Alan M. Thelen

Alan M. Thelen

August 2, 1959 – January 27, 2024

Alan Thelen died peacefully on January 27, 2024, after a brave 15-month battle with lung cancer. Al spent his final moments at home watching the annual Creighton vs. Cancer basketball game. He waited until it was clear the Jays were going to prevail before quietly taking his leave. A fitting end for any true Jays fan.

Alan was born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 2, 1959, the oldest of five boys. He graduated from Roncalli High School. He then attended Creighton University and Creighton Law School, earning his JD in 1984. He began his legal career in private practice. In August 1990, he started his dream job as a City Attorney for the City of Omaha. He proudly served the people of Omaha for 29 years before “retiring” in May 2019. Continuing his commitment to public service, Alan became City Attorney of Papillion in June of 2019. He then retired (for real this time) in August 2023.

Alan’s number one priority was his family. He married the love of his life, Sandy, on December 19, 1987. Together, they raised three children. Alan instilled in his children the importance of love, laughter, and Creighton basketball. Alan and Sandy loved to travel, and they have traversed the globe many times in their years together. Alan loved to experience other cultures, have new experiences, and read every word on every sign in every museum he ever visited.

Al had more activities, hobbies, and passions than could fill this page. To list just a few, Alan loved “Americana” music, running, non-fiction books, board games, little home maintenance projects, golfing, playing basketball, and teaching himself guitar and piano. Throughout the years he has served as a soccer coach, basketball coach, Cubmaster, moot court competition judge, finance council member for St. Cecilia’s, Knights of Columbus, board member of Omaha Douglas FCU, member of the Beta class of Pi Kappa Alpha, and board member of Heartland Family Services.

Alan has been a pillar of strength and grace, even throughout his battle with cancer. Following his example, Alan’s children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and godchildren ensure his lessons will continue in the next generation.

Alan was preceded in death by his parents, Joyce and Duane Thelen. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Sandra Maass Thelen; children: Michael (Renee) Thelen, Carly (Brian) Leopold, and Allison Thelen; granddaughter, Violet Leopold; brothers: Steve (Bridgette), Cary (Pam Metivier), Don , and Dale (Jill) Thelen; nieces and nephews: Jack Maass, Leah Maass, Hannah Thelen, Kayla Thelen, Bennett Metivier, Jack Thelen, and David Thelen; numerous godchildren; and his dog, Flower.


VISITATION: Thursday, February 1st from 5pm to 7pm at St. Cecilia Cathedral, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, February 2nd at 11:15am at St. Cecilia Cathedral.   After Mass, please join the family for a Life Celebration Lunch at St. Cecilia Parish Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Siena/Francis House.



  • Trish Criag Posted January 28, 2024 6:04 pm

    Dear Sandy and family, Words cannot express my deepest sympathies to you with the loss of Al. He was a wonderful person and thought of highly by myself and many others. He will always be special to me when I remember meeting him and the others we were together. Praying for all of you and sending love. Trish

  • Sarah Hoburg Posted January 28, 2024 6:38 pm

    Sandy and Family, deepest condolences for your loss and know the entire St. Cecilia’s family is praying for you all. Al was a wonderful person and blessed to have been able to know him. Sending love and prayers from the Hoburg family.

  • Rochelle Eigsti Posted January 28, 2024 7:46 pm

    Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that you are covered with strength and comfort as you grieve. Rochelle Eigsti

  • Jim Knowles Posted January 28, 2024 8:04 pm

    Very sorry to read of Alan’s passing. I only knew him professionally. I admired his skills, demeanor and desire to reach the right result. A high quality individual. My thoughts and prayers to his family.

  • Mayor David Black Posted January 28, 2024 8:05 pm

    A wonderful kind man – we were so blessed when he chose to join us – we are better as individuals, as an organization and as a city because of Alan. An individual that made a positive difference in this world.

  • Randy Palandri, AIA Architect Emeritus Posted January 29, 2024 10:47 am

    My sincere condolences to all of Alan’s family. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Alan during my ten year tenure on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the city of Omaha. His knowledge of the law, as it pertained to the city of Omaha, and to the case being presented and his calming manner were always welcome during at times what could be very stormy case discussions. Thank you Alan for your service!

