Lester C. Demmel

Lester C. Demmel

August 22, 1931 – April 29, 2020


Lester Carl Demmel, a native of Madison, NE and resident of Omaha, passed away on April 29th following a six-year battle with bladder cancer.  His loving wife Emily was at his side.  Les and Emily would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on May 9th.

Les was born in rural Madison on August 22, 1931.  He was the sixth of eight children born to Laura (Freudenburg) and Henry Demmel.  He was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Madison and graduated from Madison High School in 1949.  He attended and graduated from Norfolk Junior College, where he met Emily, and then transferred to, and graduated from, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 1953.  He joined the Navy after graduating from college and served for two years.  Les and Emily were married on May 9, 1954.

Les joined Northwestern Bell as an accountant after his military service.  He worked at Northwestern Bell and US WEST for 35 years, retiring from the phone company in 1990.  His phone company career started and ended in Omaha, with a three-year stint in Minneapolis in the mid-60’s.  He concluded his professional career at Tenaska in Omaha, retiring in 1998.  Les was passionate about his faith and his family.  He and Emily have been members of Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in Omaha since 1966 where he served as an Elder for many years.  Les enjoyed coaching his sons in youth baseball, basketball and football.  Independence Day was one of Les’ favorite days of the year and demonstrated his dedication to family.  An annual Demmel family reunion began in 1973 and was hosted by Les and Emily at their home for many years.  That family tradition continues today.

Les was a dedicated runner, competing in nine marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1980.  He expanded his fitness repertoire to include bicycling and swimming and then began competing in triathlons, winning numerous medals in the Nebraska Senior Games.  He didn’t just compete for himself.  He motivated and inspired his children’s and grandchildren’s passions for running, bicycling and swimming by working out with them and encouraging and supporting them.

Les was an active member of the West Omaha Diamond K Kiwanis Club, serving as Editor of the newsletter for several years and volunteering to read with students at Miller Park Elementary School in North Omaha.

Les had a positive and optimistic attitude.  He was quick to listen, gave honest advice in his own witty way and would make the best out of any situation.  He was engaging and put the people he met at ease, making them feel comfortable and accepted.  He led by example – whether as a husband, father, coach, at church, in the community or in business.  He positively influenced many, and there are many pages of the “Les Demmel Playbook” that have been borrowed and used by those he touched.

Lester is survived by wife, Emily; sons Douglas (Karen) of Lafayette, CO, granddaughters, Jordan (Spencer Shute) and Morgan (Ben Goethel); Dr. James (Veronica) of Keokuk, IA, granddaughter, Celeste (Hugo Garcia) and great-grandson, Adán, and grandson, Luke (Julianne) and great-granddaughter, Winnie; and Thomas (Diane) of Leawood, KS, granddaughters, Kaylin and Jenna and grandson, Jared; and sisters: Mildred Petersen, Leola Luedtke and Delores Blakeman.

VISITATION following CDC guidelines: Sunday, May 3rd from 2pm to 4pm, at the West Center Chapel.  VISITATION: Monday, May 4th from 11am to 1pm, followed by FUNERAL SERVICE at 1pm, Pacific Hills Lutheran Church.  INTERMENT: Tuesday, May 5th, 11am, Prospect Hill Cemetery – Norfolk, NE.  Memorials are suggested to Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in support of the building capital campaign.

To view a live broadcast of the Funeral Service, go to our website and click the View Live Cast button on our homepage.





  • JOAN HUSTON Posted May 2, 2020 9:44 am

    Emily and family: My condolences to you and your family. I worked with Les at Tenaska starting in 1991. He was our IT tech at that time. It was a pleasure to know him. I had much admiration for his “exercise regimen”. And, Emily, you always shared with us the best Christmas cookies. May God comfort you and your family during this difficult time. With our sympathy, Joan and Phil Huston

  • Thomas Lang Posted May 2, 2020 10:12 am

    Les was a very valued employee of NWB/USWEST . He cherished his family. His work ethic was great and did his work with a great deal of pride. The telecom business will not have a more dedicated employee than Les. .

  • Cheryl and Jeff Ehlers Posted May 2, 2020 12:50 pm

    We send your entire family our love and sympathy. Uncle Les was and is a saint! He was the life of every family reunion–usually held at Les and Emily’s house—and he was the first to join in the “Olympic” events of the day. All of the youngsters (and oldsters) LOVED it, as we enjoyed a day full of basketball, softball, swimming, and lots of eating, cards, and talking throughout. Those memories of Les (and Em) and family will be with us forever. He would do anything for his family and he looked out for all! Now, he is in heaven….because of Jesus’ promise of eternal life and the faith he proclaimed throughout his life. There was no doubt of that either! We will be joining the service on Monday from Phoenix, but our hearts will be with you. Much love and peace to you all!

