NORTH PLATTE -- Elsie Katherine Rathbun was born May 25, 1915, in rural Hayes County, Neb., to Joe and Bertha Tate. Her parents moved to Frisco, Colo., for two years while she and her brother were still small children, where her father hauled supplies to the minors.
Their longing for the farm country brought them back to Nebraska to stay. Elsie loved riding horses. She attended her early school years in a rural one room school. Elsie graduated from Hayes County High School in 1933.
She became a teacher herself in one of those one room country schools. She was joined in marriage to Dennis Rathbun, June 30, 1935. They were blessed with five children, Denyse, Bettijean, Janice, Richard and Martha. They lived in Hayes Center while raising their family.
She was a member of the Rebecca Lodge and the Congregational Church in Hayes Center. Elsie was a rural mail carrier in Hayes County. She then worked for the Postal Service in surrounding areas for many years before retirement. After retirement, Elsie moved to North Platte and remained there until her death.
Elsie's exuberance for life sustained her for those many years. She loved to dance, play bridge and socialize. She made many great friends in North Platte. Elsie had to bear one of life's worst experiences, that of losing a child. Martha was stricken with MS and passed away at the young age of 48.
Elsie, as a devoted mother, cared for Martha as long as possible before Martha had to go to a nursing home. That loss, as would be for any mother, was very difficult for Elsie.
Elsie was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Martha, one grandson and one great-grand daughter.
She is survived by one brother, James Tate of Fort Collins, Colo.; her daughters, Denyse Scott (VerDon) of Hayes Center, Bettijean Mintling (Dean) of Boulder, Colo., Janice Breese of Hayes Center, Martha Gerih's husband Dave; son, Richard Rathbun (Sharon) of Hastings, Neb.; 18 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; eight step-great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
A memorial has been established in her memory.
Online condolences may be shared at www.carpentermemorial.com. Cremation was chosen.
Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 at Carpenter Memorial Chapel in North Platte. Graveside inurnment services will be 2 p.m. at the Hayes Center Cemetery in Hayes Center.
Carpenter Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.