  • Cella Quinn Posted January 29, 2024 4:19 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. I recall how much time you spent together as you two were virtually inseparable. May all your wonderful memories comfort you and your family during this heartbreaking time.

  • Doug latka Posted January 29, 2024 4:21 pm

    Sandy and family, condolences for your loss. Alan was a wonderful person and a great example of how one should lead his life. I am grateful for having called him my friend. I’m praying your memories and friends will help ease your grief. I will miss Alan’s unique sense of humor and that big smile.

  • Autumn Evans Posted January 29, 2024 6:22 pm

    I had the pleasure of working alongside Alan while at the City of Omaha. Alan was always pleasant to work with. I considered him one of my mentors while working at the City. He was always so patient and knowledgeable and willing to explain and answer questions. I would also run into him at the YMCA. He was dedicated to everything he committed to. My sincerest condolences, He will be greatly missed. (Autumn)

  • Mary Marshall Posted January 29, 2024 8:48 pm

    In matters of the heart, words are not adequate. I am grateful to be “on the Thelen/Maass team”. You are ALL in my thoughts and prayers. Where there is love, there is Gods light to guide us on. Peace, Peace, peace, only Peace.

  • Sherri Posted January 29, 2024 9:56 pm

    Sandy,Michael, Carly, and Allison, My deepest condolences for your loss of a husband and dad. I have fond memories of parent-teacher conferences and the comments made by Alan. That little smirk. I will keep all of you and your families in my prayers during this tough time. May God bring comfort and healing to you in a life taken way too soon.

  • Vince & Karen Serratore Posted January 29, 2024 10:15 pm

    We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Bill Miskell Posted January 30, 2024 7:36 am

    I knew Alan as being a dedicated and diligent Assistant City Attorney. He was very respected among those he worked with at City Hall. Alan died way too young! My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • Judith schwey Posted January 30, 2024 8:01 am

    Sandy, I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Matthew Bahl Posted January 30, 2024 9:23 am

    Sandy, I am heartbroken with the news of Al’s passing. I can’t think of my time at Creighton without Al. What a wonderful person. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. We will keep you in our prayers. We will keep him in our hearts. God bless you all.

  • Jon Schroeder Posted January 30, 2024 10:04 am

    Al and four of us lived in the big white house up the hill from Bob Gibsons our senior year of law school. Needless to say, we had a lot to laugh about. Al never changed. Always kind and considerate and fun to be with. My condolences to Sandy and his beautiful family.

  • Ilene J Watts Posted January 30, 2024 10:28 am

    My sincere sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your Husband. May God Bless and Comfort you.

  • Garry Gernandt Posted January 30, 2024 10:33 am

    Deeply sadden to hear of Alan’s passing. I had the esteem pleasure of his legal wisdom during my tenure with City government. My condolences to Sandra and family, sending waves of strength in your direction. Rest in Peace, Alan.

  • Randy Stevenson Posted January 30, 2024 10:46 am

    Sandy–I am so sorry Al passed. He was an excellent lawyer and a really nice guy. I was always impressed by his ability to put aside (but never ignore) emotion when analyzing legal and business issues. He was a “rock” in so many ways. I will miss him and always remember him fondly. I hope your many great memories of Al help carry you through this difficult time until you together again.

  • Susan Rue Posted January 30, 2024 11:35 am

    I am sorry that Alan is gone so soon. I remember his kind nature and the fun you two brought to wine club. I will remember his smile and how it would light up his face when he laughed. My sincere condolences. Sandy. I wish you the strength and peace in knowing how much fun and kindness you brought to those around you.

  • John Turco Posted January 30, 2024 4:48 pm

    Sandy, I’m so very sorry to hear about Alan and very shocked as well. Please know that you and your kids are so much in my thoughts. Alan is absolutely in a better place now. It is our true faith that he is with God now and I firmly believe that to be the case. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for anything at all.

