HARTINGTON — Phyllis L. Climer (“Sally,” to family and friends) died on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 in Hartington, Nebraska, on the anniversary of her mother’s birthday.
Sally was born in Sioux City, Iowa. on August 20, 1929, to Minnie G. (Jarman) and Albert H. Carlson. She grew up on Sioux City’s Fowler Street and later moved with her parents and sister Lois and brother Jim to Morningside. She graduated from Central High School in Sioux City, and she and Verne were married at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on February 14, 1950. As newlyweds, they made their home in rural Thurston County, NE where they remained until 1955. After Farmer’s National of Omaha employed Dad, they lived briefly in Emerson and Pender, NE. In 1959, they moved with their three children to Hartington.
Sally grew up around her Irish maternal great grandparents and grandparents who had pioneered in Royal, NE before moving to Sioux City, and with her paternal Norwegian immigrant grandparents who arrived in Sioux City in the early 1900s. She was a part of a big, close-knit family of double aunts, double uncles and many cousins. By the time her own young family began to grow, the old timers had passed on and her parents, siblings and many cousins migrated to the west coast. Starting with the Seattle World Fair in 1962 and for nearly ten years following, Sally would take her kids on memorable summer West coast treks for family visits that were investments in the ties that bind us together no matter how far away we are.
Mom was a doer. She was the bookkeeper in our dad’s business, and additionally worked over the years at the ASCS office, The Cedar County News, and the Cedar County Assessor’s office. She also volunteered at the Hartington Senior Center while her health was good, fiercely determined to deliver a good meal. She was a proud holder of her real estate brokers license and was never without her rosary.
Surviving Sally are her children, Susan Rohan Maisch (Einar Maisch) of Roseville, CA, and Verne Climer, Jr. (Kathy Feilmeier) of South Sioux City, NE. She is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 2 stepgrandchildren. Sally’s three grandsons are Christopher Climer (Rebecca), Josh Climer (Candy), and Aaron Climer (Brittany). Her three granddaughters are SarahWynia (Eric), Cory Folkers (Joe), and Jen Rohan Becker (Paul). Susan and Einar’s children are Eric Maisch and Jenny Everett (Kirsten). Fourteen great grandchildren survive her, as do 17 nieces and nephews along with Marjorie Climer (James’s widow) of Hartington, Stan Young (her brother-in-law) of Oakland, NE, and Patrick Rohan (her former son-in-law) of Amador County, CA.
Sally’s infant daughter Ellen passed at birth in 1951. Her husband Verne W. Climer Sr. passed in 2002, and her youngest son James Paul Climer passed in 2008. Her parents and her siblings, Lois Collins and James Carlson, and her nephew Timothy Collins, also predeceased her.
The extended family has many fond memories of “mom”, “Aunt Sally”, and Grandma. Throughout her life, our mom, like her siblings, cherished many Boston terrier dogs named “Mickey”. Mom was a terror before her morning coffee. Daily, she recruited available but mostly unwilling family members to collaborate with her on hard crossword puzzles. She loved math and playing music, especially the piano. Mom was a voracious reader and a fan of old movies, especially comedies and westerns. She loved her red VW Bug and was a fierce fan and early adopter of Apple computers. She truly enjoyed playing bridge and her bridge-playing friends. She remembered everybody’s birthdays and anniversaries. She taught her kids and grandkids to pray to St. Anthony, if something was lost. She taught them crazy songs, like “My Gal is a Corker”. She loved cherry nut ice cream, mint, and every kind of chocolate. Mother’s favorite sayings were “That’s just the way it is!” and “Praise the Lord”. A lifelong democrat, she was not a fan of either President Bush.
As Sally’s life progressed, she experienced several painful losses—and so many of them were in October. In that month, she lost a baby girl, her husband, and her younger son, who died in her arms, exactly five years to the day she lost Verne Sr. Those four weeks of every year would cause her much anguish, and, especially in her later years. It marked significant declines in her health, including in her last year, and month.
Her children Susan and Verne want to acknowledge Mom’s amazing long time neighbors and devoted friends, the Weises, all the Millers, Charolotte and Donna. We are grateful to them and to the other friends and neighborly people, like her children’s schoolmates, who kept coming to visit her at Hartington Care and Rehabilitation long after she preferred the solace of her own mind. And we remember the friends who passed before her, like Bev and Joan. Those friendships were precious to her and now us. We are grateful for the care she received at the nursing home and by Dr. Micek. And we are so grateful for the Asera Hospice care team. To both staffs, please know your dedicated professionalism and kindnesses are deeply appreciated.
Sally Climer’s celebration of life will be at a later date. She will rest in peace at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Hartington, NE with her husband, son and infant daughter. For those who wish to express their condolences or honor their memories of our mother, we invite you to donate in her name to the Hartington Senior Center, Asera Hospice, or the Catholic Daughters of America through Holy Trinity Parish.
The Wintz Funeral Home in Hartington is assisting with the arrangements.