BEAVER CITY β€” Jerry Lee VanMatre, 79, of Beaver City died Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at home.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Faith Community Church in Beaver City with the Rev. Daryl Katz officiating. Inurnment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery in Beaver City.

There will be no viewing or visitation. Cremation was chosen.

Wenburg Funeral Home of Beaver City is in charge of the arrangements.


He departed this life, surrounded by his family.

He was born on Nov. 6, 1939, near Hollinger as the eldest child of James C. and Sarah (Blees) VanMatre.

Jerry spent nearly all his life in Furnas County. During his formative years, he attended school in Beaver City and graduated with the class of 1958. After graduation he relocated to Denver, where he was employed at Coors Brewery in the porcelain plant. His stay in the city was short-lived, however, and he returned to the family farm where he engaged in farming and livestock production with his father.

Jerry was destined to be a cowboy. He loved his horses and was pretty handy with a rope. Many will remember him as the one to call when they needed help catching wayward livestock. He would saddle and load his horse, call a couple of neighbors for assistance, and the round-up was on. Often a daughter or two were along for the ride.

In 1962, he was united in marriage to Marlene Kopp of Norton, Kan. Together they farmed and worked in the community while raising their three girls.

In addition to being a farmer and cowboy for hire, he was a self-taught auctioneer. In the early years he worked in several sale barns and with various auctioneers around the area.

In the mid- to late 1980s as the farm economy declined, Jerry and his father made the difficult decision to sell the family farm. His dad retired and Jerry hired out. He continued to be involved in the auction business and also operated a livestock transport business.

Jerry served his community in various ways over the years. He will best be remembered for serving as the committee chairman for the Furnas County Rodeo for 25 years.

He was a member of the Beaver Valley Saddle Club, a volunteer fireman in Beaver City, a member of the Beaver City Jaycees, participated in a re-enactment of the Pony Express and participated in many wagon trains.

If you were to ask him what his occupation was, he’d likely reply that he was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. One thing is for sure, he knew cattle and horses.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene of Beaver City; daughters, Penny (Norman) Mullis of Ten Sleep, Wyo., Kayla (Bob) James of Kearney and Dallas (Rob) Lewandowski of Loup City; sister, Jane (Jay) Reed of Broomfield, Colo.; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Preceding him in death were paternal grandparents, Lon and Maude VanMatre; maternal grandparents, John and Maggie Blees; parents, James and Sarah VanMatre; and a baby sister, Katherine Kay.

He leaves many family and a host of friends to cherish his memory.

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