  • Katrina Moerles Posted January 30, 2024 5:38 pm

    I’m sad to learn of Alan’s passing and offer my condolences to his family. We were classmates at Roncalli High School and he was every bit the kind gentleman then as he’s being described now. Prayers are being said in gratitude for Alan’s life, and for his dear family to be comforted.

  • Jim Homan Posted January 31, 2024 9:29 am

    I knew Al as my Pike fraternity brother. I was pleased to see him at our recent reunion in April of 2022. My condolences to all his family and friends.

  • Catharine (Hansen) Perry Posted January 31, 2024 9:45 am

    So sorry for your loss

  • Kelle Westland and Mark Herse Posted January 31, 2024 4:21 pm

    Sandy, We are so sorry for your loss. I was shocked when I saw it especially since he took such good care of himself. Alan was a great guy and I loved working with him back in the day. Hugs to you all.
    Kelle and Mark

  • Todd R Pfitzer Posted January 31, 2024 8:35 pm

    I worked with Allan for many years at the city of omaha. I truly enjoyed our friendship and all of the help that he gave me over the years. Alan cared about people and was not afraid to show that. I will miss him.

  • Jacque Merritt Posted February 1, 2024 9:14 am

    I knew Alan as a fellow board member at Heartland Family Services. He was always a welcome steady voice of reason and cared deeply about the causes and people we serve. My deepest condolences to you all. He will be missed.

  • Laura Lindauer Posted February 1, 2024 11:17 am

    Sandy and family, Steve, Cary, Donny and Dale, I m so sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. I have fond memories of growing up with the Thelen family across the street on Meredith ave and going to St James. My thoughts and prayers to you all. Sincerely, Laura

  • Hal Daub Posted February 1, 2024 2:41 pm

    Dear Sandra and your fine family – Mary and I express our sadness upon learning of Alans passing. I can attest to not only friendship, but many hours of professional dialogue as colleagues in the service of the citizens of Omaha. He was a consummate advisor, quite in demeanor and thorough in preparation, forceful in his advocacy, not just of the law, but of the judgments of appropriate policy decisions. There is a big difference, and his public service, for which he was so proud, endured to all of us privileged to know Alan and work the him. His love of his family, of his career legal profession, and to the communities of Omaha and Papillion, left indelible impacts and will long be remembered. In this time of great personal loss, be comforted that Alan was loved and respected, the best tributes that can be paid. Highest regards, Mary and Hal Daub

  • JP Greer Posted February 1, 2024 4:01 pm

    Dear Sandy & Family, I am so sorry for your loss. If you were to look the words “nice” and “kind” up in the dictionary you would see Al’s picture. Our law school class of ’83 has lost a true friend. God Bless You!

  • Jeff Riesselman Posted February 1, 2024 8:24 pm

    Thanks Alan for showing me how the sausage is made at the Legislature. I will remember my interactions with you at the City of Omaha fondly. My sincerest sympathies to all that knew and loved Alan. He will be missed.

  • Tom Houston Posted February 2, 2024 10:28 am

    Ellen and I and our family are very sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. As we all know, Alan was such a great guy, very smart, personable, hard-working, a family man, a Creighton Bluejay through and through. He will be greatly missed. We are sorry we were not able to attend the service, but we are out of town. We extend our condolences to you and your entire family.
    Tom and Ellen Houston

  • Monica Kruger Posted February 2, 2024 10:39 am

    Sandy and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Alan early in his legal career. He had a brilliant legal mind and was such a nice guy. He was a dream to work with. We are all better for having known Alan.

  • Barbara Person Posted February 2, 2024 11:38 am

    So sorry to hear of your loss, Sandy. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • Marilyn Puett Posted February 2, 2024 7:38 pm

    Sandy, I’m so sorry to read this. Since Margie died I don’t hear about you. Please know I’m thinking of you and will always love being your music teacher and all the kindness you gave to Margie and Byron. Prayers from me to you. Much love.

  • STEVE LEFLER Posted February 5, 2024 3:40 am

    he is the type of person and professional we should all aspire to be.

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