John Fries died Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009, at Hillcrest Nursing Home in McCook, Neb., where he had been a resident since Dec. 1, 2004. John was 96.
He was born on Feb. 22, 1913, south of McCook to Henry and Katherine (Bernhardt) Fries. He was baptized as a baby and confirmed at age 13 in the German Congregational Church at Culbertson, Neb. He grew up on a farm with his parents, one brother, and three sisters.
He married LaVaughn Lona Hock on April 22, 1937. John farmed his own land west of Beverly for one year before he and LaVaughn were married and they enjoyed over 70 years of marriage. They farmed together for 49 years before retiring and moving to McCook, Neb., in 1986.
John served on the Frenchman Valley Irrigation District board for over 35 years. He also served on the Beverly School Board for a number of years. He was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Chapter 318 and a 43-year member of the Palisade Masonic Lodge 216 A.F. & A.M. at Palisade, Neb., and McCook Elks Lodge 1430. He was a member of the German Congregational Church and the United Methodist Church for 82 years.
His heart was always on his farm and he immensely enjoyed driving out to the farm and helping in many ways all his retired years. He mowed the lawn and loved driving his Super C Tractor to mow the perimeters of the farm. He especially loved driving his restored 1952 Ford pick-up and pulling his 1905 church bell in surrounding community parades.
He was preceded in death by his wife, LaVaughn Fries on July 24, 2007; his parents; one brother, Jake Fries; three sisters, Elizabeth Walters, Millie Potthoff, and Katherine Potthoff, daughters-in-law, Judy and RoxieAnn.
John is survived by five sons, Steve Fries and wife Gayleen of Culbertson, Neb., Tyrone Fries and wife Donna of Plattsmouth, Neb., Wayne Fries of Leander, Texas, Harvey Fries and wife, Betty of Lincoln, Neb., and Russell Fries and wife Ruth of Smithville, Mo.; 13 grandchildren, Steffenie, Travis, Todd, David, Tyanne, Cathy, Beth, Michael, Angela, Jessica, Jennifer, Andrew and William; 17 great-grandchildren, relatives and friends.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday Oct. 29, 2009, at the Memorial United Methodist Church in McCook, Neb., with Pastor Lance Clay officiating. Interment will be in the Culbertson Cemetery at Culbertson, Nebraska.
Memorials may be given in his name and friends may call at Herrmann Funeral Home in McCook from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Herrmann Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.