Long-time Humboldt businessman and City Councilman John Sterling Wittwer, 85, of Humboldt, passed away Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at the Methodist Hospital in Omaha.
In 1966, Sterling purchased the John Deere franchise in Humboldt. He set up business as Wittwer Implement and became the local John Deere dealer until he retired in 1990.
He was born Sept. 4, 1928 in rural Humboldt to David E. and Isabel (Hildebrand) Wittwer. He was a raised on a farm south of Humboldt and attended country school. Sterling later graduated from Humboldt High School in 1946.
On April 21, 1951, Sterling married Lois Jane Richardson.
In August of 1951, he was drafted in the U.S. Army and served his country during the Korean Conflict, where he was awarded two Purple Hearts and The Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement.
When he returned, he and his brother Ron farmed south of Humboldt and worked in soil conservation, building terraces, waterways and dams. From there they formed Wittwer Bros., Inc., constructing the dirt base for many roads in southeast Nebraska and Kansas and which still provide a smooth ride today.
Sterling was always involved in community service. He was on the Humboldt City Council for several years, where he served on the Planning Commission during the building of the Humboldt Community Memorial Hospital in 1967 and Colonial Acres Nursing Home in 1969. Sterling also served on the Housing Board during the expansion of the units at Parkview Heights. He was instrumental in raising funds and development for the construction of Kirkman’s Lakeview Golf Course.
Sterling and friends moved a bridge 35 miles in 1994 with engineering help from Lester Penkava; then set in place in 1996.
He was a member of the Four-Mile Congregational Church and a Permanent Member of the American Legion Post #39 in DuBois. He was also a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #43 in Falls City and a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Sterling and Lois felt it was important to balance hard work and community service with fun.
Sterling and Lois took many trips touring the U.S.A. with always a stop in Vegas. In 2001, they purchased a winter home in Green Valley, Arizona and in 2012, they moved into the Brighton Gardens Assisted Living in Omaha.
He was preceded in death by his parents; step-mother, Jessie Wittwer; sister, Elma Ruth Yaussi; brother, Ronald L. Wittwer; an infant brother and sister; and son-in-law, Jack Sanders.
Sterling is survived by his wife, Lois, of Omaha; daughters, Nancy Wittwer, of Omaha, Donna (Mike) Fankhauser, of Mountain View, AR, Jo Anne Wittwer, of Nebraska City; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two step great-grandchildren; many other nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24, 2014, at The Four-Mile Congregational Church in rural Humboldt, with Pastor Ron Russell officiating.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2014, at The Wherry Mortuary in Humboldt. Family will greet friends from 5-8 p.m. at the mortuary.
Military honors will be conducted by the Nebraska Army Honor Guard and the DuBois Legion Post #39. Inurnment will be at the Humboldt Cemetery at a later date.
Memorials contributions are suggested to the family’s choice.
Online condolences may be sent to www.wherrymortuary.com