Nelly Lou Petersen (Holeman), 91, life began by being born on her mother’s birthday, November 30, 1926. She was the only child to Lewis and Nellie Holeman in Custer County, Nebraska.
Nelly Lou attended country school in the Westerville, Nebraska area by riding her horse to and from school. She graduated from Westerville High School at the young age of 16 and began teaching shortly after. She loved learning and teaching. Music was also important and lead to meeting John E. Petersen at a dance. They married on July 14, 1946 at the family farm home on Clear Creek. This farm remains in Nelly Lou’s family for over 100 years and was something that she was very proud of. Nelly Lou and John lived in the family home until 1971 when a fire destroyed that home. Their relationship survived them living in a small trailer as a new house was built. They were able to spend almost 65 years together before John passed in 2011. Within this farm, she raised four children, Jacquelyn (Larry) Kuehl, Terry (Rita) Petersen and Wendy (Ray) Buley and grandson Chris (Jodi) Petersen along with whatever children came into the house as friends of the family. Her cooking fed many families, hired men and friends, both at the house and in the fields. The kitchen table was the center of the house and used for every meal and conversations. Farming was the number one priority but when John and Nelly did decide to travel, they enjoyed traveling into every state of the union as well as Mexico and Canada.
Nelly Lou had a passion for serving her community and this was shown in many ways. She was a 4-H leader in Custer County for 32 years, served on many committees with 4-H and county fairs, Arcadia School Board, Fall Festival, and Custer County historical society, just a few of many she participated in. She was a proud member of the Westerville Methodist Church and this was a big part of her life from teaching Sunday School, Vacation Bible school, playing music, serving meals and the Lords Arce Sale.
Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were of great pride for her, she was more than happy to pull out her “albums” from her large purse to show anyone who was interested.
Nelly Lou passed peacefully on July 6, 2018 while at Pathfinder Assisted Living in Fremont, Nebraska. We imagine she was greeted by Dad calling her “Mert” and wondering what took her so long.
Survivors include her children Jacquelyn (Larry) Kuehl, Terry (Rita) Petersen and Wendy (Ray) Buleya; grandchildren Chris (Jodi) Petersen, Kari Ann Kuehl, Kori Jo (Jeff) Gerhart, Jeff (Michelle) Kauk, Amy Lou (Brandon) Kucera, Kashlon Petersen, Catlin (Ethan) Berger and Jesse (Cale) Bultman; 7 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Beverly Petersen of Kearney, NE; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
Following the Celebration of Life and interment, lunch will be provided by the Ansley Methodist Church.
The family is asking in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Custer County 4-H Foundation or the Custer County Historical Society.