Norval William VanDiest – September 20, 1934 – September 17, 2017

Norval William VanDiest, 82, of Dunning, Nebraska passed away peacefully at home with family members present, on September 17, 2017. Norval was born to Bill (William) and Dorothy (Yocum) VanDiest on September 20, 1934. Dr. Cram from Burwell was summoned to the family ranch by Almeria, Nebraska.

He attended grade school in the country school at the edge of his parents’ land, until the family moved to Minnesota when Norval was 10. Norval worked at a roller skating rink cleaning skates on Sunday’s for $2 a day, and called dances 3 nights a week for a dollar a night, except for when his wages went to allow his brother Wade, and sister Alvera to skate. The family moved back to the ranch when his grandfather passed away. Norval graduated from Taylor High School in 1953. Shortly after graduation, he joined the army for two years being stationed in Ft. Riley, Kansas; Ft. Belver, Virginia, where he received an award from “America On Wheels”, the largest roller skating rink in the world at the time, for his skating ability; and finally in frigid Newfoundland.

Norval met Marlene Rieber at a dance in Brewster where he tried to get her to go across the river to “park”. She finally accepted a date with him after Don and Doris Spencer told her he came from a good family. After marrying in 1956, he worked for his father on the family ranch for a year, then moved to Dunning to work for McMullen Propane for 2 ½ years. Norval then worked for CO-OP in Dunning for 2 years where he got interested in the gas business. In 1961 he decided to start his own gas business hauling fuel with his gas truck from Taylor, while he built his gas station on an acreage north of town. He worked many years, 7 days a week, building his gas business. In 1987 he turned the business over to his youngest son, Norman. All three of his children worked at Van’s Ranch Service as attendants, fuel truck drivers, and a bookkeeper.

After semi-retiring he took up the sport of golfing and spent many days with friends Richard Shinn, Lloyd Anderson, and Gene Horst, at the Thedford Golf Course, until his health would no longer allow him to do so.

Norval was preceded in death by his parents, sister Alvera Wiley, and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Carolyn and Steve Collier. He is survived by his wife, Marlene, daughter Shari(Warren) Haumann, son Brian(Mary) VanDiest, son Norman(Chris) VanDiest, brother Wade(Ada) VanDiest, brother-in-law Jim Wiley, brother-in-law Merlyn(Sharon) Rieber, sister-in-law Phyllis(Jim) Wilhelm, sister-in-law Sandra(Gene Sullivan) Rieber; 12 grandchildren: Michael(Sendi) Haumann, Andrea(Matthew) Michele, Daniel (Taryn) Haumann, Hannah(Tyler Sherwood) Haumann, Rhiannon(Rainy) VanDiest, Katrina(Derek) Friend, Sydney(Austin) Holmes, Kassie(Caleb) Geiger, Joel(Makayla Rinestine) Van Diest, Makala(Zak) Whiteneck, Andrew Rice, Jeremy Rice; and 11 great grandchildren.

Memorials can be made to the Blaine County Foundation, Dunning Rural Fire Department, and Sandhill’s Heritage Museum.

Memorial services will be held on Monday September 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM at the High School Gymnasium in Dunning Nebraska with Pastor Ralph McKay officiating. Military Honors will be held at the services. Govier Brothers Mortuary of Broken Bow is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at

Norm’s Auto in Dunning will be closed on September 25, for the services.