Eldon Albert Dieckgrafe was born July 13, 1923 to Carl and Nanka (Damme) Dieckgrafe on the family farm SE of Cook, Nebraska. He was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church. He attended a one room school at Bobtown through the 8th grade. Eldon fondly recalled the good times he had with his classmates and the lifelong friendships he developed.
He married Jean Kunz on January 30, 1960 at Grace Lutheran Church in Cook, Nebraska. To this union three children were born: Jerry, Jim and Janet. His children remember him as a very hard worker. Jean would often say "I don't have to worry about Eldon being in the bar, he's always working!" He instilled a good work ethic and the value of a good reputation in his children, things they are thankful for today. Eldon worked with his children in their 4-H Club, instilling a sense of responsibility and respect for livestock.
Eldon was drafted into the Army shortly before WWII ended, and returned home to farm with his father. Farming was his life, an occupation he enjoyed until the last few years of his life. He as an excellent steward of the land, having learned from his father Carl who was a pioneer in the area of soil conservation. Eldon was very proud that his son Jim and grandson Kyle are carrying on the tradition of family farming. He got to enjoy the modern machinery of later years after complaining that his father used horses far longer than they should have. When his granddaughter Laura was running the windrower for her father, and Kyle was running the combine, Eldon was known to come out to the field and kick them out of the cab so he could operate the machines. He also enjoyed running the grain cart for Jim and Kyle; bringing in the crop was the highlight of the year. Eldon enjoyed traveling to Seattle and Denver when Janet lived there, and regretted never making it to Alaska.
In September of 2008, Eldon spent two months in the hospital with complications from cancer surgery. Things didn't go well initially, but he was able to hang in there and spent another month in rehab at Madonna. By March 2009, Eldon was in a tractor helping with planting. We called him our "Miracle Man" a name he earned the hard way.
In March of 2014, his wife of 54 years, Jean died, leaving him alone on the farm. He adapted well to a regiment of going to the Tecumseh Senior Center for breakfast and lunch and trips to "Farewell" grocery store in Nebraska City. Coffee at the Fitness Center in Syracuse consisted of 15 minutes of pedaling the "NuStep" and 45 minutes of arm curls with a coffee cup!
Eldon and Jean enjoyed being members of a local card club, doing "mission work" in Kansas (once he won $300!), and taking bus trips to various points of interest around the area. Eldon went to quite a few dances in his youth, something he enjoyed when he and Jean were members of Aksarben and the Eagles Clubs, and wedding and anniversary dances in the community.
He passed away January 4, 2021 at the Syracuse Area Health Hospital at the age of 97 years.
Eldon is survived by his children, Jerry Dieckgrafe and wife Ann of Omaha, Jim Dieckgrafe and wife Susan of Cook and Janet Dieckgrafe of Alaska, sister, Evelyn Effken of Cook, five grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers in law, Grace and Del Starns of Ashland, Dorothy and Vernon Cornish of Omaha, Willis Kunz of St. Louis, MO and Gloria Kunz of IL and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Jean, brother Charles Dieckgrafe and wife Marge, sister Helen Stinson and husband Don, sister-in-law, Margaret Kunz and brothers-in-law, John Effken and Charles Kunz, other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 7, 2021 at the Grace Lutheran Church, Cook, Nebraska with Rev. Jim Helgren officiating. The service will be livestreamed on the Wherry Mortuary/Wherry Monument Facebook page.
Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska and one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorials may go to the family’s choice.
Interment will be in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery, rural Cook, Nebraska.
Online condolences may be left @ www.wherrymortuary.com.
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