KEARNEY — Jose ‘Rick’ E. Zapata, 65, of Kearney, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, at Kearney Regional Medical Center.

Services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Kearney with the Rev. Paul Colling officiating. Burial will follow at the Kearney Cemetery.

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. today at the church with a vigil service at 7 p.m.

Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl and Cremation Services of Kearney is in charge of arrangements.


He died with loved ones surrounding him.

Rick was born on Dec. 6, 1953, to Jose A. Zapata and M. Guadalupe Garcia in Uvalde, Tex. They later moved to Nebraska where Rick graduated from Kearney High School. During his high school years Rick wrestled and was known for his wrestling talent. After high school Rick worked for several construction companies and later was employed by the Nebraska Department of Roads for 25 years before retiring.

Rick will be remembered for his long hair, beard and most of all his big kind heart. He also will be remembered for his love of classic cars and working on the cars.

Rick married Mary E. Cervantes on March 14, 2013. They had three daughters, Rolmia Cervantes, Aurelia (Santos) Mendez, and Guadalupe Zapata. Rick was grandfather to Miguel, Ramon, Benita (Lucio), Diana (Christian), Candelaria (Pedro), Carlos, Anahi, Juliana, Omar, Isais, Nathanial, Isaac, Reyna, Luis, Romelia, Nehamias and David. He was great-grandfather to Elianeth, Aleyda and Pedro Jr. Also, a great-granddaughter, Amayah, is coming in October.

Rick is survived by brothers, Celestino, Joe (Barb), Max (Betty), Gabriel (Christina), Victor and Paul; sister, Gloria; many nieces, nephews and best friend Gary Kneher.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters-in-law Carol, Susie and Rene; and two grandchildren, Eulalia and Hector Jr.

Memorials are suggested to the family for designation at a later date. Online condolences may be shared at