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Donald P. Vonderschmidt, 90, of Falls City, Nebraska was born on December 10, 1933, in Falls City, Nebraska to Phillip and Sarah (Riden) Vonderschmidt. He was raised on the family farm near Verdon where he attended various country schools and graduated from Verdon High School with the class of 1951. While in high school, Donald participated in track where he held the 1/4-mile record for many years. After graduating, he worked on a farm for Paul Schulenberg northwest of Falls City, Ken Schulenberg Fertilizer Company of Verdon until 1955, and worked on a ranch in Cora, Wyoming until their hay season ended. In March of 1956, Donald enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was sent to San Diego, CA for basic training. He was transferred to NAS Anacostia, Washington, D.C. in 1958 and was in a near fatal car accident in March. Donald spent several months in the hospital and returned to Verdon, Nebraska on a 30-day leave.
On June 29, 1958, Donald was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart Marie Zentner at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Falls City, Nebraska. To this union three children, James, Jan, and John were born. Donald was honorably discharged from the Navy on January 12, 1962, and returned home where he and Marie purchased a small farm on the Kansas/Nebraska state line south of Salem. By 1963, Donald was in the horse business in a small way, by training and shoeing them. He went to work for the Stalder Cattle Company in February of 1972 working full-time in the feed lots as “Head Cowboy”. Donald worked there for twenty-seven years before retiring in 1997.
Donald had a lifelong passion and love for horses. He spent the majority of his life around them; training, shoeing, showing, and even riding them to high school. Donald professionally trained horses, judged horse shows and belonged to the Saddle Clubs in Sabetha, Kansas, Falls City and Salem, Nebraska. He was a member of the St. Pauls Lutheran Church at 20th and Towle Street, the American Legion and VFW Club in Falls City, and served on the Honey Creek and Dawson-Verdon School Boards. Donald enjoyed spending time with his family, attending the grandchildren’s activities, and watching the Cowboy Channel.
Donald passed away on Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the Falls City Nursing and Rehabilitation Nursing Home in Falls City having reached the earthly age of ninety-years, one month, and twenty-five days. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant sister.
Donald is survived by his loving wife of 65 years Marie of Falls City, children: James Vonderschmidt of Oklahoma City, OK; Jan Duerfeldt and husband Richard of Falls City, John Vonderschmidt and wife Beth of Falls City, grandchildren: Justin Vonderschmidt and wife Becky of Falls City, Logan Vonderschmidt and wife Taryn of Farnam, NE; Kate Vonderschmidt of Stella, NE; Amand Seeba and husband Alex of Falls City, Allyson Lacina and husband Cole of Afton, IA; Dr. Kevin Duerfeldt of Ames, IA; Austin Duerfeldt of Falls City, 9 great-grandchildren: Adisen, Ashton, Dax, Cooper, Griffin, Gwen, Harper, Emmit, and Grady, a brother Kenneth Vonderschmidt and special friend Margaret Ramsey of Falls City, sisters: Ruth Rannebeck of Falls City and Rosalie Pitts of Florida, and many other relatives and friends.
Memorial Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 20th & Towle Street in Falls City with Pastor Joanne Kathol officiating. Family will greet friends from 9-10 a.m. prior to services at the church and a family prayer service will start at 10:15 a.m.
Inurnment will be at the Steele Cemetery in Falls City with full military honors conducted by the Falls City American Legion Honor Guard and the U.S. Naval Honor Guard.
Memorial contributions may be given the family’s choice with a later designation.
Condolences can be shared online at www.hallfuneral.net.
Services entrusted to Hall Funeral Home-2403 Harlan ST-Falls City, NE 68355 (402) 245-3131.