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Neal Prussman(1920 - 2013)

William "Neal" Prussman, 93, of Haxtun, passed away Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at Gerk Funeral Home in Haxtun. Funeral Service will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at Haxtun United Methodist Church, with Pastor David Barton and Pastor Kristie Firme officiating. Interment will be at Holyoke Cemetery in Holyoke.

Neal was born in Holyoke on May 12, 1920, to William Basil and Grace Marie (Cordrey) Prussman. In his early life he was a farm boy, with his two brothers and two sisters on the family farm south of Amherst, near where his grandfather began farming in 1917. Neal attended Holyoke High School and Grand Island Business College, Grand Island, Neb., and after his graduation worked for the State Department in Washington D.C. where Neal met Virginia Rose Braun from Minneapolis, who worked at the Pentagon. They were married June 12, 1943.

In the book "Sterling Heroes" Neal was on the cover as "The 4 AM Messenger" for his 4 a.m. delivery on Dec. 7 to President Roosevelt's Secretary of State. The message was a portion of Admiral Hirohito's notice to Roosevelt that an attack by the Japanese was imminent. He was drafted by the Army and sent to replacement boot camp during January 1944 and then onto Normandy's Omaha Beach several weeks after June 6, 1944. Neal was shot and captured in France on Nov. 5 and was a German prisoner of war until May 8, 1945. On that day Neal began his trip home, with nearly 70 pounds of weight loss and yellow jaundice. He was listed MIA (missing in action) from the time of his capture until February 1945 when Virginia received a postcard that he had given to a prison hospital nurse during November 1944.

After he was released from the hospital at Fort Simmons, his parents offered him two quarters to farm north of Paoli. Neal and Virginia began their married life as a farm family for the next 60 years or more and even though the opportunity was there, they never looked seriously at moving back to Washington, D.C. With the help of their many and very good friends, they farmed and raised their three children before moving from north of Paoli to the "Lohn House" on the hill, south of Paoli.

Neal spent 20-plus years on Paoli Coop Board, 20-plus years on the ASC committee, was a member of the Paoli and Haxtun United Methodist Church since 1946, and for many years was a volunteer for the Color Guard to help honor other veterans.

Neal and Virginia had a wonderful zest for life and over the years they filled it with square dancing and traveling worldwide with square dancing friends. They most enjoyed their close relationships with their friends and fellow church members in the Paoli church. Neal was a wonderful son, father, grandfather, husband, brother and always included his children and grandchildren in his life.

Neal is survived by his adoring and loving wife, Virginia of 70-plus years of marriage; two sisters, Lena McGivney of Holyoke, Dela Hofmeister of Sterling; and brother, Lyle of Greeley; three children, Robert and Janell (Ahnstedt) Prussman of Fort Collins; Shawn (Prussman) and Tom Edwards of Haxtun and Lori (Prussman) and Warren Ward of Fort Collins. Also surviving are his four grandchildren, Kristin (Prussman) Stouffer of Fort Collins, Jason Prussman of Denver, Ross Edwards of Haxtun and Grant Edwards of Paoli; and four great-grandchildren, Jordan and Peyton Stouffer, Jacobb Prussman and Leah Edwards and cherished friends.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and brother Dale.

Memorial Contributions may be made to Haxtun United Methodist Church Haxtun Hospital Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project OR Donor's Choice.

Obituary at www.gerkfuneralhomes.com

If you would like to share a story or a memory or leave your wishes for the friends and family of W. Neal Prussman, please send your stories and condolences to: nealprussman@prussman.com. If you would like a copy of the article from the Sterling Heroes, "The 4 AM Messenger" please ask for such and it will be emailed or mailed to you.


Published in Journal Advocate on Sept. 27, 2013
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