Randy Lee Abelbeck (Age 76) died on September 7, 2023 at Gramercy AL in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Randy was born on July 6, 1947, to Ervin and Mabel (nee Peters) Abelbeck in the Patterson Memorial Hospital at Belleville, KS. He was the first of four children. After a year on a farm in Kansas, Randy and his parents moved to a farm 8 miles south of Deshler, Nebraska. Randy grew up on this farm until he graduated from high school and left for the army. It was during this period that Randy’s younger siblings, Stewart, Sally, and Rachelle, were born and raised. Randy’s education began in a one-room school one-half mile from the farm within Thayer County, Nebraska. Once that country school closed, he attended Peace Lutheran Elementary School in Deshler, Nebraska, and then attended Deshler High School. In his childhood, he participated in 4-H, raising and showing hogs. In his early teen years, Randy’s love for design and making things with his hands came to fruition. From old metal chairs, left over tires from bicycles and a lawn mower engine, Randy created, built, and welded a go-cart which family members raced around the farm place and, occasionally when parents were not aware, on the gravel road up to the neighbor’s farm place.
During his high school years, Randy excelled in football, winning the Class C state title with his brother, Stewart (right-tackle and left-tackle, respectively). He graduated from Deshler High School in 1965 and he attended one year at Kearney State College before getting drafted into the US Army. After his stretch in the armed forces in Germany, Randy attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln for two years. One of his part-time jobs while attending the University soon became a fulltime adventure. His ability to talk to any person gave him an edge on sales at Cliff’s Smoke Shop. During his tenure at Cliff’s, he learned to carve meerschaum pipes and sell them at the shop. He developed and hosted, with Cliff’s support, the first District Pipe Smoking Contest in Lincoln, NE. Once Cliff’s Smoke Shop closed, Randy piqued his interest in chemistry and applied at Norden’s Laboratory (SmithKline Beecham Animal Health). He worked in the laboratory at the Lincoln facility for 21 years before his retirement.
Randy married Marjorie nee Schwindt on June 13, 1971. They were married for 44 years until their marriage was dissolved. Randy had a fondness for dogs of all kinds, but his favorite ones were Gretchen, a Peekapoo, followed by his best-loved Tess and Missy, two West Highland White Terriers or “Westies”.
Randy’s hobbies over the years included growing roses and entering them in the Lincoln Garden Shows. He won championships in several of his rose entries. He enjoyed woodworking and creating pieces out of scraps and recycled wood. In his later years, he collected World War documentaries and movies and could describe detailed incidents in each of the wars. He had many, many movies and documentaries on American historical events in addition to complete collections of the Beatles and Bob Dylan music.
In October 2009, Randy had a fall which caused two hematomas of the brain. During surgery, he had two hemorrhagic strokes, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and wheelchair bound. In 2015, Randy moved to Gramercy and it remained his home until his death.
At Gramercy, Randy collected quotes of all kinds which he displayed via post-it-notes throughout his room. No hard surface would escape a yellow piece of paper with some words of wisdom scribbled on it. Staff knew Randy from his wit, puns, and jokester personality. Residents knew him from his friendly and caring demeanor. Family remembers him for his love and devotion to them.
Randy was preceded in death by his parents, Ervin and Mabel Abelbeck, his brother, Stewart Abelbeck, and his brother-in-law, Jeffrey L Biegert.
He is survived by his sister, Sally Y. Biegert of Greenwood Village, CO; his sister, Rachelle (Delton) Neemann of Hastings, NE; his sister-in-law, Michelle Abelbeck of Grand Island, NE; his nieces, Lindsey (Scott) Biegert-McCray; Natasha (Matt) Harris Englewood, CO; Kelsey (Brent)Cunningham of Fort Worth, TX. Hannah (Elizabeth Berkowitz) Abelbeck of Sante Fe, New Mexico; Clarissa (Blake) Bostelman of Donavon, NE and nephew, Austin (Katy) Abelbeck of Leawood, KS; ten great nieces and nephews: Reagan, Colby, and Jeffrey Harris, Audrey and Madeleine McCray, Olivia and Grayson Cunningham, Charlotte, Anniston and Cora Abelbeck; an aunt, Arlene Matthiesen from Sioux Falls, SD and many cousins and their families plus numerous friends.
A Memorial Service with be held on October 8th from 2-4pm in the reception hall at Gramercy Hill Assisted Living 6800 A Street Lincoln, Nebraska.
It was Randy’s wish that memorials please be sent to Domesti-Pups in his honor. You can donate online here, or mail donations to: Domesti-PUPS, P.O. Box 21725, Lincoln, NE 68542.
Service information is pending.
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