Geneva Elaine (Berns) Lewis, was born September 21, 1931 at the "Craig Place" south of Bladen, Nebraska to Henry P.F. and Blanche (Kaufman) Berns. She departed this life on Monday, January 20, 2020 at Mary Lanning HealthCare in Hastings, Nebraska after battling cancer.
Geneva was the oldest child of Henry and Blanche, later joined by four younger brothers: Kenneth, David, Richard, and Henry D. The family moved from the Craig Place to the George Fritz farm, where they lived six years before settling down at the Cather place. Geneva attended elementary at the Five Star and Catherton rural schools. She graduated from Bladen High school in 1950.
Following high school Geneva attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agriculture on a Regents Scholarship. During her school years she was active in dormitory life at Love Memorial Hall as well as belonging to a number of campus organizations. She graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor’s in Home Economics. Geneva completed her student teaching at Alma, Nebraska following graduation. Over the course of Geneva’s teaching career, she taught at Giltner, Juniata, and founded the home economics departments at both Grand Island Northwest and Adams Central High Schools.
On June 12, 1955 Geneva married Donald Lewis at the Plainview Country Church south of Bladen. Following their wedding the couple lived in Lincoln, Nebraska where their son, Kurt, was born. Shortly after, they moved to Grand Island, Nebraska and added daughter Dianne to the family. In addition to raising the children and teaching, Geneva assisted her husband with weekend farming in Bladen. The family eventually moved to Bladen to farm full time on their land north of town.
Geneva played a pivotal role in the couple’s farm over the years, performing field work, gardening, canning extensively, and raising their family. After Don’s retirement from farming, Geneva continued assisting in the farming operation by bringing lunch to the field, performing transfers, and care taking for her grandchildren. Throughout the years she attended her children’s and then grandchildren’s sporting and academic events and religiously kept her own notes and stats at every event.
Geneva was a prolific reader, and read extensively about the presidents and their wives. She took part in the Willa Cather Conference in Red Cloud for many years. She enjoyed the discussion of books with the local Book Club. A favorite activity was reading “the funnies” with her grandchildren, which she used as a teaching moment.
Geneva is well known as the historian of her family and community. She spent many hours clipping newspapers and carefully archiving the lives of family and friends. She always had her camera ready at events, and generously shared her photos with the participants.
A lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, Geneva will be remembered fondly by neighbors, family, and friends, as a caring and active member of the community who always had a helping hand for others and boundless energy. She was very social, attending community events and meeting with friends for coffee or at the local bar.
Geneva was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Blanche Berns; spouse, Don Lewis; and brothers, Kenneth and Richard Berns. Left to cherish her memory are son, Kurt Lewis of Denver, Colorado; daughter, Dianne and husband Pat Danehey of Bladen, Nebraska; three grandchildren, Callie Danehey Coleman and husband John of Norfolk, Virginia, Sean Danehey and wife Maite of Chicago, Illinois, Keenan Danehey of Richmond, Virginia; and three great grandchildren.
Also surviving are her brother David Berns and wife, Sharon of Bladen; brother Henry D. Berns and wife, Marilyn of Andover, Illinois; sisters-in-law, Sherry Berns of Othello, Washington and LaVeda Berns of Bladen; and other relatives and many friends.
Funeral services were Saturday, 10:30 am, January 25, 2020 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen with the Rev. Dan Albers officiating. Interment was at the East Lawn Cemetery in Bladen.
Memorials are suggested to the Bladen Alumni Scholarship Fund.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970
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