NHA Members & Former Members








Jean Priefert

A public Funeral Service for Jean will be held on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Fairmont Community Church in Fairmont, Nebraska. Pastor Seungli You will officiate the service. The service is open to all members of their Hereford family.  Lunch will be served after the service, at the Fairmont American Legion.

There will be no public visitation per Jean's wishes. Following the Funeral Service, Jean will be cremated and her ashes will be interred at the Fairmont Public Cemetery at a later date. 

Memorials are suggested to the Neil Priefert Scholarship Fund or the Fairmont Community Church. 

Due to the Covid 19 Epidemic, we will be practicing social distancing guidelines at the Funeral Service


Jean was a long time member of the Pollette Organization both on the State and National level.  Jean was one of the 12 founding members of the National Organization of Pollettes.  Jean was a Nebraska Hereford Woman of the year, as well as the National Hereford Woman of the Year recipient in 2017.  

Steven Ray Messersmith, 70, of Alliance, passed away May 28, 2020 at the age of 70.
The youngest of three children and the only boy, Steve was born May 11, 1950 to Robert and Myrtle Emily (Bauer) Messersmith of rural Alliance. Steve grew up and spent the majority of his life on the Messersmith Ranch, founded by his grandfather F.E. Messersmith.

       Steve attended grade school at a one-room schoolhouse in Sheridan County. A “herd” of nearby Messersmith and Bauer cousins – who were more like siblings – provided Steve with ample playmates growing up. As a freshman he attended the Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis then went on to graduate from Alliance High School in 1968, where he was selected Prom King and elected Senior Class President. He was also an active member of 4-H, FFA and the wrestling team.

       Following high school, Steve attended the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and graduated with a degree in animal science. He was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity and a lifelong Cornhusker football fan. A fond memory was driving to Miami with his frat brothers and sleeping on the beach to watch Nebraska beat LSU and win their first national championship. During his time in Lincoln, Steve met Lynne Black of Central City, Nebraska. Following graduation from UNL he enlisted in the army. His background and love of animals served him well during his time in the service, where he was stationed at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, working as an army veterinary and research assistant. Steve and Lynne married October 15, 1972, at Fairview United Methodist Church near Central City. To this union, son Clay and daughter Cara were born.

       Steve and Lynne made their home at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, as Steve finished out his service, then moved back to Nebraska where they entered a partnership with Steve’s parents in the family ranch. Steve continued the family tradition of raising registered Hereford cattle, annually showing bulls at the Denver Stock Show, Rapid City Stock Show, and Kansas City Royal. He drove many long hours delivering bulls across the United States and even Canada. In fact, such a trip was how Steve and Lynne spent their honeymoon.

       Steve was heavily involved in his children’s activities, especially showing cattle at the Box Butte County Fair. Even after Clay and Cara were out of high school, he was a regular at the 4-H and FFA Beef Show, always ready to lend a hand and a not so subtle opinion. Steve was a lifetime member of the Alliance United Methodist Church, the Nebraska Hereford Association, serving two terms as President and served on the Board of Education of Box Butte County District #65-J. He officially retired in 2016 after celebrating the Messersmith Ranch Centennial. At this time, he leased out the land and cattle as he and Lynne moved into Alliance. In retirement, Steve and Lynne enjoyed traveling with Lynne’s sisters: Susan and her husband Mark, and Deb and Delbert. Steve always remained devoted to Nebraska football as he and Lynne would gather with their “Corny Club” friends to watch games. He also loved the outdoors, including hunting at the ranch or fishing at McConaughy with Clay, nephew Brian and brother-in-law Jade. Most importantly, he loved the friends and family with which he participated in those activities. His favorites amongst those people called him “Pops.”

       Steve will long be remembered for his booming voice, renditions of the Macarena at weddings, the ability to always be the life of the party and his meticulously grilled steaks.

       Steve is survived by his wife Lynne, son Clay (Micki) Messersmith of Alliance, daughter Cara (Aaron) Wade of Alliance; grandchildren Kaitlyn, Shaylee, Jenna and Kaci Messersmith and Camden, Bryce and Amelia Wade; sisters Evelyn Phillips of Kearney, and Carol Eilts of Lincoln; sisters-in-law Susan Black (Mark Seader) of New York, NY, and Debra King (Delbert Bender) of Kenesaw; along with several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Herman and Myrtle Bauer and F.E. and Luva Messersmith, and Gertrude Evans Messersmith; his parents; his father and mother-in-law Merlin and Lois Black; and his brother-in-law Jade Phillips.

