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R.M. 'Bud' Pence

R.M. 'Bud' Pence, age 97, of Aurora, passed away with family at his side on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

Funeral Services will be held 10:00 A.M., Friday, September 24th at the Presbyterian U.C.C. , 10th & K Street, Aurora. The family asks that those attending the service to please wear a mask if you have not been vaccinated. Interment will be in the Aurora Cemetery. No Visitation. Memorials may be made to Memorial Community Care, Hamilton County Foundation or Rotary International. Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 227, Aurora, Nebraska 68818. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at www.higbymortuary.com.


Roland McKay Pence, 'Bud' was born in Aurora, Nebraska on May 25, 1924 to Roy and Daisy (McKay) Pence and passed away in Aurora, Nebraska on September 19, 2021, at the age of 97.

Bud attended school in Aurora, and graduated in 1942. He enlisted in the Army Air Force Aviation Cadets. He served his country as a C-47 pilot stationed in England, dropping paratroops, supplies, ammunition, K-ration and fuel for tanks. His crew received 3 Bronze stars, the Victory Medal and the Air Medal. His love for flying and aviation continued for more than 70 years and he flew more than 6500 hours.

Following his honorable discharge Bud attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, fall semester. Due to the untimely death of his father, Roy, he chose to leave the university and return to Aurora and managed the Pence Cash Hardware store with his mother until it was sold and then started Aurora State Company which is still operating today.

On June 16, 1946 he married his sweetheart, Mary Ann Sullivan in Aurora, at the Federated Church. They remained loyal members for over 50 years.

Bud and Mary Ann established a youth camp near Central City during April of 1966. Lake Mary Ranch Camp was a very successful endeavor and brought many years of camping to youth from all across the country. It was sold in the 70's and continues to be an organization that encourages families and youth camping for spiritual growth. It is known as Timberlake Ranch Camp. They also brought the Nebraska Cornhusker Football Club and held football camps with Tom Osborne. During those years they hosted many activities at their cabin nearby at Lake Mary.

Still hosting today at Lake Mary is Grace Children's Home from Henderson, the Pinnacle Bank Corporation and SOAR, (Summer Orientation about Rivers) program.

Bud was an active community leader. He brought numerous successful businesses to the Aurora area and following in his grandfather's footsteps, developing many residential communities that are still beautiful today. Bud was a premiere leader in the real estate business and development of the Hamilton County community.

Bud was active in many organizations: National Hardware Association, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Development, Rotary International, the American Legion, Aurora County Club, Edgerton Explorit Center, Aurora Airport Authority, Presbyterian United Church of Christ and the Hamilton Foundation. Recently he was working with the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, donating many items of interest from the Pence Cash Hardware and items from his time in the Armed Forces. Bud and Mary Ann formed lasting friendships in several different countries, Belgium, Germany and Brazil through being ambassadors for the Friendship Force organization.

Bud was an avid fisherman, golfer and pilot. He was the ultimate "Husker" fan until the day he passed. He was a true diplomat and always encouraged the younger generation to set goals and reach for the stars, always being available to assist and do his best to help them get there. Bud was totally interested in every person he met, wanting to know everything about them. He has taught us the love of family, the sense of community and the diplomacy of reaching across the aisle.

Bud was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Daisy Pence, his sister, Margaret 'Peg', nieces, Amy Benson, Joyce Anderson and Judy Eby, grandson, Ryan Johanningmeier and his beloved wife, Mary Ann.

Those left to cherish his memory are his three children, Debby and (B.J.) Johanningmeier of Windsor, Colorado, Nancy and (Ken) Nelson of Williamsburg, Virginia and Doug and (Carolyn) Pence of Marquette, Nebraska. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, Nichole Graham, Beau Nelson, Duane (Cheyann) Donnell, Kate (Chris) Nelson Vazquez, Derek Pence and Courtney Vcelik and seven great-grandchildren, Cayden and Addyson Vcelik, Soleil Nelson, Dodie Donnell and Peyton Griffith, Joseph and Jonathan Vazquez.

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