Daniel J. Gillespie
October 30, 1954 – February 13, 2022
Born in Norfolk, Nebraska. Graduated from Battle Creek High School; attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Preceded in death by parents, Leo L. Gillespie and Martha A. (Kubes) Gillespie; brother-in-law, Dr. David Evert. Survived by daughters: Brooke Wiese (Andy), Amber Wakerley (Luke), Cassidy Gillespie, Chloe Gillespie, Cora Gillespie; grandchildren: Bennett, Zavannah and Hollis Wiese, Everleigh and Noah Wakerley; brothers and sisters: David Gillespie, Rebecca Evert, Jerry Gillespie (Rebecca), Kristine Sudduth (Allen), Jan Bode (Steve), Tim Gillespie (Jennifer).
VISITATION: Saturday, February 19th at 10am, followed by MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL at 11am, all at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 1248 S 10th Street, Omaha, NE. Luncheon following the service at Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler Mortuary, 7805 W. Center Road.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: Sunday, February 20th at 4pm at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 109 N. 3rd Street, Battle Creek, Nebraska, with VISITATION at 3:00 pm. Interment: St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery. Dinner following at St. Patrick Catholic Church Hall. Hasemann Funeral Home, Wayne, Nebraska
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Dan Gillespie Soil Health Fund, www.nebcommfound.org/give/dan-gillespie-soil-health-fund. Checks can be mailed directly to the Dan Gillespie Soil Health Fund, Nebraska Community Foundation, PO Box 83107, Lincoln, NE 68501-3107.
To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Dan Gillespie was born October 30, 1954, in Norfolk, Nebraska, to Leo and Martha (Kubes) Gillespie. Dan, a third-generation farmer, the family creed was “always leave the land in better shape than when you started farming it.” For Dan, it’s a simple philosophy: It all starts with the soil. According to Dan, “Healthy soil supports healthy plants and healthy foods.” Dan was employed by the National Resources Conservation Services, retiring in December 2020 after 30 years of service. As the State NRCS No-Till Specialist, Dan helped develop a cost share No-Till Incentive Program recognized at the 2005 National No-Till Conference with an Innovator Award. Throughout his career and because of his own farming experience, Dan’s passion for soil health was evident. As a farmer and as the importance of no-till increased, Dan was an active participant in multi-state meetings, sharing his experience with his conservation practices, giving presentations and leading rainfall simulator education sessions for field day events and conferences. In 1995, Dan invented and patented the TracPacker, a pivot track filling machine which reduces unnecessary soil disturbance, increases soil biology, and minimizes soil loss. TracPackers are now used across irrigated lands in the US and in some overseas countries.
Dan is a member of the inaugural class of the Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in the Student/Alumnus category. While Dan was a great student for BCPS, his greatest contributions came after his time as a student. He was instrumental in promoting the bond for a new high school building. On top of all that, Dan “The Tree Man” touched the lives of hundreds of Battle Creek students while educating them about trees and other plant life. For over 30 years, he took seeds, (some harvested from oak trees on his farm), potting soil and grow boxes into fourth through sixth grade classrooms. Students loved the hands-on planting exercise, the break from schoolwork, as well as the accompanying conservation talk about trees, healthy soil, and natural resources. His annual visits resulted in 3,000 trees being planted over the years. Dan’s legacy will always be remembered through the BCPS Hall of Fame.
With less time sitting on a tractor tilling soil, it allowed Dan more free time with family. Quality of life became a big incentive for him to never go back to tillage. To be a supportive presence as the father of five daughters (and the grandfather of five) was always a priority. Tragically, shortly after retirement Dan was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a terminal neurodegenerative disease.
With Dan’s long career and dedication to soil health practices, his family and former colleagues want to recognize his legacy. A Dan Gillespie Soil Health Fund has been established in partnership with the Nebraska Community Foundation to continue supporting future soil health efforts. Please visit the website below for more information: www.nebcommfound.org/give/dan-gillespie-soil-health-fund. Checks can be mailed directly to the Dan Gillespie Soil Health Fund, Nebraska Community Foundation, PO Box 83107, Lincoln, NE 68501-3107. Not only had Dan written numerous newspaper and magazine soil health articles, he had been featured in many publications. Dan had been the recipient of several awards during his lifetime commitment to soil health.