  • Ernest Freudenburg Posted May 2, 2020 4:56 pm

    Kathy and I are saddened to hear of Les’s departure from this earthly life. We are comforted knowing his welcome home party in heaven was a very joyous event. He will be missed. Our lives didn’t cross paths very much in our adult years, but I do recall that before Kathy and I were married, Les and Emily took us in for a night in Omaha after we totaled our car approaching Omaha. There was so much snow that we actually rolled over in the median, landed in the opposite lane pointing in the right direction. We had no visible injuries, the car was still running, no glass was broken,, so in my wisdom I thought why not keep going and get Kathy to the airport. Well, that car didn’t make it due to overheating since the fan went through the radiator. So I called Les and Emily to see if they could help us for a night. Of course they did. You served as our savior on that day.

    Blessings to the family and our love,
    Ernie and Kathy Freudenburg

  • Ruth Christensen Posted May 3, 2020 3:09 pm

    Dear Emily. Sincerest condolences. Would like to speak to you. Please call me or contact through this email. 402-399-9124 Ruth Christensen

  • Mark Dobson Posted May 3, 2020 9:01 pm

    God bless you coach and thanks for the victory over the Gladiators back in our days.

  • Vicky Gelber Posted May 4, 2020 5:35 am

    I so admired Les, a man of easy-going rectitude. He projected strength and gentleness, humor and good will. There was something reassuring about him, even at times when you weren’t particularly aware that you needed reassurance. He gave his attention to the important things: his wife, his sons, his family, his community. I admired his long and happy marriage to Emily, who he clearly treasured. I admired his delight in his sons who all became fine men. Though I saw Les and Em infrequently, every time we were together, he made sure we had a one-one-one conversation focused on me – and he remembered details of my life that nearer acquaintances immediately forgot. He was genuinely interested and genuinely cared. I am grateful to have known him and grateful that we visited last spring. I will miss him and I know his family will miss him, but if anyone lived a good, useful, productive, loving and beloved life, it was Les. We should all be so lucky.

  • edward t. hopkins Posted May 4, 2020 9:59 am

    Les, is one of the good guy’s. Always wanting to help you do the right thing. He was
    a real asset to the West Omaha Diamond K Club. Kiwanis will miss him. I will miss him,
    as he was always their for me, and others with his talent.Tim

  • Tim Luedtke Posted May 4, 2020 10:04 am

    Uncle Les was one of the kindest and most caring men I have ever known. At family gatherings, which were many, he always wanted to know how you were doing and was actually sincere about it. He and Aunt Emily were huge supporters of me through my own personal struggles which meant the world to me. He will be sorely missed. Love you Uncle Les! Tim Luedtke

  • Renato Garrido Posted May 4, 2020 10:30 am

    Querida Emily, hijos, nietos, bisnietos, familiares y amigos que saludan la partida del querido Lester Demmel.
    In this special moment. I remember Les Demmel on his visit to Chile, during his tour of Latin America with Emily. He was curious and very close to us, he consulted me a lot about my work, our lifestyles and family. We saw a great interest in him to connect with this other Chilean family that was attached to him.
    We are very grateful for his visit, but above all for having met him personally at his house and also through the inferences left by knowing Emily, his children and his daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    Time will dictate the learning that dear Les has sown in our reality.
    Receive Emily, Jimmy, Doug and Tom and family, our embrace from familiy of South of the world.
    From Chile we remind Les:
    Olga, Jacqueline, Renato, Josefina, Tomás, Renata and Milena.
    April 29, 2020

  • Bruce Demmel Posted May 4, 2020 11:31 am

    Uncle Les was the fun loving uncle, and was always the first to get the softball game going at our reunions. As a young boy on the farm, I remember Uncle Les making home made ice cream. He came up with all kinds of fun flavors, and I marveled at how he could eat as much ice cream as my dad… maybe more. Uncle Les was one of my “sponsors” for my baptism. He was so faithful through the years to send me inspirational books and personal encouragement. As has been previously shared…both Uncle Les and Aunt Emily were genuinely interested in our lives, even as young people, which had a lasting impression on my life. Uncle Les was a Loving and Caring man. It was a privilege to have had such a wonderful uncle. Our sincere condolences to Emily, Doug, Jim, Tom and the entire family. We are unable to attend the services, but our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • Tom Javor Posted May 4, 2020 12:50 pm

    Les was always so kind to me,
    Really enjoyed him.

    God Keep you,
    Pastor Javor

  • Sharon Gedroez Posted May 4, 2020 4:13 pm

    Les was one of my pool pals at the J, always so pleasant and positive despite a few health issues. Spoke lovingly of Emily, who I met once.
    Rest In Peace, swim on.

  • David Whitaker Posted May 4, 2020 6:40 pm

    Dear Emily and Family, Les will be missed by all at the West Omaha Diamond Kiwanis. He was always helpful and did a great job as editor of our monthly newsletter for many years. Both of you were very welcoming to us at our first Kiwanis dinner.

  • David Whitaker Posted May 4, 2020 8:29 pm

    Dear Emily and Family, Les will be missed by all at West Omaha Diamond Kiwanis. He always did a great job as editor of our monthly Kiwanis newsletter. Both of you were very welcoming to Barbara and me at out first Kiwanis dinner.

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *