Lillian Lola Athey Nansel – December 15, 1920 – September 22, 2017

Lillian Lola Athey Nansel, age 96, of North Platte, NE, passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus on Friday, September 22, 2017, at Centennial Park Retirement Village in North Platte, NE.Lillian was born in a sod house in the Sandhills of Nebraska, which she so loved, on December 15, 1920, near Elsmere. She was the tenth of 11 children born to LeGrande and Rose Mae Dailey Athey. As a youngster in such a large family, Lillian was the pancake maker in the morning and the wild turkey herder in the afternoon.In 1937 at the age of 16, Lillian graduated from Ainsworth High School. She immediately passed all her teacher's exams and began teaching. As a petite 4'11″ young woman, she felt compelled to inform her pupils she was 18 years old. Lillian later attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, Black Hills State Teacher's College and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, acquiring a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and a minor in Art.She went on to teach in Brown, Blaine and Lincoln Counties in Nebraska and Butte County, SD, for a total of 40 years. Lillian loved teaching and proclaimed, “Teaching was the most fun I ever had. I loved my students.” And for her work, she was awarded the “Teacher of the Month” two times, in the North Platte School System.On September 14, 1940, Lillian was united in marriage to horsetrader Floyd “Pete” Nansel, in Broken Bow, NE. To this union four children, Marguerite, Betty Anne, Joe Pete and Keo, were born.Lillian was a great wife and mother. She was a 4-H leader in Custer and Lancaster Counties in Nebraska and was honored as a “Nebraska Merit Mother” in 1991 at the Governor's Mansion in Lincoln. She was thrilled to be dining at the mansion with the Governor's wife.Lillian was also a published author of two paperback books, There's Still Time and Joe the Medic, as well as two poetry books, Little Here, Little There and This and That. For her poetry, Lillian received many awards. She was also honored by her classmates of '37 with a framed “This Is My Life” article and picture, which hangs in the Ainsworth Museum in Ainsworth, NE.From 1999-2002, Lillian became a volunteer/community sponsor for the Community Correction Center in Lincoln (CCC-L). As part of the correctional system, she and her daughter, Keo, would sign out inmates on Sundays, transport them to and from, as well as supervise them at church services.In later years she became known for her honky-tonk piano playing (which she learned by ear) and played the piano for the Sutherland Senior Center and the NETV documentary, “Canteen Spirit” in 2004.Along with her recognitions for teaching and writing, Lillian received the Sutherland “Volunteer of the Year” Award in 2003, and the Wallace “Big Blue Booster” Award in 2007, which she shared with her daughter, Betty Anne. These two women had been Wallace's undying sports event fixtures for many years because of their great-grandson, Keegan Parr.Lillian was also a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church, P.T.A., N.E.A. (Nebraska Education Association), and the Sioux Lookout Chapter of D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution).Many family members and friends are proud owners of her oil paintings, bright colored quilts and her embroidered pillow cases. Lillian was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her positiveness, peacekeeping ability, and love of people will be missed but her legacy will not soon be forgotten.She leaves behind her children, Marguerite Doucet, of Colorado Springs, CO, Betty Anne (Steve) Strawn, of Sutherland, Joe Pete (Gloria) Nansel, of Tucson, AZ, and Keo Nansel, of Bend, OR; nine grandchildren, Jody Doucet, Curtis Doucet, Darren Doucet, Scott Parr, Allen Parr, Leigh Anne Parr, Maggie Nansel, Michael Nansel and Athey Moravetz; 20 great-grandchildren; two great great-granddaughters; as well as many nieces, nephews, other family and her friends.Lillian was preceded in death by her husband, Pete, in 1988; her parents; six sisters; four brothers; and a granddaughter, Keo Mascaranus. “Sunset and evening star, one clear call for me. May there be no mourning at the bar, when I am put out to sea.”Cremation was chosen. Memorial services were held Friday, September 29, 2017, at the Arnold United Methodist Church. Inurnment followed in the Arnold Cemetery. Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore, was in charge of arrangements.Memorials are suggested to the Arnold United Methodist Church.