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William  Christy

William Stephen "Bill" Christy

Wednesday, November 23rd, 1932 - Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
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Obituary

William S. Christy Obituary
November 23, 1932 – April 9, 2019
William Stephen Christy was born to Henry and Irene Christy on November 23, 1932 in Milburn, Nebraska at the home of his grandparents, Steve and Gertie Daily. Bill and his family lived near the small village of Milburn, which was located on the Middle Loup River. When Bill was four years old, they moved to a farm four miles from his grandparents, and from his best friend at the time, Jim Daily. Back then, this meant Bill and Jim would very seldom see each other, after being accustomed to running over a nearby bridge to visit whenever they wanted. As he got older, Bill spent much time at his Grandma Daily’s, fishing in the river. He often talked about his friendship with his grandmother, and how she taught him to swim. Bill and his brother Tom would camp in the little hamburger shack their mother had bought for $5 at an auction and had placed near the river. Bill attended school at Columbia Table and Windy Point country schools. He graduated from Anselmo High School in 1950. He then sold one of his few calves and used the money to attend Kearney State Teacher’s College for one year. A small brick country school in the Sandhills near Brewster, Nebraska was his first teaching adventure. He boarded with Mark and Minnie Turner. This was probably his favorite teaching experience. He and Mark spent many hours fishing and hunting. On December 21, 1952, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Dwana Rae Axtell, daughter of Forest and Edna Axtell. Bill then taught at Gates, Nebraska and Anselmo, Nebraska. Bill and Dwana’s first home was north of Anselmo. They then moved to Anselmo in order to have running water, a bathroom, and electricity. Their first two daughters, Pamela Rae and Penny Lynn, were born in the nearby town of Broken Bow. When the girls were quite small, the family moved to Kearney so Bill could finish his Bachelor’s degree. In January of 1961, Dwana’s brother Gene moved them to Sidney in his cattle truck. As they arrived in Sidney, they encountered one of the worst wind and dirt storms they had ever seen. They wondered why they ever left the Sandhills. Their third daughter, Terri Jo, was born in Sidney about a year later. Bill taught Junior High English, Creative Writing, and Computers for Sidney Public Schools until his retirement in 1998. Bill would recall that his father, a lifetime farmer/rancher, would ask: “Bill, when are you going to get a real job.” Bill was a lifetime learner. While serving as a teacher, he attended summer college classes at Kearney State College to earn his Masters in English. In lieu of writing a thesis, he was granted permission to showcase his storytelling magic by writing a book entitled, “And Never Let Us Cry”. In this book he developed characters from his childhood, with fictitious names such as Orrie Fenster, Emil Flitmore, Fenlow Quinnbaugh, and Reverend Stormwell. Bill also studied one year at the University of Nebraska toward his doctorate.
Bill enlisted in the National Guard when he was a senior in high school. In addition to monthly Guard drill, every summer until his retirement from the Guard in 1990, Bill attended a two-week camp to train soldiers on Howitzers and other weaponry. He rose through the ranks of the Army National Guard, serving in various capacities such as Selective Service Director and Inspector General. He retired as a one-star Brigadier General. Throughout his career, he also attended many special training schools, including Command and General Staff Training in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Bill was always quick to assure others that he could not have achieved all he did in life without Dwana by his side. Dwana received a Certificate of Honor from the Department of the Army, as well as the Molly Pitcher Award from the Nebraska National Guard for her service. After retirement, Bill and Dwana spent many days and weeks working on the Axtell family ranch near Anselmo and spending time with family and friends. They also enjoyed spending time at the Christy Inn near downtown Anselmo, which is where Bill’s family lived after they sold their farm. Bill’s daughters were his pride and joy. Both Pam and Penny live in the Denver area. Pam is a dental hygienist; Penny is an attorney. Terri is a physical therapist assistant in Scottsbluff. Pam and her husband, Michael Cortney, have a daughter, Christine, who is a veterinarian in Colorado. Penny and her husband Rob Myers have three children. Lauren is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida working as an account manager for a national recruiting firm. Twin sons, Austin and Christian, are full-time students at Colorado State University. Austin is studying business, and Christian criminal justice. Terri and her husband Jerry Yanke have two daughters. Emily is serving in the Navy, and is currently stationed in Italy on the ship U.S.S. Mount Whitney. Anna attended UNL at Kearney, and is now completing her education at Regional West Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology in Scottsbluff.
Bill is also survived by his siblings Tom, Lynn Dora, Marvin, and Richard, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Henry and Irene Christy, his younger brother Roger, and his infant brother Michiel Christy.
William Stephen Christy will be remembered as a great man, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle, brother, friend, commander, and teacher. He was loved and respected, not out of force or demand by him, but because of his kind and gentle manner. He loved to laugh and tell stories. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. For his family and friends, this has been the long good-bye, as Bill suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last eight years of his life, and was likely finally taken by bladder cancer. He will be missed, but we know he is no longer suffering and that he is in the arms of Jesus, singing “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.”
William S. “Bill” Christy, age 86 of Sidney, NE passed away Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in Bridgeport, NE. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, April 20th in the First United Methodist Church in Sidney with Pastor Corey Jenkins officiating. Cremation has been held. Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Friday from 1-7:00 P.M. to sign Bill’s register book and drop off condolences for the family. You may view Bill’s Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com.
Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service, LLC is in charge of Bill’s care and funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dwana R. Christy. Dwana will assure all donations are used for the mowing and upkeep of the Grandview Cemetery located near Anselmo, Nebraska, where Bill’s ashes will be laid to rest on May 25th with military honors. Grandview is a small historical cemetery which sits atop a huge Sandhill. It overlooks Highway 2 and the Burlington Northern Railroad. There is a sign near the cemetery that says, “You are now entering the Sandhills.”
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, May 25th, 2019 11:00am
    Location
    Grandview Cemetery
    Address
    ANSELMO, NE
    Officiant
    Pastor Don Shada
  • Interment

