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Robert "Bob" Bennefeld

Robert “Bob” Bennefeld

Aug. 12, 1941-Jan. 3, 2019

Robert “Bob” Bennefeld, 77, of Grand Island, formerly of Columbus, died Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at the Grand Island Lakeview Care and Rehabilitation Center in Grand Island.

A visitation will be held from 3–7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, at Gass Haney Funeral Home. There will be a private family service.

Robert Adolph Bennefeld was born on Aug. 12, 1941, to Alvin and Louise (Schaad) Bennefeld in rural Leigh. He attended Zion Lutheran School in Leigh and Christ Lutheran School in rural Columbus until the eighth grade. He was confirmed in his Lutheran faith at Christ Lutheran Church in 1955. Bob attended high school in Leigh and Clarkson, graduating from Clarkson High School in 1959. He was active in the FFA while attending Clarkson High School.

Bob was united in marriage to Etta Mae Thayer on Aug. 17, 1963, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Schuyler. The couple recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. The couple lived in the same home in Columbus for 51 years.

Bob worked at Becton Dickinson in Columbus for 38 years until retiring in 1998. He then worked as a courtesy driver for Phil Spady car dealership until 2005. In 2011, he went to work for Hy-Vee part-time until 2014, when his health declined. Bob treasured each and every friendship he made along the way; many friendships lasted a lifetime. He was a pleasant person with an easy smile, who loved to have conversations with anyone.

Bob loved many sports. He participated in bowling, softball, and golf. Bowling was a special love of his, bowling in many leagues for many years. One special joy for Bob was watching his son in the Junior Bowling Tournament, and attaining an achievement award. For a lengthy time, Bob served on the Columbus Bowling Association Board of Directors. He became a member of the Hall of Fame on Feb. 18, 2006. Bob began playing softball at the age of 40. He had great heart for the game and played for many years with great determination. Playing a game of ball with his son and many neighborhood children was a favorite after supper activity. Bob was an avid Nebraska Cornhusker and Kansas City Royals fan. He enjoyed collecting playing cards, Husker memorabilia, and Breyer cattle figurines. Bob was always ready to go to any youth activities to support those he knew; whatever they participated in, his favorite was Husker Band Days.

With his health declining from Parkinson's and dementia related to the disease, Bob and Etta moved to Grand Island in 2017 to be close to Bob's brother, Rich, who helped faithfully in many ways with his care. After Bob suffered two minor strokes, he became a resident of Lakeview Nursing Home in Grand Island.

Bob is survived by wife, Etta Bennefeld of Grand Island; brother, Richard (Joy) Bennefeld of Grand Island; niece, Heather Thayer of Lincoln; special friends: Orin, Marcia, and Todd Stepanek of Columbus, Tam, Tim, and Kendra Korger of Columbus, Chase Korger of Kearney, Marlin and Judy Johannes of Lincoln, Dr. Chad Johannes of Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Jennifer and Jason Hascall of Shawnee, Kansas; many dear cousins and friends.

Bob was preceded in death by parents, Alvin and Louise Bennefeld; son, Robert “Robbie” Allen Bennefeld on Aug. 8, 1975; infant sister, Lois Ann Bennefeld in 1937; infant brother, Charles Devern Bennefeld in 1945; parents-in-law, Everett and Loretta Thayer; brother-in-law, E. James Thayer; many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends; his beloved cat “Katie."

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