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Lowell “Dean” Rogers of Burwell Nebraska passed away peacefully on Friday, March 31, 2023, from a long illness at CMHC in Burwell with his best friend Marty Robbins at his side.
Dean was born on October 16, 1943, in Aurora, Hamilton County, Nebraska to Rosella Helen Lorence (Rogers) and Arden Berdine Rogers
After high school, Dean worked delivering auto parts to various businesses between Lincoln and York. In the mid-60’s, he began working for a creamery as a milk truck driver, picking up milk from dairy farms throughout the area from Stromsburg to Burwell and many places in between. He settled his family in Fullerton, where they lived from the late 60’s and into the early 70’s. He had a strong passion for working with his hands, primarily carpentry, so it was no surprise and for that reason he found much joy and happiness providing for his family by designing and building their home in town.
In the mid-70’s Dean quit the creamery and relocated to Muscatine, Iowa to work for GPC (Grain Processing Corporation) which at that time was involved in producing from corn, various new products such as state of the art fuels and artificial sweeteners. He was a dedicated GPC employee throughout his career, retiring in 2003. While residing in Muscatine, he enjoyed fishing & camping, playing tennis, metal detecting, but most of all, working on his lifelong dream to design a new type of three wheeled vehicle. He spent a few years putting the designs down on paper and then a year actually building it. It didn’t turn out exactly how he had always envisioned it to be. Nevertheless, he was satisfied with the results. The vehicle was street legal, a lot of fun to drive and caught everyone’s undivided attention that happened to see it out on the road.
Upon retirement, Dean relocated back to Nebraska, bought a house and called Burwell his home. Asked why he chose to settle in Burwell Nebraska after retiring from Muscatine Iowa, he replied “It was a nice little town I had discovered back in the 60’s when I was hauling milk for the creamery. It was peaceful and quiet, didn’t have a major railroad running through it, so it was a place I liked from the start, never forgot about and figured that someday I’d like to come back to retire there”, adding “plus it has a rodeo every year that’s fun to go and watch”.
Though retired, that didn’t slow or stop Dean from indulging in many hobbies & interests. He always had a strong interest in wooden sail ships. So, he spent years remodeling the inside of his home with various woodwork and décor that resembled the inside of such vessels, even adding touches of shinned brass, netting, signage and framed beach landscape paintings that gave the inside of his home the look and feel of being in and around a wooden ship at sea.
Soon after retiring in Burwell, he bought a small sailboat and spent time sailing around in the Calamus Reservoir. During the most physically active years of his retirement, Dean was an avid cross-country bicyclist. He spent a few years participating in multi-state bicycle rides and lasting friendships had developed from his involvement in that hobby. He loved to hunt on occasions. Dean was a real thinker and absolutely thrived on the challenge he faced when trying to fix things that broke. He had the spirit and attitude that there wasn’t a thing, if broken, he couldn’t figure out and fix.
Any time Dean drove through the areas between Burwell and Stromsburg, he would passionately reflect back at the years he drove those same roads on his milk truck route. He could tell you where each of the farms used to be, the name of the farmers who owned them, and so forth. He even pointed out a few places he’d stop at to get delicious sandwiches or nice hot meals in and around St. Paul. These memories were always bittersweet for him to relive because he felt a great loss that so many of these wonderful dairy farms and the families that owned and operated them, that he so fondly knew, have all since been moved out. He’d say, “It’s a real shame that a lot of the ones I knew are gone, having been moved out to the bigger cities”. He’d always end by stating how nice it is to drive on these roads now because they’ve all since been paved, specifically “Back when I was hauling milk, all these roads were just gravel, dirt and many times nothing but mud”, adding “I’d get stuck for hours waiting for help to come and tow/pull me out”. He even spoke about a time he was stuck out in a severe snowstorm/blizzard for over 20 hours, sleeping in the cab of the truck until help finally found the truck with him inside the next day.
Reading the Bible, speaking of and spreading the good word of the Lord our Savior, is what Dean did throughout his life. He found great joy and happiness attending local Bible study among cherished fellowship in Burwell. He always spoke of how doing so made such a positive impact in his life and gave him the means of Spiritual direction and meaningful purpose in life.
The very last project Dean worked on and completed was a large wooden gazebo in his back yard, complete with electrical power, lighting, a built in bbq & exhaust fan, a nice bench swing and a hummingbird feeder for his wife and him to enjoy during the warmer months of the year.
Dean was preceded in death by his mother, Rosella Helen Lorence (Rogers) (June 23 1914 – January 11 1991) and father, Arden Berdine Rogers (July 22 1910 – April 11 1969); brothers, William (Billy) Francis Rogers II and Gene Rogers; sisters, Sharon Rogers and Mary Jolene Newman; wives, Janeth “Jann” Kaye Meyer (January 22 1950 – August 22 2011) and Kathleen Ann Rogers (June 17 1961 - November 7 2021); and is survived by his sisters, Gailya Rea Fobben and Susan Ousey; brother, John Rogers; first wife, Suzanne Marie Lab; children, Kelly J McManus, Kathy Jo Martin, Keely Darling and Kasey Rogers; along with many nieces, nephews and many grandchildren. Testament as to the type of man, loving father and husband Dean really was, he felt completely blessed having the opportunity to welcome James Dunn (Kathleen’s son) into his life, family and as one of his very own children.
Dean’s wishes were to not have any funeral services provided.