    Location
    Grandview Cemetery
    Address
    ANSELMO, NE

Condolences

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CM

Craig M

Posted at 06:34pm
I will NEVER forget my first day of 7th grade, finally tracking down and moving within the herd into Mr. Christy's classroom, only to discover there was no teacher present. (Was it English class? Social Studies? Not sure.) The minutes ticked by on the clock, maybe three or four of them? Suddenly through the door burst a breathless man, scurrying to the front of the classroom claiming that he was a school janitor, called to fill in at the last minute for an absent teacher. (I'm not sure how many days it took me to realize that he was actually the regular teacher.)

Supportive, kind-hearted, always with an impish twinkle in his eye. Helped us (with Judy Kuehn) create "The Scrivener" high school literature publication, took us to creative writing seminars, ALWAYS encouraging us to write and express ourselves, whether it was mystery writing stories or poetry or essays.

When I was 17 years old I tried joining the National Guard. Before I was sent to Ft. Sill, OK (where my poor eyesight sent me immediately home as a 4-F) I took part in four (?) weekend drills, giddy to be paid for them before Basic Training. Nervous, trembling, standing tall for parade inspection in the Sidney Armory, I was amazed to see Gen. Christy's "other" side as a focused, ostensibly "gruff" inspector of troops. Yet even now, I swear I saw the same twinkle (out of the corner of my own desperately forward-staring eyes) beneath the surface. It makes me smile to think that he, also, had joined the Guard right out of high school and it makes me kind of warm and fuzzy to think I had attempted to follow in his footsteps, without even knowing it!

People like this don't come around too often, folks. 40+ years later I am grieving for a mentor, a tutor, a role model.
JK

J B Kessler

Posted at 07:02am
Mr. Christy was a huge influence on me. As I followed in his footsteps as an English teacher, I used one of his lesson plans in my own classroom. We spoke on the telephone during that time and he was gracious enough to say he remembered me (it had been 13 years). I have only the best memories of him as a teacher. I especially loved the writing prompts he'd give us -- "My Life as a Shoe String" and "A Tour of Lovely Sunol." And he played his Bill Cosby comedy albums for us ("Go get 'em, chicken heart, go get 'em!"). And the thing was, he always acted like he liked to be in the classroom with us. I thank God that Mr. Christy was in my life for that one school year.
CM

Col. Gary McCormick

Posted at 02:19pm
"William Christy" will remain in our hearts forever.
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Ron Winchell

Posted at 12:48pm
I was privileged to serve under BG Christy in the NE ARNG. He was a great soldier and an outstanding leader. He led by example, and his calm but firm management style proved to be a benefit to all who served in his command. He had the innate ability to analyze and assess soldier potential and used that ability to mold a successful team. His personal insight and expertise, inspired all soldiers of his command to perform in an out standing manner which resulted in a standard for other units to emulate. I can honestly say, that I became a better soldier because of him. He will be missed by all of us. COL(Ret) Ron Winchell
K

KD

Posted at 05:51am
I am sorry for your loss. May God’s promise of a resurrection bring you comfort and hope during this difficult time. John 5:28, 29
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