Herschel Dean Hartsell

Herschel Dean Hartsell

February 8, 1920 – June 17, 2018

Preceded in death by parents, four siblings, and infant great-granddaughter.  Survived by wife, Mildred M. Hartsell; daughters, Lois Penniman (Edward) of Omaha and Barbara Ottun (Virgil) of Sargent, Nebraska; son, David Hartsell (JoAnn) of Omaha; 8 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; many loving family and friends.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 24th from 3pm to 5pm at the West Center Chapel.  SERVICES: Monday, June 25th at 10am at First Christian Church, 6630 Dodge St.  Interment: Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Memorials are suggested to First Christian Church, American Diabetes Association, o your favorite charity.


Herschel Dean Hartsell was born in Windsor, Illinois on February 8, 1920 to James “Jake” Oran and Edna Dietz Hartsell.  He grew up on the family farm where they raised a variety of crops.  After graduating from Windsor High School, he worked on the farm until he joined the Army Air Corps after the start of World War II.  While stationed for a short time in Sioux City, Iowa, he met his future wife, Mildred, at a USO-sponsored dance at the First Presbyterian Church.  He picked her shoe out of a pile of shoes, and the rest is history.

Herschel was stationed in the Southwest Pacific and worked as an aircraft mechanic.  After World War II ended, he hitchhiked across the United States from San Diego to Illinois to rejoin his family.  Herschel and Mildred were united in marriage on March 3, 1946 in Odebolt, Iowa.  They moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Herschel worked at John Deere and later at Wilson Packing Company.  Their family grew with the addition of three children, Lois, Barbara and David.

Herschel was transferred to Omaha in 1962, and later changed jobs and began working for Union Pacific as a welder and mechanic.  Herschel retired in 1985 and enjoyed traveling, working in his yard, playing with grandkids, and working at the church in various capacities.  Herschel was greatly appreciated for his ability to fix almost anything, and he was known for the many inventions he developed to solve everyday problems.  His woodworking projects included making a cradle that was used by most of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   He also created chairs for each of his great-grandchildren.  He loved animals and was especially fond of their two cats that were wonderful companions for him.




  • Jessica Roth Posted June 17, 2018 9:59 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of Herschel’s passing. I will never forget his big beautiful eyes and handsome smile. He was such a kind man. Mildred, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May god give you strength to get through the days ahead.

  • TBC Posted June 18, 2018 8:50 am

    So sorry for the loss of Mr. Hartsell. May the hope held out for the future bring you comfort, when “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:4) With sympathy,

  • Ron and Denise Olszewski Posted June 21, 2018 6:20 am

    We are saddened by the news of Dean’s passing. We enjoyed so much the times we spent with them when he and Mildred came to Wisconsin to visit. He was always happy and smiling. I loved listening to them talk about their travels. They were always together; I can’t imagine one without the other. May God give your family comfort in this time of sorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  • Bill and Evonne Williams Posted June 24, 2018 9:05 am

    We were honored to take Mr. Hartsell on the final WWII Honor Flight. Evonne and I are sorry for your loss.

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