Ethel Elaine (Stephens) Wheeler, 86, of Waverly (formerly of Stella), passed away Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014 at her home. She was born June 28, 1928 in rural Nemaha to Charles Russell and Zola (Shively) Stephens.

After the death of her father, her mother married Henry “Hank” Goehring, who raised Elaine to adulthood. She graduated from Shubert High School in 1945.

In January 1946, Elaine went to work for the Stella (NE) Bank. The bank, which would later become Richardson County Bank & Trust, benefited from Elaine’s talents for more than 60 years until her retirement.

On Oct. 16, 1949, Elaine married Hobert Wheeler. They made their home in Stella to live out their lives. Even after Hobert’s death in 1997, Elaine stayed in their house until shortly before her death.

Elaine had many interests to take up her free time. She enjoyed painting China, refurbishing old furniture, going to auctions and collecting coins. All her life she loved giving to people — taking care of them and animals.

In mid-December of 2014, Elaine went to live at the home of her niece in Waverly.

In addition to her parents and husband, Elaine was preceded in death by her sisters, Velma Grimes and Erma Wragge; niece, Judy Hugunin; great-nephew, Destrey Bassinger; and great-niece, April Bassinger.

She is survived by her nieces, Sandy (Bill) Balfour, of Nebraska City, and Kim (Kyle) Bassinger, of Waverly; great-nieces and nephews, David Balfour, Brooke, Michael and Cole Bassinger, Hyle Hugunin, Jr. and Chris Hugunin; special friend, Sue Bantz; and many other wonderful friends.

A graveside funeral service, officiated by Wayne Shafer, was held Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 at Prairie Union Cemetery near Shubert. Casket bearers were David Balfour, Michael Bassinger, Cole Bassinger, Bob Williams, Bill Williams and Bill Niedfeldt. Honorary bearers were Brooke Bassinger, Dora Wissler, John Wissler, Doris Jean Shafer, Elnora Fritsch, Sue Bantz, and Ruth “GiGi” Chambers. Burial followed the service.

Hemmingson Funeral Home of Auburn was in charge of arrangements

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