       Due to the Covid-19 mandates, a private family service will be Friday, June 5, at the United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Gideon Achi officiating. Inurnment will be in the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Alliance.

       Memorials may be given to: PAWS (Providing Animals With Shelter), PO Box 117, Alliance, NE 69301; the Alliance United Methodist Church, 704 Box Butte Ave, Alliance; Wounded Warriors Project, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

       Online condolences may be left at with Bates-Gould Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

 Opal Pauline (Stephens) Haumont, passed away March 25th, 2020, at Brookestone View Nursing Home in Broken Bow, NE.  Pauline and Elmer Stephens operated KEG Herefords at Broken Bow, NE until Elmer’s death in 1986. She later married Steve Haumont of Broken Bow.  . Pauline is survived by daughter Carol Mathis of Elida, NM and son Ken Stephens of Valentine, NE.




Gene Weldon Grabenstein of Eustis, Nebraska passed away Monday, July 22, 2019 at St. Luke's Assisted Living in Kearney at the age of 77.


He was born to Paul Grabenstein and Clara (Holbein) in Cozad, NE on May 13, 1942.  He was baptized on July 5, 1942, and confirmed on March 26, 1956 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Eustis, NE and was a lifelong member.  He served two terms on the Church Council in the late sixties.


He was married to Linda Witthuhn on August 1, 1971.  To this union, two children were born:  Terri and Todd.


Gene was passionate about Herefords, and was a committed volunteer for the Eustis community. He was a member of the Nebraska Hereford Association, and served as President. He hosted five Nebraska Hereford tour stops, and held 22 production sales at his ranch near Eustis, NE. In addition, he was a member of the Heart of Nebraska Hereford Association from the mid-sixties into the mid-seventies, and won several trophies over the years.


Gene was honored for his 50 years of service as a Eustis Fair Board member, and was a leader of the Rolling Meadows 4-H Club for 25 years.  He organized several horse shows for the Frontier County area held in arenas near Farnam and Eustis.


Gene was preceded in death by grandparents: Dan and Minnie Grabenstein and Christian and Marie Holbein; parents Paul and Clara Grabenstein, and sister Phyllis Svoboda.


He is survived by children Terri (David) Bierbower of Lincoln and Todd (Tricia) Grabenstein of Smithfield; grandchildren Jillian and Joel Bierbower of Lincoln, Cooper and Cailey Grabenstein of Smithfield;  siblings Lyle (Lonna) Grabenstein of Eustis, Janet (Don) Fleischmann of Cozad, brother-in-law Jon Svoboda of Elkhorn; and many other family and friends.


Online condolences may be shared at Memorials are suggested to Eustis Fire and Rescue or Eustis Fair Board. Services will be Monday, July 29, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Eustis with Pastor Steve Berke officiating. Burial will follow at Eustis East Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church. Berryman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Joseph Deck Estermann, age 94 years, 11 months, and 16 days of Wellfleet, NE passed away July 11, 2019 at Linden Court.              

      Joe was born on July 25, 1924 in Somerset, NE to Joseph Jacob and Jessie Joy (Hughes) Estermann.  Joe attended Rose Valley school in Somerset, and high school at the Nebraska State Agriculture School in Curtis. Upon graduating he returned to the family ranch at Somerset. He met Marlene Gibson through the Nebraska Rural Youth program and the two were united in marriage on January 8, 1961 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Platte.

      Joe raised purebred Hereford cattle which his father had started. He had continued to ranch up until recently when his health deteriorated.   Joe was active in the Nebraska Hereford Association.

Traveling all over the world, especially following the family name was a passion of Joe’s. Taking the children on summer camping trips in different states was something to always look forward to.

