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.
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