Robert E. Witzel
October 9, 1936 – May 5, 2020
Robert E. Witzel was born on October 9, 1936, in Madison, Nebraska, to Dorsey and Pearl (Henry) Witzel, and died of cancer on May 5, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, surrounded by family. Bob spent six years serving his country in the U.S. Navy. He spent most of his deployed time in Japan. After leaving the military he was employed at Fehrs Tractor and Equipment Company for over 40 years. In 1957 he met his bride, Carol, and they wed on May 17, 1958. In 1963 they built their forever home in what was then West Omaha. This is where they raised their three children, Bob, Brenda, and Beth.
In 1965 the family purchased a 10-acre tract outside of Omaha. Bob loved growing (and eating) sweet corn, gardening, and working in his machine shop. You could often find him working on a tractor or vehicle with his son, Bobby, or any one of his many friends who would wander by. Bob farmed with a collection of antique tractors. Most were Allis-Chalmers.
Thanks to his daughter Brenda, horses also came to live at the acreage, which meant that baling hay became a new hobby. Bob had a knack for attracting stray animals. He fed them, and they never left. They must have sensed his kind heart.
Husker football has always been in Bob and Carol’s blood. They have been season ticket holders since the mid 1960’s. They enjoyed many years of tailgating at the games. They passed this love on to their children, who all attended UNL.
In 1988, Bob and Bobby purchased a run-down lot on Beaver Lake and, along with the family, reworked the property, including the seawall (“a lot of work”). The family spent many happy summers at the lake with their friends.
Pastor Dave of Hope Presbyterian Church knew of Bob’s love and skill of growing sweet corn. He asked him to plant a patch on the church grounds in 2010. Bob cultivated and harvested the corn for the parishioners to purchase as a means to donate to the church. This continued for many summers. He became affectionately known as “Farmer Bob” or “The Corn Man.”
Bob was an extremely hard worker who never knew a stranger. He enjoyed spending time with his family, eating Hershey’s chocolate, and spoiling his grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Carol; son, Bob Witzel (Penny Smith); daughters, Brenda Witzel (Steve Skolek) and Beth Schulze (Cory); brother, Dennis Witzel (Janie); and his grandchildren: Jordan Witzel, Amanda Witzel, Haley Schulze, and Sophia Schulze; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The immediate family is holding a private service at the Omaha National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be organized at the appropriate time.
Memorial donations may be made in Bob’s name to Hope Presbyterian Church or Wounded Warriors Family Support.