Virginia Rae Fleharty, 80 years of age, Smithfield, Nebraska

Funeral Services for Pastor Virginia R. Fleharty will be conducted at the First United Methodist Church in Holdrege, Nebraska on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. with Reverend Jeff Adams officiating. Interment will follow in the Highland Cemetery at Bertrand.

Virginia Rae Fleharty, 80 years of age, passed away on Friday, December 27, 2013 at her home northeast of Smithfield, Nebraska. Virginia was born February 10, 1933 at the Holdrege Hospital; she is the eldest of two daughters born to Roger and Neita (Wolcott) Rightmire. She began her education in rural Smithfield and completed her high school education at Bertrand High School graduating with the class of 1951. She pursued her higher education at Hastings College and obtained her Bachelor's degree in 1957.

On December 19, 1953, Virginia was united in marriage to Gerald Fleharty. Virginia and Gerald made their home in Lincoln, Nebraska and later moved to El Paso, Texas where their three daughters, Jerri, Kristin and Melanie, were born. After 30 years in Texas, Virginia moved back to Nebraska and studied to become a Methodist minister at the Saint Paul School of Theology.

Virginia served churches in Bassett, Rose, Newport, Farnam, Eustis, Bertrand and Elwood and most recently served as the pastor at the United Methodist Churches in Atlanta, Ragan and Wilcox.

Virginia enjoyed gardening, football games, tending to her hens and spending time with her friends and family but her greatest joy was ministering to her churches and parishioners.

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Marilyn Englishman.

Family members include Jerri Bossie and her husband, Clifford of El Paso, Texas, Kristin Fleharty of Smithfield and Melanie Lauer and her husband Jerry of Smithfield. Virginia also leaves six grandchildren: Rebecca, Misty, Randi, Robert, Jacob and Hannah.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at the Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. with the family greeting from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

A memorial has been established in Virginia's honor and kindly suggested to the Elwood Food Pantry, the McCook Animal Shelter or Crossroads Mission in Kearney.

Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at

The Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege is in charge of the arrangements.

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