Harriet 'Jackie' Kemling, age 98, of Aurora, passed away Saturday, November 9, 2019, at Memorial Community Care.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 A.M. Thursday, November 14th at the United Methodist Church in Aurora. Rev. Michelle Reed will officiate. Interment will be at the Aurora Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be made to the family to be designated at a later date. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at www.higbymortuary.com.
OBITUARY: JACKIE KEMLING
Jackie was born on June 25, 1921 in Hastings, Nebraska to Farmer and Nina (Sunday) Saddler. The youngest of three and only daughter, she was raised on a farm northeast of Hastings. She would cut across a field to get to the country school she attended for elementary that was about a mile from home, and then went on to attend high school in Hastings. During those years, Jackie and a friend were ranked highest among 4-H competitors at the State Fair in poultry judging. She was also named the Adams County girls’ 4-H club health champion in 1938.
Jackie graduated high school in 1940 and soon met her future husband, Paul Kemling, at a Rural Youth event, although they would not begin dating until after the war. They both enlisted in the army. Jackie had plans to enlist with a group of girlfriends, but was the only one to follow through. She served overseas in the South Pacific and attained the rank of sergeant. Her family was always proud of her selfless ambition and dedication to her country.
Upon her return home in 1946, Jackie and Paul began dating and were married on December 21, 1947. Paul would always joke about their honeymoon being on the longest night of the year. In January 1948, Jackie earned her cosmetologist license. After Paul graduated from the University of Nebraska, they moved to a farm south of Aurora. Jackie was a homemaker through the children's preschool years. She later worked as a telephone operator and remembers well the tornado that was heading toward Aurora, but she knew that she had to stay at her workstation for the emergency calls going through.
When her youngest daughter broke her foot in fifth grade, Jackie decided it was time to be at home for her children after school. She became the bookkeeper for the Nebraska Thoroughbred Breeders Association and worked side-by-side with Paul in the horseracing and farming business.
Jackie enjoyed pitch club with neighbors when the family moved to a farm along the river northwest of Aurora. She was active in a county extension club and at one point served as President. She was one of the original members of T.O.P.S.
The family moved once more when Paul bought a farm northeast of Aurora. Jackie stayed busy raising her children and attending numerous school and 4-H activities. She and Paul were avid Husker fans and made many trips to Lincoln for games.
In their retirement years, Paul and Jackie built an underground earth home on their land. They were lifelong members of the United Methodist Church, where Jackie was active in the womens circle and loved serving in the church. She and Paul both volunteered at the Plainsman Museum and both wanted to donate their memorabilia to the museum, where it is now enjoyed by the community. Jackie volunteered with the Blood Mobile, joined the local Red Hats Society and made numerous outings with her new circle of friends. She enjoyed going to T.O.P.S. every Monday and was involved in many of their local and statewide activities. Even at 90 years old, she would pick up two other elderly friends to go exercise at Curves. It was only when her balance and weakness gave way that she no longer attended.
When Paul moved to the Grand Island Veterans Home due to Alzheimer's disease, she faithfully visited him at least 3 times a week, even when he no longer knew who she was. She was in her upper 80's. Paul died December 15, 2011.
Jackie moved to Memorial Community Care in Aurora at the age of 91 and once again made new friends that she truly enjoyed. She began playing pitch again and tried her hand at bingo. She encouraged fellow residents and loved teasing the staff. It always made her day when family members took her out on day trips to visit familiar places and recount some of the highlights of her life.
She loved to quilt and made custom quilts for each of her children and grandchildren. She and Paul loved to watch their children and grandchildren play sports. She took after her mother with her love for gardening and flowers - roses especially. She planted many peonies that were split out from her mother's garden, and those were eventually passed on to her children and grandchildren. She cherished her friends and was always expanding her social circle. Jackie will be remembered for her independence, creativity, and spunk.
Jackie is survived by her children Michael (Sue) Kemling of Grand Island, Patty (Craig) Glause of Chapman, Jeannie (Larry) Siebert of Henderson; eight grandchildren, Brian, Chuck (Rene), Mike, and Amanda Kemling, Amy Glause and Shelley (Matt) Polansky, Jamie (Joe) Miller and Rick (Abby) Siebert; seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul, her parents, Farmer and Nina, and her brothers, Harry and William.