Dean Hilton Kaelin, age 81, of Ansley, Nebraska died Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska.
Dean Hilton Kaelin was born May 30, 1936, to Joseph A. and Florence (Hilton) Kaelin near Merna, Nebraska. He joined two older sisters, Delores and Geraldine, which made their family complete. In 1940, the family moved to Washington and later to Oregon where Dean started school. He attended several elementary schools during their many moves in Oregon, with the family moving back to Custer County, Nebraska in 1947. One winter while he was still in high school, his parents left him at home near Westerville to manage the farm while they were in Oregon. After cold weather set in, he had to teach himself to weld in order to fix the tractor’s engine block which had frozen and cracked. Dean graduated from Westerville High School in 1955.
On July 16, 1957, he married Marlene Moseley at the Ansley Methodist Church. Their first son, Gerald Scott was born in 1960 while they lived north of Westerville. Shortly thereafter, Dean decided to attend the Technical School at Milford where he received his Associate Degree in Diesel Mechanics. The family moved to Fremont where Dean worked as a mechanic for Flint and Larsen International. While there, he was promoted to night manager where he oversaw several employees. Dean built the family a new home north of Fremont and while they lived there, their second son, Gordon Lee was born in 1966.
In 1967, the family decided to move back to Westerville and join Marlene’s parents in the farming operation. Dean worked for F.A. Bates Implement in Broken Bow. Later, he worked as a mechanic at Custer Public Power District for nearly 24 years. He serviced a wide variety of vehicles from aerial devices, snowmobiles, and wire winders to service trucks. Dean’s ability to repair whatever “limped in” kept the need for spare vehicles to a minimum. His blacksmithing abilities were in constant use. Dean’s common sense, mechanical abilities, and calm perspectives were a great asset.
During this time, Dean also worked nights and weekends at home expanding the family farming and ranching operation. Cattle, alfalfa hay, milo, and corn were raised. He enjoyed growing fruit trees and even Nebraska-hardy pecan trees. Dean was a wonderful provider for his family. Dean had many fond memories of his years growing up in Oregon. He enjoyed reminiscing with his family and friends. He was interested in learning about his Swiss, English, and Scottish heritage.
Dean was a member of the Broken Bow Elks Lodge and the Ansley United Methodist Church. As the grandchildren came along, Dean and Marlene enjoyed attending their many schools, 4-H and rodeo events. They attended Frazier’s football game on Monday evening before Dean suddenly became ill. Dean passed away on October 3, 2017, at a Kearney hospital surrounded by family.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marlene; son Scott and Denise (Stunkel) Kaelin of Westerville; son Gordon and Jana (Storms) Kaelin of Broken Bow; grandchildren Joel (Becky) Kaelin of DeWitt; Nicole (Brice) King of Humphrey, Holly (Dustin) Oligmueller of Atkinson; Court Kaelin and Frazier Kaelin of Broken Bow, and great-grandchildren Aiden and Macie Kaelin of DeWitt. Dean was preceded in death by his parents, his half-sister, Delores (Kaelin) Prociw, his brothers-in-law, Mike Prociw and Lowell Kulhanek, and great-granddaughters, Gracie and Adeline Kaelin.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 7, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at Govier Brothers Chapel in Broken Bow with Pastor Jim Koontz officiating. Burial will be in the Westerville Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday, October 6th, at Govier Brothers in Broken Bow 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with family present 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Ansley United Methodist Church, Westerville Cemetery or the Ansley Fire and Rescue Units.