Donald Eugene Criswell
Donald Eugene Criswell of Oshkosh, NE passed away Saturday, July 27, 2019 in Oshkosh.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Tuesday, August 6, 2019 in the Chappell United Methodist Church with Reverend David Abbott officiating. Burial with Military Honors will follow in the Chappell Cemetery. Friends may stop at the Chappell United Methodist Church for visitation with family present on Monday from 5-7:00 P.M. Memorials can be made in Don’s name to Chappell United Methodist Church or Chappell Fire and Rescue. You may view Don’s Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com.
Donald Eugene Criswell was born on March 7, 1926 in Hastings, NE to Arthur and Ruth (Blue) Criswell. In 1927, the family bought a half section of land north of Chappell. Don’s farming experience started at a young age. Each spring, Don and his parents would trek out to Deuel County from Juniata, NE to farm. They lived in a granary with no lights, water, or other accommodations. In 1930, they moved to a stone house north of Chappell, and no longer commuted back and forth. In 1943, they purchased a farm in Garden County, and this is where Don called home for the rest of his life.
Don attended elementary school at District 3, just across the road from their stone house. During the Dirty Thirties, his mom would walk him to school for fear he would get lost in the dirt. Don always said he was the top student in his class, and then with a chuckle, would mention he was the only one in his class. Don attended Deuel County High School in Chappell and graduated in 1944. During his high school years, he excelled in tennis, band, FFA, and football.
During his senior year in high school, Don was drafted into the United States Army. One week following graduation, Don left on a train with his first stop at the North Platte Canteen. After completing basic training, he shipped out to the European Theater. He served in Patton’s Third Armored Division. When the bridges were destroyed, and important documents needed delivered, Don willingly volunteered to cross the Rhine River on a log.
Following his discharge from the Army, Don enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to pursue a degree in Ag Engineering on the GI Bill. He was only able to attend for two years because his dad became ill and Don needed to return to the farm with an Associate Degree in Agriculture. While he was at the University, Don met the love of his life, Marilyn Marie Mundt.
Don and Marilyn were married on June 12, 1949 in Sioux City, IA. They were blessed with three children: Susan, Barbara, and Douglas. They lived on the farm together for 67 years. They had a wonderful partnership full of love and devotion for each other.
Don was always interested in the latest farming techniques, and was a pioneer using eco-fallow in the area. Don took pride in working with University of Nebraska Extension specialists on this project. He was often looking for things to invent. Don holds a patent for a camp kitchen that he invented. To help the community grow, Don worked to develop the Criswell Addition in the south part of Chappell.
As an active member of the Chappell United Methodist Church, Don was a member for 75 years. Don was very proud of his Masonic affiliation, and was a 72 year member of Golden Fleece Lodge #205 and Oshkosh Lodge #286.
He was also a 50 year member of the Order of Eastern Star.
Don was a mentor and leader helping youth in a variety of ways. He served as a Scout Master and was proud of his twelve Eagle Scouts. Don was a 4–H leader, and he helped with Job’s Daughters. Employing numerous teenagers through the years on the farm, Don was known for his patience in teaching many skills.
Don served on the Chappell School Board and the Farmers Elevator Board of Directors. He was a member of the local VFW Post. Don participated in a Veteran’s Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
Don enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, cheering on the Huskers, walking, and playing games. He loved his family and spending time with grandchildren. Don is survived by two daughters: Susan (Paul) Mahaffie of Sioux City, IA; Barbara (John) Scharf of Curtis, NE; one son: Douglas (Karla) of Chappell; six grandchildren: Lesley (Allen) Kruse of Mesa, AZ, Sean and Hannah Mahaffie of Sioux City, IA; Stephanie (Daniel) Eckles of Lincoln, NE; and Logan and Jaden Criswell of Chappell; six great-grandchildren: Logan, Emma, Marissa, and Scott Kruse; Madeline and Avaline Eckles; along with numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn; his parents, Ruth and Arthur Criswell; brother and sister-in-law Lloyd and Laurice Criswell; sister and brother-in-law Alice and Floyd Dominy; mother-in-law and her husband Doris and Clarence (Hank) Kleeman; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Donald and Nadine Mundt.