      Survivors include his wife, Marlene of Wellfleet; children, Teresa Ann (fiancé David Hewitt) Estermann of Ocilla, Ga, Deborah Jeanette (Randy) Weitzenkamp of Nebraska City, NE, and Joseph Daniel Estermann of Wellfleet, NE; grandchildren, Cassandra Jeanette (Miguel) Farfan-Weitzenkamp, and Bryan (Miranda) Weitzenkamp; great-grandson, Alexander Farfan-Weitzenkamp; sister, Dolores Kosmicki of North Platte; and in-laws, Kenneth (Beverly) Gibson of Geneva, Connie (Kim) Stewart of North Platte, Deloris Grauerholz of Sutherland, and Rodney (Carol) Gibson of North Platte.

      He was preceded in death by his parents; and infant grandson, Brett Mitchell Weitzenkamp; and two brothers-in-law, Herman Grauerholz, and Al Kosmicki.

      Memorials are suggested to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be shared at

      Services were Monday, July 15, 2019 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, with the Reverend Bob Deardoff officiating. Burial will follow in the Morningview Cemetery near Wallace. Visitation will be noon – 6:00 p.m. Sunday at Adams & Swanson Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.

Lois Berdina (Stillman) Helms passed away June 25, 2019 at the Good Samaritan Society in Arapahoe, NE. Lois was born to Herman and Meta (Haussler) Stillman on March 27, 1924 in the newly built family home northwest of Arapahoe. She attended St. Mathew’s Lutheran Church, northwest of Arapahoe, where she was baptized April 1, 1924, completed eight years of education in the parochial school and confirmed on May 31, 1936. 

            Lois married Clarence Helms on February 16, 1944 at St. Mathew’s Church. After their marriage, she followed Clarence to Camp Pendleton, CA before his deployment to Germany during World War II. After the war, they moved to the farm north of Holbrook, NE, which they purchased, raised their four boys and lived on for 60 years. Lois and Clarence held their farm sale in September of 2005 and moved into Prairie Pines Independent Living Center in Arapahoe, NE. They then moved into the Good Samaritan Home in 2011. 

            Lois played the organ for over 50 combined years at St. Mathew’s and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cambridge, NE. She also taught Sunday and Saturday School and was a faithful servant of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Lois supported her family in their farming and Polled Hereford business, was a longtime member of the Hereford Pollette Auxiliary.  She also served many years with the VFW Auxiliary of Holbrook and the Holbrook Toastmaster’s Club. Her hobbies were quilting and embroidering and she gave many of her handmade masterpieces to others, including a quilt to every grandchild upon their high school graduation. She was well known for her homemade pies, especially sour cream raisin and Angel Food cake. Lois enjoyed baking and tending her flowers. Her greatest joy were her grandchildren.

             Lois was preceded in death by her parents, Herman and Meta (Haussler) Stillman; husband, Clarence; sisters, Adelia (Hollis) Clausen, Lillian (Henry) Helms, brother, Paul (Barbara) Stillman, and many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

            Survivors include sons Lanny and wife Martha of Arapahoe, Randy of Holbrook and fiancée Glenda Leithoff of Litchfield, Dick and wife Bonnie of Arapahoe and Bruce and wife Sue of Holbrook; nine grandchildren, Melanie (Rev. Ted) Olsen, Sarah (Titus) Staples, Cody (Casie) Helms, Sheree (Tom) Burford, Hannah Helms, Bryan (Shannon) Helms, Kyle (Kayla) Helms, Molly (Chris) Blickenstaff, and Cory (Katie) Helms. Her eighteen great-grandchildren are, Aimee, Ashlee and Abbee Olsen; Madilyn, Abraham, Samuel and Laura Staples; Hayden and Kylan Helms; Kaden Helms; Savannah Helms; Lillian and Abbigail Helms; Carter, Wyatt, Amelia and Beau Blickenstaff and Harrison Helms.

            As a strong Christian wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and witness to her faith, we know she has joined Clarence and her family in Heaven and waits for others to join her. 

Visitation will be from 4-6 pm June 30that Wenburg Funeral Home, 652 Main Street, Arapahoe, NE and at the church before the funeral. 

            Services will be held on Monday July 1stat 10 am at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1005 9thSt, in Arapahoe with Rev. James Mosher officiating. Burial will be in the Arapahoe Cemetery beside her husband Clarence of 70 years. 

            Memorials are suggested to Trinity Lutheran Church Youth Ministries.

Railen Ripp, Interim Secretary


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