John C. Emery

John C. Emery

July 30, 1938 – September 17,2023

John C. Emery, 85, known affectionately as “Papa John” and “Johnnie-bub,” passed away Sunday, September 17, 2023, at 11:40 am, with family and friends by his side.  He was born to the late Robert and Nola Emery, on July 30, 1938, in Omaha.  He graduated from Central High School in 1956 and he attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Secondary Education.  He later obtained a Masters Degree in Secondary Education at Kearney State and a law degree from Blackstone College of Law.

He married Sharon K. Burke in 1967, and they were happily married for 54 years.  John is survived by son Robb, daughter-in-law Cathy, two granddaughters Alessandra and Madeline, and brother-in-law Mike Burke and sister-in-law Sylvia Burke, and sister-in-law Elaine Burke, and nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his wife Sharon, daughter Courtney, brother-in-law Kevin, nephew Tim, and sister-in-law Nancy.

John began his career as a wrestling coach at Hastings High School and then moved to coaching and teaching at Hastings College. He later shifted careers to the insurance field, serving as an executive for several companies.  John held leadership positions in various insurance associations, including both the local and state President of Nebraska National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.  His civic involvements included being appointed by the Governor to serve on the Nebraska Post Secondary Higher Education Commission, President of the Board of Trustees of Duchesne Academy High School, and founder of the Ameritas Soccer Tournament NCAA at Creighton University.  John was inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame which recognizes the highest levels of achievement in business and community service.

John was immensely proud of his family, his Nebraska heritage, and leaves behind nothing but beautiful memories.  Even as his health declined, his optimism for life and love for family and friends never waned.

Family will receive friends Thursday, September 21st, from 4:00-6:00PM at Christ The King Catholic Church with a Wake Service at 6:00PM.

Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, September 22nd, 10:00AM at Christ the King Catholic Church

Interment: Calvary

To view a live broadcast of the Wake and Funeral Mass, please visit and press the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.

In lieu of flowers the family would welcome donations to Duchesne Academy c/o the Courtney Ann Emery Ministry Fund, 3601 Burt Street, Omaha, NE 68131.



  • Karen Riley Posted September 19, 2023 9:11 am

    My deepest condolences! I was blessed to have him in my life for 2 years.

  • Steve Applebee Posted September 19, 2023 9:37 am

    John was a good friend of my family. He joins my parents and sisters in the Heavenly Host. God Bless.

  • Murray Newman Posted September 19, 2023 10:59 am

    John loved his time at Central High School. He was a regular at our monthly gatherings of our group of 1956 graduates. He was always cheery affable participating enthusiastically in the conversations no matter what the subject of conversation. We will leave an empty chair for John when we meet again on September 28. RIP, my friend.

  • Carlos and Leyla Muhletaler Posted September 19, 2023 1:22 pm

    On behave of the entire Muhletaler family, we will miss “Papa John” with all our hearts but we will never forget him. He was truly an amazing husband, father, grandfather and a one of a kind individual!

  • Chris Wagner Williams Posted September 19, 2023 1:27 pm

    Celebrating with you the life of a precious man who blessed our family tremendously. He leaves behind a beautiful legacy of love, kindness, and integrity. Honored to call him a dear family friend. Sending all our love from Texas.

  • The Aurelius Family Posted September 19, 2023 2:51 pm

    John holds a special place in our hearts. He and Sharon were always so thoughtful and generous to our family. We will cherish the memories of our visits to Omaha and holidays and special occasions together. RIP John and our condolences to to those who loved him most.
    With Sympathy,
    The Aurelius Family

  • Mike Periu Posted September 19, 2023 9:17 pm

    It was my honor and pleasure to know John. I met him through my friendship with his son Robb. I did not get to see him that often, but I always enjoyed spending time with him. His warm and unassuming manner always made you feel at ease. He was full of wisdom which he shared generously through stories of his own experience with family and business. I know he was a great father because I can see the fruit of that labor in his son Robb, who is an honorable man and an exceptional husband and father himself.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May the soul of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

    May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede on John’s behalf as he meets her Son. Amen.

  • Tom Bizzarri, Sr. Posted September 20, 2023 1:33 pm

    John was always a class act, a 100% honest & caring man, enough good things said about John can never ever be enough, the world lost a good one. I first met Jon in 67 thru his brother in law Kevin who was living with John & Sharon at the time. John tried his best to talk me out of enlisting in the Marine Corps, of course I did it anyway with nor regrets ever, it’s what I wanted to do since seven years old. Three years later John was there for me & helped me with my GI insurance conversion & was my agent ever since & a cherised friend. Fond memories for everyone who knew him..

  • Charles J Neumann Posted September 20, 2023 2:47 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of John’s passing. As cousins, I always looked up to him. of course, he was twelve years older. His achievements and the life he led since my childhood days has only increased my admiration. for him. My condolences to his family and many friends.

  • Jon K Proctor Posted October 9, 2023 2:43 pm

    Robb &family
    I was associated with John & Sharon with Bankers Life NE & later with Ameritas.
    John was a consummate professional & genuinly good person. We traveled to many great destinations together. He & Sharon were always great to be around.
    John truly made a difference in the lives of many. Please know you are in our prayers as you remember his life well lived

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