WILCOX — Wayne William Ziebarth, 98, of Wilcox died Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at his daughter’s home in Wilcox.

Celebration of life services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Axtell with the Rev. Gale Dorn officiating. Burial will be at Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Axtell with military honors by Wilcox American Legion Post 377 in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Funeral Honors Team.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday at the Bauer-Torrey & Mach Funeral Home in Wilcox with the family present 6-7:30 p.m.


Wayne was born on Aug. 2, 1921, on the family farm near Wilcox, the elder of two children to Herman J. Ziebarth and Martha (Habben) Ziebarth.

Wayne was baptized on Aug. 28, 1921, and later confirmed on March 25, 1934, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wilcox. In May 1934, Wayne, graduated eighth grade from District 22K (St. John’s Parochial School) in Wilcox. On May 21, 1938, he graduated from Wilcox High School.

After graduation, he attended Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, where he graduated in May 1942 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He was affiliated with Kal fraternity. On May 1949, he graduated from Columbia University in New York with a master’s degree from Teachers College. Wayne then attended Creighton Law School in Omaha.

On Sept. 7, 1942, Wayne enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He graduated on May 5, 1943, from officers training at Quantico, Va., and attended Field Artillery School from May 6 to July 28, 1943. In November 1943, he left for Hawaii to join the 2nd Marine Division and trained on the big island. On May 25, 1944, the division went to Saipan. He landed in the second wave.

Wayne was an artillery liaison officer with the company commander. It was his responsibility to figure coordinates and order naval and aircraft shelling. On July 25, 1944, Wayne landed on Tinian, and on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, landed on Okinawa.

On June 18, 1945, three days before the battle for Okinawa ended, Wayne received an order from the Regimental Commander Col. Wallace to escort Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner to an observation post. Wayne narrowly escaped injury from the same shell that killed Gen. Buckner.

On Sept. 23, 1945, Wayne and his convoy traveled right through the bomb center of Nagasaki not knowing the effects of radiation. On Oct. 1, 1945, Wayne became the military commander of the 2nd Marine Division of Shimabara. In June 1946, he was honorably discharged.

In June 1950, Wayne was again called into active service during the Korean War. He was an instructor at Camp Pendleton, San Clemente, Calif. Capt. Ziebarth was honorably discharged again from the U.S. Marine Corps in January 1951.

Wayne taught history and English at Minden High School, and was a history, English and P.E. teacher at Wilcox High School. He also served as the principal (1947-1948) and coached at Wilcox as well. During his coaching career, he met his future wife at a basketball game between Wilcox and Axtell.

Wayne was joined in marriage to Renee England on Dec. 28, 1947. To this union four children were born: Wayne William Jr. “Billy,” Jennifer Renee, Jane Kay and James Jay.

After his military service, Wayne and his family moved back to the family farm south of Wilcox. The Ziebarth family was chosen in August 1959 as the Farm Family of the Month by the Hastings Chamber of Commerce. In July 2000, the family was honored with the Nebraska Pioneer Award by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation.

Wayne was elected in 1968 to serve as a Nebraska state senator of the 37th District. He served as chairman of the Enrollment and Review Committee, secretary of the Education Committee, and member of the Telecommunications Committee. Thirty-two bills were principally sponsored or co-sponsored by Wayne; 20 were enacted into laws.

In the 1971 session, Wayne served on the Appropriations Committee, and the Water and Resources Committee. Sixty-five bills were principally sponsored or co-sponsored by him; 35 were enacted into laws. Wayne was the Democratic nominee for Congress from the 3rd Congressional District of Nebraska in 1974. Mrs. Virginia Smith defeated him by 767 votes.

Wayne served as the first chairman of the Nebraska Bicentennial Commission during 1975 and 1976. He served as president of the South Platte United Chambers of Commerce in 1977, and he was a member and past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Marketing Board from 1978 to 1984.

He was appointed by Gov. Bob Kerrey to serve as a commissioner for the Nebraska Game and Parks in 1984, and he served as chairman in 1989. In 1991, Gov. E. Benjamin Nelson appointed Wayne to the Nebraska Energy Council. In 1993, Wayne was appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve as a member of the Nebraska ASCS Board, which is now the FSA Committee.

Wayne was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and served as a Sunday school teacher and Church Board member. Throughout the years, Wayne also served on numerous national, state, regional, county and local boards, committees and associations.

Wayne enjoyed farming, reading newspapers, discussing politics, watching football, baseball, basketball and volleyball, and being with his family.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Renee on Sept. 6, 2004; son, Billy on Sept. 8, 1956; his parents, Herman and Martha Ziebarth; sister-in-law, Mary England; brothers-in-law, Jack McNevin and Fred England; and son-in-law, Ron Bovill.

Survivors include his daughters, Jennifer Kinerk and her husband, Patrick, of Wilcox and Dr. Jane Ziebarth-Bovill of Kearney; his son, James Ziebarth and his wife, Lisa, of Wilcox; six grandchildren, Bridget (Joe) Oliva, Marty Kinerk, Tyler (Shanna) Ziebarth, Jillian Ziebarth, Katelyn Ziebarth and Alec Ziebarth; five great-grandchildren, Braiden and Carter Oliva and Jackson, Ella and Greyson Ziebarth; sister, Dee McNevin of Fullerton, Calif.; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A memorial has been established in Wayne’s honor and kindly suggested to the family for later designation.

Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at www.nelsonbauerfh.com.

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