William R. Bohlken (Bill) was born to William J. and Lucille Bohlken on November 15, 1939, in Auburn, Nebraska. His sister Maureen was born three years later. They lived on the family farm near Brock, Nebraska, all his growing up years, where he helped his dad with the farming from a young age.
Bill attended Brock Public School from Kindergarten through graduation in 1958, where he was an excellent football, basketball, baseball and track letter winner. He also was asked to try out for a minor league baseball team when he played Legion Baseball in High School. Bill went to Dana College in Blair, where he excelled at football and ran back a 100 yard plus record-breaking interception. Bill earned a BS in Education Degree majoring in History and Physical Education at Dana College in Blair where he met his future wife, Ellen Kloster.
Later he went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha for his Master’s Degree and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration.
Bill was a lifelong Lutheran having been baptized and confirmed at Trinity (Faith) Lutheran Church in Talmage. After moving to southeast Nebraska, he and his family joined St. Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn, where he spent many, many hours serving as Church Council president, committee member on several committees, usher, announcer, and as a confirmation mentor. He always enjoyed working with kids of all ages, especially when he thought a skit would enrich the church services. He also enjoyed giving the message when Pastor was gone, and he officiated for funerals of dear friends.
Bill had a variety of occupations including working for a machine manufacturing company in Blair, for the Pennsylvania Railroad, with his dad on the farm, and coaching/history teaching positions at Glidden/Ralston Schools, and West Harrison Schools in Iowa.
He became a School Principal at Stella, Nebraska, and a School Superintendent at Clarks, and Axtell, Nebraska. Returning to his farming roots, Bill became a successful District Manager for Asgrow Seed Company, earning awards and trips for outstanding sales. When he retired from Asgrow Bill was asked to substitute a few days for Southeast Community College in Beatrice teaching Ag. Marketing. Seven years later, he retired from college teaching and took more time for his family.
Bill married Ellen Kloster at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Oyens, Iowa, on May 12, 1962. The most important part of Bill’s life was his family. He spent many happy hours being with his four children and twelve grandchildren; attending and coaching their sports events, music events, plays, and other activities. Over the years, the family enjoyed horse shows, boating outings, and hosting fireworks extravaganzas.
Bill and Ellen traveled to all 50 states and Puerto Rico, many times for his Big Red football. He very rarely missed a Huskers Football game, at home or away, for over twenty-five years and he was famous for his tailgate parties with friends and family.
Bill peacefully joined his Heavenly Father on June 14, 2023, after nearly a month’s illness at Bryan Hospital in Lincoln. He leaves behind his wife of over sixty-one years, Ellen - Auburn, and his four much-loved children; Jay (Abbie Widger) Bohlken - Syracuse, Joel (Natalie) Bohlken - Palmer, Jon (Keri) Bohlken - Phoenix, and Angie (George) Herrera - Peoria, AZ, his grandchildren; Connor (CJ) Bohlken, Breea Herrera, Stacy Bohlken, Anna Bohlken, Marie Bohlken, Chloe Herrera, Lexi Bohlken, Daisy Herrera, Eva Herrera, Frannie Herrera, Megan (Rich) Christensen, and Dustin (Brooke) Gerdes, and the four great grandchildren Faye Bohlken, Addison and Raegan Christensen, and Kinsley Gerdes. He is also survived by his sister Maureen (Allan) Reinking, many nieces and nephews, special cousins, brothers-in-law Ken Palm, Darwin (Natalie) Kloster, Vaugn (Carolyn) Kloster, and sister-in-law Darlene Yovonie, and many friends including church family friends. Bill will be missed by many.
A funeral service will be Friday, June 23, 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Auburn. Burial will be at Grant Evergreen Cemetery near Talmage at 2:00 p.m. Friday. Visitation will be at the funeral home Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends 6:00 to 8:00.
Memorials are suggested to St. Paul Lutheran Church or Auburn BackPack Program.