John H. Kerner, 73, of Lexington, Nebraska, passed away on June 3, 2021 at CHI Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney.
John was born on February 11th, 1948 in Gregory, South Dakota to Albert and Lovina (Beavers) Kerner. He graduated from Springview High School with the class of 1968. John continued his education at Denver Automotive in Colorado where he met his future wife, Kathy.
On June 1st, 1969, he married Kathleen Larson in Loup City. In 1970, John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a cook, taking Kathy to live with him in Virginia, Omaha, and Greece. John left the service in 1974 and they went to live at his family farm in Gregory, SD for two years. They made Lexington their final home in 1976. Through the Nebraska Children’s Home they adopted two daughters, Tammy in 1979 and Carrie in 1985. The Kerner family are all members of the United Methodist Church in Lexington where they attended for many years. John and Kathy were members of the Plum Creekers, a mounted horse drill team that performed and carried the colors in parades and shows across the Midwest.
John worked at the Sperry Holland plant in Lexington from 1976 until 1985. Over the next decade he worked for an area farmer, a local feedlot, John Deere, and Fairbanks International. In 1996 he started work as a custodian at the Cozad High School where he retired from in 2010. John love kids and spoke frequently of the high school students, especially the girls who came back after graduation to thank him for what he did for them.
John claimed to be the richest man in the world because his life was rich with love. He was a devoted husband who spent many years after retirement as caregiver for his wife Kathy, disabled from rheumatoid arthritis, until her passing in March 2021. He was also a proud father who loved his daughters. He joined Tammy on Special Journeys trips and assisted other travelers with special needs. John supported Carrie’s service in the Air Force, attending her commissioning, every promotion ceremony, and each of the six bases at which she was stationed.
What mattered most to John was loving relationships but he also had a love for life and adventure. He often told stories of his trips to Alaska to see Carrie, fishing and bear watching off Kodiak Island, seeing the Iditarod, going bear hunting with friends, and taking an Alaskan cruise. He told people how his daughters took him around the world, how Tammy took him to Hawaii and Carrie took him to Africa. He traveled with Carrie through Kenya and Tanzania where he took a hot air balloon over the Serengeti, danced with the Maasai Mara tribe, and saw many animals on safaris. In June 2020, John spent a week at the Triangle X dude ranch in Wyoming where he rode horses, saw herds of elk, and rafted down the river. In October 2020, John visited Carrie in Florida where he went skydiving for the first time at age 72.
John was honored to be accepted to attend the Dawson County Hero Flight to Washington D.C. in September 2017. He enjoyed sharing stories with other Vietnam-era veterans, touring the memorials, monuments, U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon. His daughter,
Carrie was honored to share the experience with him.
In the weeks before his passing, John was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to his liver, bones, and brain. His passing was due to complications of a pulmonary embolism caused by deep vein thrombosis, combined with pulmonary edema and bleeding from lung cancer.
Survivors include his children; Tammy Kerner of Lexington and Major Carrie Kerner of Niceville, Florida; sister, Filena and brother-in-law, Danny Miller of Winner SD, and numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Kathleen Kerner, his parents, Albert and Lovina Kerner, brother, Lavern and sister-in-law Diane Kerner, and sister Rosie Kerner.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday June 12th 2021 at 1:00 pm at the Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington with Lonna Grabenstein, Chaplain, ruralMED Home Health and Hospice, officiating. The service will be livestreamed via the Reynolds-Love Funeral Home Face Book page.
Memorials are kindly suggested to the Nebraska Children’s Home Society.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com