It would have tickled Bob Buddenberg that it rained the night before he died Thursday, June 21, 2012. Rain in June, to a lifelong farmer, means a chance to rest.
Robert Cole Buddenberg, 92, was born Sept. 7, 1919, in the Ottawa, Kan., fire station, the eldest of three Sons of Rahl Stanley and Ruth (Cole) Buddenberg, who moved their family in 1924 to a farm southwest of Gothenburg. Except for his last year at the Wisner (Neb.) Care Center, and the years he spent in Europe with the Army in World War II, Buddenberg lived in Gothenburg all his life, farming, feeding beef cattle and raising a family of seven children.
He graduated valedictorian from Gothenburg High School in 1937, went to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln on an academic scholarship to study engineering, switched to music but was interrupted by
WWII. He played in the university band that went to the Rose Bowl in 1941, then entered the Army that summer, a few months before the Pearl Harbor attack.
He became part of the 15th Cavalry Regiment, Gen. John J. Pershing’s old outfit, when it was reactivated as a mechanized unit in 1942, and drove a tank as the Third Army moved from the beachhead in France’s Normandy into Germany. He was discharged soon after V-E Day in 1945.
Upon his return to school, he met a percussionist, Phyllis Fischer of Shickley, Neb., in the university orchestra, which had been compelled to admit women to its previously all-male ranks during the war. He earned a master’s degree in math and music from the University of Michigan, again marching in the Rose Bowl, while she earned the bachelor’s in music that her parents insisted she finish. Then they married on June 20, 1948, and moved to a life as musician-farmers in Gothenburg.
They taught music to their seven children, played in countless community music productions in Gothenburg and helped found the Sandhills Symphony, an orchestra based in North Platte, in 1961. For many years he played taps at graveside for fellow veterans as part of the Gothenburg Honor Guard.
He served for many years in leadership posts for the Extension Service, from 4-H club leader to the Lincoln and Dawson Counties’ 4-H Councils to the advisory board at the University of Nebraska’s North Platte Experiment Station. In Gothenburg’s school system, he served multiple terms on the school board and for years drove busloads of athletes to away games.
Phyllis preceded him in death in 1983. He married Janice Lacey Williams on Oct. 26, 1985, retired from farming, shifted his membership from Banner United Methodist Church to the First Presbyterian and for the first time in his life moved to a permanent urban address, in Gothenburg. Janice too preceded him in death, in 2004, as did his brothers, William and Frank, in 1980 and 2006 respectively.
Survivors include his children, Rex (MJ) Buddenberg of Monterey, CA.; Ann (Rich) Norgard of Wisner; Robert J. (Pam) Buddenberg of Gothenburg; Betsy (Bruce) Crabtree of Creston; Roger (Laura) Buddenberg of Omaha; Roz (Denise) Buddenberg of McCook; and Carol (Bill) Rosenau of Blair; Step-Children, Jan (Larry) Gill and Matt (Sue) Williams of Gothenburg, 19 grandchildren, three
great-grandchildren; five step-grandchildren and seven step-great-grandchildren.
Memorials are suggested to Sandhills Symphony and the Gothenburg Community Playhouse/Sun Theatre.
Born: September 7, 1919
Death: June 21, 2012
This memorial provided by:
Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel