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William B. Johnson

Passed away: June 3, 2011
Funeral Home: Harman-Wright Mortuary

January 8, 1933 - June 3, 2011

William "Bill" B. Johnson, 78, of Beatrice passed away Friday, June 03, 2011.  He was born on a farm in Norfolk, NE on January 8, 1933 and raised in Newman Grove, Seward and Lincoln, NE.  He graduated from Teachers College High School in Lincoln and the University of Nebraska.  Bill played basketball at UNL, earning MVP honors in 1954, and has held the UNL record for highest number of rebounds in a single game since 1954. He was inducted into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.  He married Lorna Stutheit on August 22, 1954 and began working at Caterpillar and playing basketball in the NIBL for the Caterpillar Cats in Peoria, Illinois.  He began his career at State Farm Insurance in 1961 and the family moved to Beatrice in 1965.  In Beatrice, Bill was involved with the Beatrice Jaycees, Kiwanis, the Beatrice Planning and Zoning Committee and served on the Beatrice City Council for 8 years. Bill was active in the Blue Valley Assoc and the National Assoc of Life Underwriters, holding many local and national offices. After retiring from State Farm in 1997, Bill enjoyed golfing at the BCC, traveling, card games with the Cheyenne Social Club, watching all sports and attending many of his granddaughters’ softball and basketball games in high school and college. Bill and Lorna were Big Red fans and attended UNL football games for 50 years. Bill was currently a member of St John’s Lutheran Church, Beatrice. 

Bill is survived by his wife of 56 years, Lorna; daughters, Lee Benash of Beatrice, NE and Lynne Cobb and husband, Jim of Seattle, WA and son, Scott Johnson and wife, Kelli of Reno, NV; grandchildren, Lisa Neukirch and Beth Harris of Lincoln, NE, Shannon Hudson-Benash of Omaha, NE, Stacey Benash of Beatrice, Alexander and Joanna Cobb of Seattle, WA and Blake and Kendall Johnson of Reno, NV;  great-grandchildren, Cassie, Alexa, Tyson and Anden Neukirch, Mason Harris and Isaac Melcher; brother, Charles Johnson and wife Jeanine of San Antonio, TX;  sister-in-law, Martia Ohme and husband, Dick of Gig Harbor, WA and many nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Oscar and Hilda (Gans) Johnson, sister, Margaret Wilson, brother-in-law, David Stutheit, son-in-law, Charles Benash. 

Funeral Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 8th at St. John Lutheran Church, Beatrice with Pastor David Kramer officiating. Burial will be in the Evergreen Home Cemetery, Beatrice. A family prayer service will be in the church chapel Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.  The body will lie in state at the Harman-Wright Mortuary Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the family greeting friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday evening and at the church one hour preceding services. Memoiral has been established to Beatrice Community Hospital Hospice or St. John Community Pantry with the mortuary in charge. Harman-Wright Mortuary, 623 Elk, Beatrice in charge of arrangements.