LaVern D. Rinehart, 85, of Cozad, Nebraska, died December 9th, 2012, at the Cozad Community Hospital, after a long battle with dementia.
LaVern was born March 8th, 1927, at Cozad to Lee and Effie (Smith) Rinehart. He attended District 13 and District 23 schools, all the while working for his uncles on weekends and summer months. LaVern graduated from Cozad High School in 1945.
In 1946, LaVern began work for Allied Mills drying hay in the winter, and green alfalfa in the summer. He began his working career making 35 cents an hour.
On August 8th, 1948, he married Bonnie Jean Price; they were blessed with three children, Larry, Lynn and LaVay. The family made their home in Cozad where their house was heated with a kerosene heater and blocks of ice were used to keep things cold.
In 1955, LaVern joined the Cozad Volunteer Fire Department; his service would span 43 years, involving active roles in several committees and offices, including assistant fire chief for 20 years and fire chief for six years. LaVern started the Jr. Fire Patrol at Cozad, and played an integral role in the formation of the Cozad Rural Fire Department.
In 1958, LaVern started work at the Board of Public Works as a Foreman in the Water and Sewer Department. He also worked in the Electrical Department when he was needed.
In 1972, LaVern worked as a Deputy State Fire Marshal in the Pipeline Safety Division. While working for the state, he was President of the State Fire Chief’s Association, Old Timer’s Fireman Association and served 15 years on the State Fire School Committee. LaVern was also proud to have served in a couple national level offices and committees.
LaVern served on the 100th Meridian Museum Board of Directors, Grand Generation Center Board as a past President and Vice President, and the Cozad Elks Lodge as a past officer.
LaVern loved to hunt, fish, garden, and attend the activities of his children and grandchildren as they grew up. He loved his family and thought a lot of the people that he worked with all over the area.
Survivors include his wife, Bonnie of Cozad; two sons, Larry (Vivian) Rinehart of Dyer, Indiana, Lynn (Teresa) Rinehart of Imperial, Nebraska; daughter, LaVay (Dean) Horst of North Platte, Nebraska; four grandchildren, Jeremy (Jennifer) Rinehart of Lincoln, Nebraska, Kayla (Kyle) Sharp currently stationed in Grafoehner, Germany, Lucas Rinehart of McCook, Nebraska, Lynsey Rinehart of Omaha, Nebraska; three great-grandchildren, Madee and Cayden Sharp, Amaya Rinehart; six step-granddaughters, 11 step-great-grandchildren; sister, Vergie Arnold of Lincoln; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Preceding him in death were his parents; sister, Marjorie Rinehart; brother, William Rinehart; sister-in-law, Mae Rinehart; brother-in-law, Keith Arnold; great-granddaughter, Ava Mabel Rinehart; and also a grand dog, Spike, who was very much a companion to LaVern.
Services will be held (today) Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Cozad with Pastor Doug Smith officiating. Burial with Fireman’s Rites will be in the Cozad Cemetery.
A memorial has been established in his memory. Condolences may be shared at berrymanfuneralhome.com.