Cover photo for Harlan Dean Ottemann's Obituary
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1949 Harlan 2022

Harlan Dean Ottemann

April 10, 1949 — July 3, 2022

Harlan Dean Ottemann, “HO”, 73, of Johnson Lake, Nebraska, passed away on Sunday, July 3, 2022 at Bryan Medical Center – East Campus, after a short but courageous battle with esophageal cancer.

Harlan was born on April 10, 1949, in Humboldt, Nebraska to Arnold and Laura (Volker) Ottemann. He received his education from Johnson High School and graduated with the class of 1967. He then did one year of tech school in Omaha for Auto Mechanics.

On August 25, 1969, Harlan was inducted into the United States Army where he proudly served his country during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged on February 28, 1972.

Following his discharge, Harlan was united in marriage to Virginia Bohlken in April of 1973 in Montpelier, Idaho.  Three children were blessed to this union: Amy, Renae and Kurt. The family made their home in Idaho a few years where Harlan was employed with Commonwealth Electric, putting up powerlines in Idaho and Wyoming. They moved back to their family roots in Johnson, Nebraska.  He worked for several employers throughout the years in the Johnson area. Their marriage would later end in divorce.

Harlan moved to Kearney, Nebraska, in the late 1980’s where he would find love again, and was united in marriage to Deb Hicks (Keller) on September 18, 1993, in Kearney. Deb’s two sons would join the family, Brian and Aaron. Harlan worked for Loomis Pig Company until 2009 when he semi-retired and Harlan and Deb moved to Johnson Lake. While living at Johnson Lake, Harlan stayed busy working construction for Dan Wilkens. He later worked summers for the Nebraska Game and Parks and pulled a grain cart for the Anderson Brothers.

Harlan was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, especially taking them on boat rides and playing cards.  He also enjoyed traveling and card playing with friends and family members. He was also known for brewing his own beer, making wine and always having a camera in his hands taking photos.

Harlan will be remembered for his big heart and kindness to people.  He was always busy learning new things and enjoyed visiting with people. He was very giving and would help others in any way he could.

Harlan was a member of the American Legion and V.F.W., as well as Parents Without Partners, where he met, Deb, and is a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Lexington.

Harlan is survived by his wife, Deb of Johnson Lake; children, Amy (Todd) DeBuse of Lincoln, Renae (Andy) Ernesti of Columbus, Kurt (Leslie) Ottemann of Lincoln, Brian (Jennifer) Keller of Kearney and Aaron (Molly) Keller of Omaha; sixteen grandchildren, Erika, Kyra, Cassie, Cevahn, Easton, Carter, Blake, Finn, Ava, Kendall, Leo, Ellie, Kylie, Logan, Quinten and Emma; one brother, Dale (Pam) Ottemann of Johnson; four sisters, Pauline (Gary) Zoucha of Lincoln, Darlene (Lavon) Beethe of Elk Creek, Martha (Gary) Armknecht of Russellville, Arkansas and Pam (Steve) Mitchell of Burchard; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and many friends.

Harlan was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Leroy, and two grandsons, Kadan DeBuse and Nicholas Rathbone.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2022 from 2-4 p.m. at Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington.

Following the visitation, cremation will take place and A Celebration Of Life Service will be on Monday July 11, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Lexington with Pastor John Strackbein, officiating. The Service will be live-streamed via the Grace Lutheran Church Facebook page or Grace Lutheran Church Youtube

Inurnment with Military Honors will take place in the Kearney Cemetery Columbarium.

Memorials are kindly suggested to Grace Lutheran Church in Lexington, Johnson Lake Fireworks Fund or Johnson Lake EMS.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements.  Please share online condolences with the family by visiting:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harlan Dean Ottemann, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, July 11, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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