Cozad Resident: Claude E. Berreckman, 80 (1933-2013)

Claude E. Berreckman, 80 of Cozad, Nebraska, died on Saturday September 28th, 2013, in Cozad.

Claude was born March 9th, 1933 in Gothenburg, Nebraska, to Claude and Mildred (Freas) Berreckman. He graduated from North Platte High School in 1951. Following high school, Claude attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for two years before beginning his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He proudly served in the Korean War for two years and following his discharge from the armed forces, he returned to UNL and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. While at UNL, he met Jane R. Jeffrey and they were married on August 17th, 1957, in Lexington, Nebraska. He earned a Juris Doctorate at the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1960.

In 1961, Claude, Jane and their three sons, Claude, Dave and Cal moved to Cozad. He opened his own law firm located on west 8th street in a two-room building, without the aid of any legal assistants. Claude’s practice grew and in 1965 he moved the firm to its present location at the corner of 8th and Meridian. In 1983, the firm became Berreckman & Berreckman, P.C. as Claude was proudly joined by his son, Claude Jr. The two would eventually be joined by Brian Davis in 2004 and the firm would become Berreckman & Davis, P.C. Claude enjoyed a long and successful career as a lawyer and had been a member of the Nebraska Bar Association for over 50 years.

Claude had a way of making a lasting impression with his lively personality and he rarely missed an opportunity to do so. Intelligent, quick-witted and engaging, he made countless people feel special and important. He took a special interest in the young people of Cozad and, in later years, gave his time to the TeamMates Mentoring program and would occasionally time the end of his day at the office so that he could head to the Wellness Center to interact with some of his favorite kids.

Claude’s gregariousness and generosity, on more than one occasion, led to he and Jane sharing their home with a wide array of guests. He hosted friends, healthcare professionals, needy clients, foreign exchange students and rescued dogs. To Claude, a stranger was just someone that he had not yet met.

Claude valued physical fitness and staying mentally sharp. He ran nine marathons and countless other road races. He sponsored the 100th Meridian Road Race for 12 years. Claude loved watching movies, singing and telling stories. He loved his family and took great pride in being present when he was needed and for the special moments in the lives of his children and grandchildren.

Throughout his time in Cozad, Claude served as the Deputy Dawson County Attorney, including serving as coroner, President of the Young Lawyers' Section of the NSBA and President of the Dawson County Bar. He was a Nebraska State Bar Foundation Bronze Fellow, a certified abstracter and title insurance agent, as well as President of the Nebraska Land Title Association.

His list of service and achievements continues outside his legal practice, as he was a founder of the Cozad Hospital Foundation and the Cozad United Way. He was the President of the Cozad Hospital Foundation for over 30 years and was inducted into the Cozad Health Care Hall of Fame in 2008. Other community organizations that will miss him include the Cozad United Methodist Church, Cozad Lions Club, Cozad Rotary Club, Cozad School Board, TeamMates and Cozad Chamber of Commerce. He received the Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award in 2009. From somewhat humble beginnings in Cozad, Claude came to be considered by many as a statesman for the community.

Claude is survived by his wife, Jane, his sons Claude (Karen), Dave (Jean) and Cal, his grandchildren Claire (Bryan) Bazata, Kaitlin, Rachel, Ben, Kennedy, great-grandchild, Max Bazata and his beloved dog Katie.

Services will be held on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cozad United Methodist Church with Pastor Doug Smith officiating.

Burial with military honors will be held at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell, Nebraska.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Berryman Funeral Home in Cozad.

The family has established a memorial scholarship for Cozad High School seniors.
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