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1926 Donald 2018

Donald LeRoy Esslinger

July 10, 1926 — July 27, 2018

Donald LeRoy Esslinger, 92, of Elwood passed away Friday, July 27, 2018, at the Elwood Care Center. Donald was born July 10, 1926 in rural Gosper County to Christian and Alma (Holtz) Esslinger. He was baptized in the rural Emmanuel Lutheran Church, south of Elwood. Donnie was a student at the neighborhood rural school for four years, then attended Emmanuel Lutheran Parochial School through the 8th grade. He then helped his father on the farm, farming and raising cattle. “Donnie,” as he was referred to by family and friends, moved into Elwood with his parents in 1957. Donnie, his dad and Wesley built their home in town, taking them three years to complete as they were also farming. He and his dad also helped build the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church that opened in 1963. His father passed in 1974, and Donnie took care of his Mother until she entered the Elwood Care Center. Donnie would go to the care home every evening to help feed his Mother until she passed in 1989. Donnie’s favorite spots to spend his free time were the Gosper County Senior Center, West’s Drive-In and the local bar, MaeBees. He enjoyed gardening and was especially known for his red roses. In the last few years he enjoyed car racing, but really enjoyed the numerous activities that the Elwood Care Center had available to its residents. He was a faithful member of the Elwood Lion’s Club for over 23 years and received the Melvin Jones Award. He also was active in taking tickets at the football games. Donnie really enjoyed helping and later attending the local carnival and fair. Since the Gosper County Senior Center opened in the 80’s, he was a steady customer and volunteer. He delivered Meals on Wheels to the shut-ins for 12 years. Donnie also enjoyed his daily beer, and would call Sandie every day between 4 and 5 p.m., which Sandie will miss. The family would like to say a special thank you to the Elwood Nursing Home Staff for taking care of Donnie for the last 13 years. Donnie enjoyed all the activities that he attended. Survivors include cousins: Wes Esslinger of Lexington, Sandie (Bob) Anderson of Lexington, Sherry (Shane) Area of Overton, Rick (Jill) Esslinger of Cozad, Ida Sass of Minnesota, Clara Klages of Michigan, Phyllis Ringenberg of Lincoln, Darrell Puls of Fremont, and Berniece Rhinehart of Arapahoe, as well as many other cousins. Donnie was preceded in death by his parents. Visitation and family greeting friends will be held Wednesday, August 1, 2018, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood with Pastor Michael Wolff, officiating. Interment will be in the Elwood Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church or the Elwood Volunteer Fire Department. Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. To share online condolences, please visit: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com
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