.

At age 11, Gene accepted Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior. He was very active in the church and during high school and college, he served as President of the Conservative Baptist Youth of Colorado, holding Youth Rallies throughout Colorado. He pursued higher education from Colorado Christian University in Denver, Colorado (then known as Rockmont College), graduating in 1954 with a major in Bible and a minor in Missions. During college, he led Gospel Teams, helped start churches, and was inducted in the Alpha Rho Signa honorary club. After graduation, he taught "Evangelism" in the night school.

On August 7, 1955, he was united in marriage to Juliana "Julie" Harwerth, in McDonald, Kansas. To this union, God blessed them with four children: Daryl, Mark, Denise, and Susan. He was devoted to his family and enjoyed their activities and loved getting together with his grandchildren.

Gene and Julie faithfully served in the Ministry for over 60 years. They ministered in churches in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa; many of them being small churches. He often worked side jobs including: school bus driver, substitute teacher, swimming pool manager, and carpentry. He also served as County Clerk and Assessor, and served on the Advisor Board for Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. During harvest, he loved helping area farmers drive a truck or combine. He served in various areas of ministries: Timberlake Camp Board, Youth Pastor, Christian Ed Pastor, Visitation and Maintenance Pastor, and also, as Senior Pastor. He was proud to have been awarded the "Good Neighbor Award" of Perkins County, Nebraska. He loved his church families dearly and compassionately. He always felt it a privilege and a joy to pastor.

Gene knew no stranger, even making it a hobby to get to know people. He loved people and spent time with anyone who needed his love and help. People often said of him, "He lived his faith." This is the faith that Jesus spoke of in John 11:35, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me though he were dead, yet shall he live." Because of his love for people, he wanted everyone to know his Savior, Jesus. He spent many hours counseling and encouraging people; always going the extra mile. He wanted to honor God in all he did. He leaves a legacy to his family and friends of God's amazing love and grace, and was an example to all who knew him.

In retirement, the couple were dedicated members of Holcomb Evangelical Free Church, and when they moved to Christian Homes, they faithfully attended their Chapel services.

He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Layne; two brothers: Arnold Layne and Charles Layne; and two sisters-in-law: Charlene Layne; and Joan Harwerth.

He leaves to cherish his memory; his wife of 68 years, Julie Layne of Holdrege; son, Daryl Layne and his wife, Yvetta of Centennial, Colorado; two daughters: Denise Raymond and her husband, Steve of Sidney, Nebraska; and Susan Erickson and her husband, Don of Holdrege, Nebraska; four grandchildren: James Layne of Denver, Colorado; Paul Raymond and his wife, Abby of Gorham, Maine; Andrew Layne and his wife, Ashley of Nashville, Tennessee; and Gwen Graham and her husband, Nash of Holdrege; two great-granddaughters: Ella Rose and Violet Graham; brother, Melvin Layne of Glendora, California; sisters-in-law: Ella Layne of Beresford, South Dakota; and Joan Layne of Arlington, Virginia; and a brother-in law: Pastor Fran Harwerth of Fort Morgan, Colorado; along with a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Visitation will be held on Friday, November 24, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with the family greeting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege.

Memorial has been established in Gene's honor and kindly suggested to Gideons International.

Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at

The Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege is in charge of the arrangements


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