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Colleene Celia was born January 30, 1936 south of Riverton, NE to Wilbur and Lela (Kugler) Cline on the “Shuck Place” south of Riverton. She would be the 6th child born behind five boys and was the oldest of four daughters. Her brother Gail, born just before her, passed away six weeks after Colleene’s birth.
In 1937 the family moved to their forever home just two miles west. Here Colleene spent her childhood. She walked to Lloff Creek District 24 school, one mile from home, for first through sixth grade. The country school closed and she finished her schooling at Riverton Public School graduating in 1952 as Salutatorian at age 16. She earned a Bachelors Degree from Kearney State College in 1956 certified to teach Business Education, English and Biology. She was a member of Tri Beta and Omega Pi sororities.
On August 26, 1956 she married her soul mate Duane Minnick in rural Smith County, KS. They began their life in Sargent, NE until Duane was drafted in 1957. She followed Duane to FT Belvoir, Virginia and became a first-time mother there, welcoming Danny Kay to their family. When Danny was 6 weeks old, Duane was assigned to temporary duty at West Point Nebraska and they made the trip back to Nebraska being welcomed by a snow storm that lay snow level with the tops of the fence posts. Colleene and Danny settled at Agra, KS where she taught school. Upon Duane’s discharge from active duty, the family moved to Riverton where they welcomed Charmaine and Scott to the family.
Early 1961 they moved southeast of Campbell where Colleene hand-milked 8 cows that began her 30 plus years of milking. Later that year, they moved to a 1910 Sears & Roebuck kit house southwest of Riverton. That, along with a half-sheathed barn, was the start of a 45 year foundation for family and farm. Katrina was born shortly after the move. Colleene taught high school Business Education and English in Bloomington and Riverton until Riverton school closed in 1967. They added Celia to the family during her teaching years and Brenda came along a short time later when Colleene was busy raising a family, milking cows, and farming.
Colleene was very active with her children’s activities in school and out. She chaired Penny Carnivals at the Riverton School, was a leader for the Rough Riders 4-H Horse Club for 15 years, helped sponsor FFA and Science activities, and attended hundreds of sporting events. She served as chairperson for the Franklin County Centennial Celebration as well as Riverton’s local and state centennial celebrations. Colleene was also the first female member of the Franklin County Ag Society.
She had many passions. One, that started in 1970, was her passion for quilting. Every aspect of quilting; making, teaching, designing, hand-quilting, judging and giving….became her passion. A few notables are the quilt block she designed for Webster County which hangs at the State Fair Expo, the quilt she assisted her friend, Burke Pinnell, design and then made, which Burke then presented to the Governor of Tennessee. There is a beautiful quilt for the Nebraska Cattleman’s Ball, the one honoring those going through cancer that hangs in the Morrison Cancer Center in Hastings, the receiving blankets for the cancer ward at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha, baby blankets in Africa, and 30 Honor Quilts for her immediate family members and the 15 WWII veterans living in Webster County, that were stitched by Colleene. To her pride, the Honor Quilts spearheaded the help of the local Auxiliary and every veteran in Webster County now has an Honor Quilt. In 2016 she received the Nebraska State Quilt Guild Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award for all her contributions to the art of Quilting.
Other organizations near and dear to her heart were the TeamMates program where she formed a chapter and was a mentor for 22 years and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life organization in Webster County.
Colleene loved to travel and often said, “I have seen the pyramids, rode a camel, cruised the Nile, seen where Adolph Hitler retreated, the Alps, Munich Square, was in King Tut’s tomb, feasted at a Hawaiian Luau, stood on the Statue of Liberty, but the most treasured was to have walked where Jesus walked. To see the site of His birth, Golgotha Hill, the Garden Tomb, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane and the land of the Bedouin shepherds—so much like the hills south of Riverton”. Her travels took her to every state but Alaska and Rhode Island.
Her other loves were her flowers, birds, and many orphaned wild animals.
Preceding her in death were her husband Duane; parents, Wilbur and Lela Cline; Parents-in-law, Arlie & Berneice Minnick; brothers, Dwane, Delwyn, Jack, Wyvern and Gail Cline; sisters-in-law, Norma, Shirlee, Janice, Betty, Mary, Evelyn and Winifred; brothers-in-law Ralph and Gerald Minnick.
She is survived by sisters Carolyn Cline, Lois (Don) Shannon, Sharol Lawhead; sisters-in-law Ruth Cline and Elaine (Valdean) Kershner; brothers-in-law, Gary (Donna) Minnick; her lifelong college friend Millie; and a multitude of nieces, nephews, their families, and numerous friends.
Colleene’s greatest love, greatest joy and deepest pride was in her family of six children, Danny Kay Minnick, Charmaine Arlette Brown, Scotty Duane Minnick, Katrina Wilette Oaklund, Celia Yvette Fanning and Brenda Nanette Ralston. She also cherished (many times more than her own) :) their spouses, Mary Minnick, Ronnie Oaklund, Leon Fanning and Andy Ralston as well as Steve Brown, Kris Johnson and Mark Steinkruger. Also surviving her are 15 grandchildren, Josh Minnick, Caleb (Libby) Brown, Tyler (Kim) Brown, Tiffany Minnick, Stephanie (Brett) Rupprecht, Codina (Jeff) Moore, Wayco (Kilah) Oaklund, Elijah (Jaca) Fanning, Bridgett Fanning, Kasandra (Garrett) Stricklin, Emet Fanning, Elliot Fanning, KaLee Fanning, Alexandra Ralston and Colleena Ralston: 23 great grandchildren, McKenzie, Kalibr, Dawson, RaeLynn, Halley, Cooper, Jetta, Riata, Bridger, Conner, Parker, Grady, RiLee, Jake, Ayden, Alayna, Julea, William, Evrhett, Maya, Waverly, Liam and Hope
Her life was full and blessed. May she rest in peace.
Funeral services were Saturday, 10:00 am, October 14, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Red Cloud with the Rev. Dale Thiele and Lyle Burwell officiating. Interment was at the Riverton Cemetery.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska