John R. Klaasmeyer

John R. Klaasmeyer

August 24, 1930 – March 22, 2018

Preceded in death by first wife, Besse Klaasmeyer; grandson, Kerry Fey; brothers, Keith and Joy Klaasmeyer.  Survived by wife, Ramona; daughters: Peggy Fey (Jim), Kay Memmer, Ann Ribeiro (Michael); seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; brother, Gene Klaasmeyer (Joan); sisters-in-law, Linda and Joyce Klaasmeyer; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

The family will receive friends on Monday, March 26th, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the West Center Chapel.  FUNERAL:  Tuesday, March 27th at 10:30am at Morning Star Lutheran Church, 331 S. 85th Ave.  Interment: Osage Cemetery near Syracuse, Neb.  Memorials are suggested to Morning Star Lutheran Church or Josie Harper Hospice House.


John Klaasmeyer lived through the Great Depression and remembers getting second-hand clothing from his cousins and shooting squirrels and rabbits for food. By the age of 9, John had already started working in his Dad’s blacksmith shop in Dunbar, Neb.  At the age of 13 he began welding, and at age 15 he passed the test to become a State certified welder and began welding farm equipment and plow lays, as well as building and repairing farm equipment.  At the age of 14 he suffered a gun accident to his right hand, forcing him to be left-handed for life.

John started road construction and soil conservation when he was 16, and during the Blizzard of 1949, he cleared roads for the Army Corps of Engineers for about two months.

Not long after marrying Besse Gillin in 1951, John built their home in Dunbar, Neb.  Beginning in 1958 he spent many years building interstates and interstate exchanges, including: Interstate at Chapman, Kansas; I-80 Interstate from Platte River; I-80 at Grand Island west to Shelton; Kearney interchange; I-80 from Cozad to Gothenburg; I-29 interchange at Loveland, Iowa.  He served as superintendent for Roberts Construction on all but the Kansas project. He also worked for Stewart Brothers, dredging Salt Creek around Lincoln for the Corps of Engineers.  With Van Buskirk, he worked on Rathman Dam at Centerville, IA; in both projects, he served as superintendent.

Beginning around 1966, John went to work for Paxton-Mitchell in Omaha as Maintenance Supervisor of the foundry.  Besse passed away in 1981. In 1984 he married Ramona Alwill.  Not long after, he renovated and rebuilt their mobile home in Okoboji, Iowa.  In 1988 Ramona accepted a job in Peshawar, Pakistan, so he left Paxton-Mitchell and headed to Pakistan with his wife.  During this time, he worked for USAID/REP and CCSC as Maintenance Specialist.  He and 500 employees set up and ran a truck farm for repairing and maintaining trucks for shipping supplies and materials into Afghanistan; he also helped build and maintain roads and bridges inside Afghanistan.  He retired in 1994.  His last major project was renovating a condo as well as his and Ramona’s home in Omaha.

John’s hobbies included reading, going out to eat, and traveling to far-away places, including China, Tibet, Turkey, Kenya, Australia, Alaska, and through the Panama Canal, to name just a few.  Throughout his life, John’s faith and family were extremely important to him.



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