PETERSBURG - Bernard "Bert" J. Ketteler, 81, of Petersburg passed away Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, at home in Petersburg.
A private family-only Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Petersburg, with the Rev. John Norman and Deacon John Starman officiating. Interment will be in the parish cemetery, with military rites conducted by American Legion Post 334 of Petersburg, Army Funeral Honor Guard and American Legion Riders.
The family invites the public to join them at St. John's Cemetery for the committal at approximately 11:30 a.m. Monday, with social distancing measures respected. Visitation without family present will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, with a wake service at 6.
Social distancing and current COVID-19 DHM's effective will be followed at the visitation and masks are requested to be worn.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Petersburg Parks Improvement Account and can be sent to: Boone County Foundation, P.O. Box 66, Albion, NE, 68620 or to www.nebcommfound.org/give/boone-county-foundation-fund.
Levander Funeral Home in Albion is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family at: www.levanderfuneralhome.com.
Bert was born to Theodore and Lucy (Pape) Ketteler on a farm west of Petersburg, the youngest of 10 children. When he was 2 the family moved to their "home place" south of Petersburg. Bert graduated from St. John the Baptist High School in the class of 1957. Upon graduating he helped his dad on the farm.
In early 1959 his next older brother, Gerald, returned from the Army. Bert then enlisted in the U.S. Army, doing his basic and advanced training at Fort Benning, Ga. He was then deployed to the Canal Zone in Panama as a motor pool mechanic for the remainder of 1959 and 1960. He returned home to the farm but was called back into active duty when tensions arose over the building of the Berlin Wall in late 1961 and spent nine additional months at Fort Sill, Okla.
On Sept. 14, 1968, Bert was united in marriage to Kathy Metz at St John the Baptist Church in Petersburg. They made their home on a farm south of Petersburg, raising four boys, Lee, Allan, Daniel and Jeremy. Bert enjoyed farming, especially when it involved getting together with his brothers or neighbors to share in the work. Unfortunately, neither the marriage nor farming worked out, so Bert left the farm in 1986, moving into Petersburg. He worked various jobs in the area before settling in Grand Island, where he worked as a technician for Novartis Seed Corn, then as a USDA meat inspector for a couple years until he retired.
Bert moved back to Petersburg in 2012. He loved his hometown and was so happy to be back. Because his favorite hobby was working, he helped with upkeep at St. John's parish, helped Lee on the farm when needed, and worked part time at Zabka's Service. He really enjoyed working for Tom Zabka. It gave him the ability to keep working and get to visit with all the customers as they came in. Unfortunately, failing health sidelined Bert, and he was forced to fully retire in 2019.
Bert liked spending time with friends and family. He loved and was proud of his four boys and seven grandkids. He enjoyed meeting friends for coffee in the mornings. Throughout his years some of his best times involved participating in church or community events and attending family reunions or get-togethers. So many of his cousins were more like additional brothers and sisters. Bert, being the baby of a large family, was close with his nieces and nephews. He was a devout Catholic and an eternal optimist. Bert was caring and kind and always ready to help someone in need. Despite any setbacks or failings, he never complained about his situation. He will be remembered as a wonderful neighbor, friend and father.
Because Bert loved his family, friends, and community so much, he would not want anyone to become sick on his account. The family of Ted and Lucy Ketteler had planned a family reunion this past summer that unfortunately had to be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Hopefully, in the near future, we will all be able meet in person to safely celebrate Bert's life.
Bert is survived by his four sons, Lee Ketteler of Albion, Allan (Renê) Ketteler of Grand Island, Daniel (Jeanne) Ketteler of Portage, Mich., and Jeremy Ketteler of Shelby; seven grandchildren, Keenan Ketteler, Haley Ketteler, Skylar Ketteler, Brennan Ketteler, Christian Ketteler, Rally Ketteler and Riggin Ketteler; sister, Rosemary Seier of Albion; sister-in-law, Donna Ketteler of Petersburg; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; eight siblings, Cyril Ketteler, Gerald Ketteler, Theodore "Bud" Ketteler, Rita (LaVern "Cricket") Reicks, Jerome (Adelyne) Ketteler, Laurence (Mary) Ketteler, Richard (Eileen) Ketteler and La Vern (Germain) Ketteler; and brother-in-law, Jerome "Jerry" Seier.
Published by The Grand Island Independent from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2020.