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1929 Lon 2018

Lon Thomas Birnie

October 15, 1929 — November 26, 2018

     Lon Thomas Birnie, 89, of Callaway, Nebraska, went to be with his heavenly father on November 26, 2018.  He died peacefully at his home.  He was born on the family homestead on Ryno Table to Robert and Grace (Eggleston) Birnie on October 15, 1929.  He attended the Custer Canyon one-room school until the 8th grade and then worked on the family farm.

      On February 17, 1953, Lon married Joan (Struempler) in Lexington, Nebraska.  He was drafted into the army on March 4th, 1953, and was on active duty in Korea until February 12, 1955.   Upon returning home, Lon and Joan settled in rural Callaway where they raised their three children, Cindy, Monty, and Marci.  Lon lived all of his 89 years in this community.

     Lon was preceded in death by his wife, Joan, son, Monty, three brothers, one sister, and both his and Joan’s parents.

     He is survived by daughter Cindy and husband Ron Urbach of Hemet, California, daughter Marci and husband Stuart Gilbertson of Kearney, Nebraska; grandsons Ryan (Julie) Urbach of Vista California, Matthew (Shilo) Birnie of Mesa, Arizona; granddaughters Jessica (Riley) Gruntorad of Lexington, Nebraska and Jordan (Tyler) Cretacci of Amherst, Nebraska and nine great-grandchildren.

     Funeral services for Lon will be held on Monday, December 3, 2018, at 10:30 AM at the Govier Brothers Chapel in Broken Bow, NE with Ken Pitkin officiating. Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 2, 2018, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, with family greeting 4:00 to 5:00 PM at Govier Brothers Mortuary. Burial will be in the Broken Bow Township Cemetery south of Broken Bow with Military Honors. Govier Brothers Mortuary are in charge of arrangements. Online condolences can be left at

***Lon raised cattle for many years and later ran a dairy farm.  He did custom hay and farming and for a short period of time worked at a parts store in Broken Bow.  He spent the last 30 years of his life working for the Jenkins family cattle business.  It was a perfect job for him.  He got to work with cattle, ride pastures, be outdoors and quietly disagree with Jim.   This job afforded him the opportunity to meet and work with many, many people with whom he got to show how beautiful the country life really is.  He commented many times over the years that if these guests did not come to the ranch, they would never know how to saddle a horse or build a fence. 

     Anyone who knew Lon knew of his quiet nature.  He had a calming sense about him that people respected and loved.   He was not a man of many words, but his actions spoke volumes of his honestly, loyalty and faith in God.  This was his greatest gift.  He believed that a handshake and your word was as binding as any written contract.  He never locked his doors and always left his keys in the pickup in case the neighbor needed a pop or a ride.  He would do anything for anyone and never complained a day in his life. 

     For many years, Lon attended Sunnyside Sunday School where he was at one time or another the Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, music director, missionary advocate, custodian, secretary, treasurer, or head of maintenance.  Each year the baton was passed between attendees in an informal meeting over coffee, brownies and if they were lucky Frank Anderson’s homemade ice cream.  When the decision was made to close Sunnyside, Lon and his family began attending the Berean Church in Broken Bow.   Lon was adamant that his children learn to love God and accept Him as he did.  He wanted nothing more than his children to have a relationship with God. 

     Lon’s passion was animals, especially horses.  He was a horse whisperer if there ever was one.   It just came naturally to him.  He had a sense about animals.  He could look at a cow or a horse and know something was wrong, just by the way it looked; not by the way it was standing or swishing it’s tail, but by the way it looked.  He could calm a skittish horse and ease a timid dog without saying a word.   It might take him a day or two, but he had the patience of Job and always won the battle.  Lon loved riding his horse and would’ve rode every day if he had the opportunity.  You could often get a glimpse of him riding across the pastures or coming down the street in a parade. 

     Lon loved the land, his family and his God.  He was a true cowboy and with his death, we have lost one of the good ones.  For the gift of resurrection, God for this we give you thanks.


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