Elden Giles Earlley, age 75, of Wilsonville, Nebraska passed away at his daughter Alison’s home in Waverly, Nebraska with his wife Mariann by his side after a three year battle with C...OPD on Thursday, April 10th, 2014. He was born on August 15, 1938, on a farmstead near Norcatur, Kansas to Glenn and Edith Earlley.
Elden was their only son. He attended elementary school and his freshmen year of high school in Norcatur. In 1953, the family moved their farming and cattle operation to Wilsonville, where Elden attended high school for two years. He graduated from Holbrook High School with the class of 1956. Elden joined the Nebraska National Guard in McCook soon after and served for eight years. After high school, he began his life long occupation as a soil conservationist, farmer, and steward of the land. He built many of the first crop terraces in the area. During this time, he assisted his father with his farming operation while starting his own.
In 1962, Mariann Vreugdenhil came into his life through his parent’s friends, who happened to be Mariann’s uncle. Although they did not initially meet, Elden’s parents spoke highly of Mariann to their son. Elden was interested. A six-month love letter exchange from Iowa and Nebraska finally brought the two together in person on their first date in Sioux City, Iowa where Mariann was a Registered Nurse in Winnebago at the Indian Hospital. The couple married on October 6th, 1963 at a country church near Akron, Iowa.
Elden and Mariann continued to grow their farming and livestock operation. Elden raised and sold Nebraska certified seed wheat for over thirty years. In 1992 the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association awarded Elden as the Premier Seed Grower of the state. The Nebraska Natural Resources District designated Elden and Mariann as outstanding soil and water conservation stewards in July 1993. The same year, the Lower Republican Natural Resources District awarded the couple with their conservation award. In 1999, the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association recognized Elden for his outstanding contributions and dedicated service to the seed certification program for over thirty years. In addition, Elden was an advocate of noxious weed control and a true steward of the land, consistently and continually voicing his opinion for improvement and advancements.
Elden and Marian enjoyed sharing their land and home with hunters and developed many friendships stretching across the United States. The Republican Valley Chapter of Pheasants Forever awarded Elden and Mariann conservationist of the year in 2010. Elden loved visiting with people. If you had a conversation with Elden, you needed to pull up a chair because he would visit for hours and enjoyed company. He had a great sense of humor, a booming laugh and loved to be around friends and family. He enjoyed playing pitch, cribbage, driving around his land, and watching old western movies with a kitty or his newly acquired puppy, Duke by his side.
Elden was preceded in death by his parents.
Grateful for his ever-lasting wit, humor, warmth, and conversation are his wife Mariann Earlley
five daughters. Dawn Wright, and husband Bill and sons Remington and Sterling of Scott City, Kansas
April Ondrak and husband Jerry of Shelton, Nebraska
Alison Warner and husband Randy of Waverly, Nebraska
Amber Sarnecki and husband Jason of Salina, Kansas
Marla Brown and husband Dan of Kearney
Visitation is Monday, April 14th, 2014 from 10 AM to 8 PM at Wenburg Funeral home in Arapahoe. Family will be present from 6-8 PM. Funeral services will be at 10 AM on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Arapahoe with Rev. James Moshier, officiating. Interment will be at the Norton cemetery in Norton, Kansas following the funeral services. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be sent to the American Lung Association. Wenburg Funeral Home in Arapahoe is in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences or personal reflections can be left at wenburgfuneralhome.com