Fred was born on January 12, 1935 in Atkinson, Nebraska, to Fred and LuLu (Mitchell) Dunn. He graduated from Atkinson High School in 1953. Following graduation, he helped for a short time at his grandfather’s ranch north of Atkinson. In 1954, he joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War and spent 2 years in Alaska. In 1957, he attended the University of Nebraska, but returned home to Atkinson in 1958 after the sudden death of his father. In 1961 he bought the local Conoco, which was a fuel and oil distributor. Around this same time, he met the absolute love of his life, Jan Gans. They married on June 7, 1969 at the United Methodist Church. Fred and Jan moved out to the country south and west of Atkinson to help on the Gans ranch, which later became a partnership. Together, Fred and Jan were the parents to three children: Tiffany, Camille, and Mitchell. Fred also worked as a mason for Hamik and Judge Construction Company for 31 years. He retired from there in 2000. At that same time, they decided to sell the livestock and lease the land.
Many of you will remember Fred’s witty sense of humor. He had a nickname for everyone that he was fond of. Given that, many of you reading or listening to this probably can remember the special name given to you. He truly loved his friends and developed many deep friendships that withstood the test of time.
Fred also loved all sports. He spent 19 years volunteering for West Holt High school where he announced and kept score for the football and basketball games. If the television was turned on at home, it was on the ESPN channel or on a sports game. Mom would often say she wanted to just throw a shoe at the TV because she was so sick of hearing a game in the background.
One of the many joys in Fred’s more recent years involved his grandchildren: Caden, Carter, Grayson, and Sabryn. He loved to spend quality time with each of them. And yes, he had nicknames for each of them too. Sadly, it was during this time that he was diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia. While he would forget small events here and there, the impact that his grandchildren had on his life never left his mind. It really was at the forefront of it. They were likely the first thing he thought of in the morning and the last thing he thought of in the night.
In 2015, Jan died as a result of a car accident. This was a tough transition for Fred. Through the help of HomeInstead Senior Care, Fred was able to remain in his home until the fall of 2018, when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was at that time that he moved into the Careage Campus of Wayne Nursing facility. While he missed his daily ventures to the local coffee shop with his buddies, his memories of those times were played over and over in his failing memory. Nearly until the day of his death he would tell us that he went to coffee with his friends and drove out to the ranch to see how green the pastures were following the recent rain. It is for those memories that helped him believe that he was still the active man he once was. It is for that one and only reason, that I am grateful for dementia. He would forget that he wasn’t home, that he could no longer drive, or that the love of his life had died years earlier.
Fred is survived by his three children, daughter, Tiffany Wiese and husband, Henry, of Wayne; daughter, Camille Johnson and husband, Troy, of North Liberty, Iowa; and son, Mitchell Dunn of Wayne; grandchildren, Caden and Carter Wiese and Grayson and Sabryn Johnson; brother, Dale Dunn of Omaha; nephew, Rick Dunn and wife, Dawn, of Omaha; great nephews, Chance, Ethan, and Parker Dunn of Omaha; and many other family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and LuLa Dunn; wife Jan, parents-in-law, Herman and Rinnie Gans; and sister-in-law, Kathy Dunn.
A viewing will be held at the Seger Funeral Home, in Atkinson, Nebraska, on Tuesday, November 26 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service. Funeral services will be held at the United Methodist Church in Atkinson on November 27, 2019, at 10:30.