The Reverend Robert D. "Bob" Wigert, 91, was released to the Lord in his home in Mitchell, after traveling on the "Royal Road to Heaven" Saturday, April 13, 2013.
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A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the First United Methodist Church in Scottsbluff with Rev. Dr. Charles H. Richardson officiating. A following service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at Grace United Methodist Church in Hastings with the Rev. Dr. Lee R. Wigert officiating. Inurnment will take place Saturday, April 27, at Blue Valley Cemetery in Ayr, Neb.
Members of the Wigert family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Jones Mortuary in Mitchell.
Memorials have been established in lieu of flowers to the Regional West Medical Center Foundation or to the Hastings College Scholarship Fund. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.jones-mortuary.com.
Bob Wigert, the son of Ben G. and Elizabeth (Syring) Wigert, was born April 22, 1921 at home on a farm near Ayr, in Adams County. Robert's mother died when he was fourteen and he became the cook and housekeeper for his father and four brothers. He attended school in Ayr. While in school he enjoyed athletics and also while a student sold the GRIT magazine and helped with the chores at home.
Bob graduated from Ayr High School in 1939. He was the class valedictorian. After graduating from high school he was employed at Vern's Cash Grocery and the Ayr Lumber Company.
While working at the Ayr Lumber Company he received a telephone call from a friend to come to Lancaster County, Penn. to work at Sylvan View Dairy where he worked for one year before enrolling at Hastings College to begin preparing for the Christian ministry. Bob was licensed to preach April 21, 1942 at the District conference in York, Neb. He began preaching June 1942, at his home church in Ayr. The following year he was appointed to serve the parish at Ayr and Pauline Methodist Churches. Bob served the Ayr-Pauline parish until he graduated from Hastings College in 1945.
While at Hastings College he was elected president of the senior class and he was chosen to be honored as "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities." He was a member of the college debate team and was active in speech and the dramatic productions. Bob was also on the staff of the college newspaper.
After graduating from college he enrolled at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, graduating with a Masters in Divinity in 1948.
Bob was united in marriage with Helen Mae Krabel at the Ayr Methodist Church on June 6, 1947. She went with him to Drew University in September of that year.
Robert was ordained Deacon in the Nebraska Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in June of 1946, and was ordained an Elder and received as a member in Full Connection of the Nebraska Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in 1948.
He has served Methodist churches at Ayr-Pauline and Davenport, Nebraska and in Roseland, N.J. He also served the Herman Federated Church, Her-man, Nebraska.
Rev. Bob also served United Methodist churches at Harvard-Trumbull, Superior, Mitchell-Hull, Alliance-Lakeside, Waverly, Holdrege-Ragan-Wilcox, and Eustis-Farnam in Nebraska.
He retired in June 1987. After retiring from the active ministry, he served twice as Minister of Visitation at the First United Methodist Church in Scottsbluff and twice as Interim Chaplain at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. During his retirement years he also served the following churches: Potter UMC; Clinton-Gordon UMCs; Morrill Presbyterian; Mitchell Federated Church; St. Paul Church in Mitchell; the Way-West Parish (UMC) in Morrill-Henry-Lyman; and the Alliance-Lakeside United Methodist Churches.
The Rev. Robert Wigert has written and published several poems and books of poetry. He has also written over 25 books and booklets, including The History of the Ayr Methodist Church, and a book about his great uncle Axel Veegert entitled "A Jolly Swede Named Axel." For his 50th Wedding Anniversary he published "The Parson's Poetry Book." He has written several books and articles about the ministry, as well as his own history and his family history.
During retirement he enjoyed reading, writing, gardening, raising roses, traveling, playing golf and fishing.
The Rev. Mr. Wigert and is wife Helen celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in July 2007. They would have been married 66 years June 2013. His family and friends honored him in celebrating his 90th Birthday in 2011.
Survivors include by his wife Helen of Mitchell; daughter, Marilyn Stoddard, a nurse from Gering; sons, Howard Wigert, a banker in Loveland, Colo., Dr. Lee R. Wigert, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department, Hastings College, and his wife Diane of Hastings, and Dr. Robert Wigert, a physician, and his wife Linda of Spokane, Wash., and exchange son, Toby Helgesen, teacher, Grimstad, Norway. Survivors also include his grandchildren, Allen Stoddard, Lime Springs, Iowa, LeAnn (Larry) Doremus, Spring Lake, Minn., Megan (Nick) Nicodemus, Houston, Texas, Joslen (Scott) Koester, Austin, Texas, Kiffin Wigert, Birmingham, Ala., Ben (Christine) Wigert, Omaha, Nathan Wigert, Hastings, Ashley (Adam) Schmidt, Jared Wigert, Seattle, Wash., Katie Wigert, Austin, Texas, Conor Wigert, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Alicia Wigert, Lincoln; and nine great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Glenn (Mike), Earl, Carl, and Howard; and one great grandson, Colten Ellerbee.
Published in The Star-Herald from Apr. 17 to Apr. 19, 2013
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