Milton J. Sytsma of McCook passed away on Saturday (Aug. 17, 2002) following a lengthy battle with heart disease and Parkinson's. He was 83.
He was born Feb. 7, 1919, in a sod house on the family farm south of Brady to Henry and Ivie (Brown) Sytsma, the second of five children, and the only son. He attended Union School District 74, a country school a few miles from the farm, through eighth grade. He began high school at Brady, but responsibilities on the farm prevented him from completing high school.
With his interest in mechanics and inventing, Milton took a course in sheet metals at a trade school in Lincoln. The school promised each graduate a job in a factory and Milton was given one at the Curtiss-Wright airplane factory in Buffalo, N.Y., where he worked making airplanes for England's World War II involvement.
He enlisted in 1942 in the Army Air Corps. His basic training was at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was sent to Marrakech, French Morocco and later Cairo, Egypt, where he was an airplane mechanic for most of the war. He worked on bombers and C-47's. He was attached to the 118th Ferrying Squadron, attaining the rank of Buck Sergeant. It was during the war years that he accepted Christ as his Savior through an Army buddy, and was later baptized in a small church in Cairo.
After the war, he married Carolyn Edson of Gothenburg on Sept. 23, 1947. They had four children. Milton worked the family farm at Brady raising cattle, hogs, corn, alfalfa, and other crops. He supplemented that income by working at other jobs, including working at a factory, a hay mill, a service station, and working for other farmers during the years of raising a family.
In 1978, Carolyn and Milton moved to McCook and bought the Arrow Carwash. In addition to operating it, he worked for 17 years at Cornbelt Chemical, which became Van Diest Supply. Milton retired from Van Diest and sold the carwash in 1998, at age 79.
Milton and Carolyn were charter members of the McCook Evangelical Free Church. Through Milton's years at the carwash and at Cornbelt, as well as his faithful service in the church, he gained many acquaintances in McCook, all of whom, like his family, thought fondly of him.
From 1998 until his increasing illness in 2001, Milton enjoyed building knickknacks and furniture for his children and grandchildren. He also wrote funny, endearing, and often politically conservative poetry which he shared with family and friends. He loved to go to coffee with friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and an older sister, Minnie Belle Sytsma.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and their four children, Janene and husband, Glenn Goosey of Lincoln, Judy and husband, Craig Stous of Lincoln, Lennis Sytsma of Kearney, and Kent Sytsma and wife, Amy of Lincoln. His seven grandchildren include Nathan and Cory Goosey, Megan and Daniel Stous, and Chelsey, Madison, and Melissa Sytsma. Great-grandchildren are Brandon and Tasia Goosey. He is also survived by his sisters LaVeda Connelly, Bertha Hammond, and Mabel Stanard.
Services will be Tuesday, 10 a.m., at the McCook Evangelical Free Church with Pastor Bruce Lester officiating. Burial will be 2 p.m. at the Gothenburg Cemetery.
Visitation is today until 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Evangelical Free Church or to the family's choice.
Condolences may be mailed to Carolyn Systma, 120 East F, Apt. 2, McCook, NE 69001 or emailed to email@example.com.
Carpenter-Breland Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.