ARAPAHOE -- Rolland George Westerbeck, 77, died Wednesday (June 22, 2005), at the Grand Island Veterans Home in Grand Island.
He was born Oct. 29, 1927, in Melrose Park, Ill., to John J. and Anna Leona (McCollam) Westerbeck.
He spent his early years traveling around the United States while his father was a dirt contractor. He attended many different schools, including Arapahoe Public Schools.
In 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and operated heavy equipment to build bridges, roads and air strips. He served in the Philippines, Japan, China and Pearl Harbor. He was discharged in 1947.
Because he entered the Navy before graduating from high school, he received his high school diploma from Arapahoe Public Schools in 2000.
After being discharged from the Navy, he worked for his father at Westerbeck Construction Co.
On Nov. 29, 1947, he married Emma J. Wheeler in Lincoln. He continued being a heavy equipment operator, and was involved in helping build Harlan Dam at Alma, Swanson Dam at Trenton and Bonny Dam at Hale, Colo.
From 1950 until 1967, he and his brother, Glenn, owned and operated the family business.
From 1967 until 1982, he served as county engineer for Kearney and Sherman counties, as general superintendent for Werner Construction in Hastings and as superintendent for Paden Construction Co. in Fremont.
From February 1982 until 1995, he served as the foreman for the city street department of Fremont.
His wife passed away in 1995 and he retired at that time.
He was an officer with the VFW in Kearney.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Emma; and his brother, Glenn.
Survivors include his daughter, Sharon Ross of Broken Arrow, Okla.; his sister, LaVerna Broughton of Holdrege; and five grandchildren.
Viewing or visitation will be Saturday, June 25, from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at Wenburg Funeral Home in Arapahoe.
Graveside services will be Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Arapahoe Cemetery, Arapahoe, with the Rev. Kenton Birtell of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church of Holdrege officiating. Military rites will be presented by the Arapahoe and Edison American Legion.
Condolences or personal reflections can be left at www.wenburgfuneralhome.com
Memorials are suggested to the VFW Club in Kearney or the Veterans Home in Grand Island.
Wenburg Funeral Home of Arapahoe is in charge of arrangements.