Cover photo for Diane Elaine Pavel's Obituary
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1957 Diane 2020

Diane Elaine Pavel

September 15, 1957 — March 24, 2020

A private family Rosary and Funeral will be Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the St Joseph Catholic Church in Broken Bow, NE with Father Jim Hunt officiating. Burial will be in the St Joseph Catholic Cemetery. A viewing and visitation will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020 at Govier Brothers Mortuary from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Govier Brothers Mortuary will comply with the CDC and State of Nebraska, limiting gatherings of 10 people or less at one time.  We sincerely encourage each person to make your decision whether to attend a viewing/visitation based on the best interest of your health and that of the community. An online register book can be signed for words of encouragement or remembrance at

Diane Elaine (Burke) Pavel was born on September 15, 1957 in Lynch, Ne. to Dean and Elaine Burke. She passed away on March 24th at Bryan West Medical Center. She lived in Lexington, Ne. for a short period of time, moving to Broken Bow where she attended school, graduating from Broken Bow High School in 1975.  Diane worked as a dietary aide at Jennie M Melham Hospital until she entered college in 1980.   Her college graduation began her lifelong career in work focused on helping people, which came very naturally to her and was indicative of her compassionate and loving heart.  Over the course of the next 35 years Diane worked for several agencies in Lincoln, McCook and Kearney helping children, families and adults. In her career with Health and Human Services she was a Protection and Safety, and Economic Assistance case manager and a Supervisor for a financial assistance unit.  Diane finished her career retiring from the Kearney USDA Rural Development Office in October 2019. 

Diane met her Michael when they were members of the McCook Jaycees.  She did not fall in love until a little later in life, and once told a sister that “Mike was worth the wait!”   Diane and Mike shared almost 23 years of marriage, love, early morning coffee, going to the movies and spirited conversation.  In earlier years of their marriage, Diane enjoyed fishing and hunting with Mike, and attending auctions during which she was a fierce and frequent bidder! Avid supporters of wildlife conservation she and Mike attended numerous Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever banquets, enjoying the meal, the company and the auctions.  Diane enjoyed Junk Jaunting with Mike’s mother Kathy and his aunt, Jacki and traveling to Disney World, California, Washington and Las Vegas, planning trips around visiting family which was important to both of them.  Diane greatly enjoyed the Sandhill Cranes, with she and Mike sharing a tradition of getting Kentucky Fried Chicken and finding a spot to have the best view.  Michael had hoped to take her to see them this year, but her health did not provide the opportunity to do so.

Diane enjoyed music, playing the guitar in her younger years and acquiring a fairly extensive collection of phonograph records.  A creative soul, she liked to paint and encouraged nieces and nephews who expressed artistic ability.   A tremendous strength of Diane’s was her ability to connect with family, friends and people she worked with.  Diane was a magnet for those in need and felt a calling to help them, in her professional and personal life. Family was very important to her and she was very proud of and dearly loved her nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews, taking great care to remember them on Christmas and their birthday and offering words of encouragement.   She was a fun aunt and was known as “that other grandma” to some of the littlest family members.

Diane was a tremendous baker and inherited her mother’s ability to make homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies and cake. Neighbors, friends, coworkers and Mike’s brother Dan were often the appreciative recipients of these gifts of love. The past several years at Christmas, Diane and Mike invited neighborhood families to come over to bake and decorate cookies, an activity in which she took great delight sharing time with the children in the neighborhood and their parents.   Next to Mike, his family, her family and baking, Diane’s great passion was her yellow labs.  Star and Bella were her companions, her friends and sometimes her headache.  They gave her comfort, laughter and wet kisses. 

Diane kept her sense of humor and desire to live life until the very end.  She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her father-in-law Ron Pavel, her brother-in-law Jeff Kawata and her beloved dogs, Tess and Blue.  She is survived by her husband Michael of Kearney, mother-in-law Kathy of Abie, brothers-in-law, Dan of Abie, and Bob (Nancy) of York, sisters Michelle Embree of Gibsonville, N.C., Ann Kawata, Mary (James) Miller, and Jodi (Carey) Mattox all of Broken Bow, brothers Mike Burke, Scottsbluff, Shawn (Becky) Burke, Sutherland, David (Tami) Burke, Aunt Jacki (Adrian) Sima, Staplehurst, Uncle Glen (Gretchen) Burke, Tumwater, WA,  26 nieces and nephews and 23 great nieces and nephews.  Diane was kind, caring, fun, creative, spirited, a loving wife, sister, aunt, daughter-in-law and tremendous friend.  She is loved and she is missed.


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