Martin D. Connealy, 78, Lincoln, NE (longtime Whitman, NE rancher)

Martin Donald Connealy, 78, made his last journey to heaven on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011.

Marty was born May 12, 1933, in Decatur, and as a child moved with the family to Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana before returning to Nebraska.

A graduate of Gordon High School in 1952, where he held the shot put record for decades, Marty attended UNL on a football scholarship before returning to the Nebraska Sandhills, where he married Donnie Vinton in 1955. A lifelong Catholic, Marty divided his time as a member of All Saints parish in Hyannis and St. Joseph's in Lincoln where he served on the Newman Center board as well as the Lincoln chapter of Legatus.

Starting with a herd of 20 cattle, Marty ultimately developed one of the finest Angus operations in the country. At the annual bull sale, Marty loved greeting his local friends and neighbors and enjoyed widening that circle of friends as he and Donnie delivered bulls all across the nation. Famous for his love of all things Irish and his beloved Cornhuskers, everyone who knew Marty admired his integrity, his passionate love of life and his boundless generosity. A grass-roots member of the Husker Beef Club, Marty remained loyal to the Huskers with his lifelong support of the Nebraska Athletic club. He traveled to Ireland many times with friends and family and could never tell a story about the old country, old friends or his family without tears filling his eyes.

Marty treasured his time in the Sandhills driving in his little gray pickup to view baby calves, walking through the bulls, or taking a trip to the fishpond to feed his fish. A medium rare, Connealy Angus dry-aged steak for dinner would close a perfect day. In Lincoln, a perfect day for Marty began with Mass at St. Joseph's, breakfast at the Cornhusker and attendance at a Husker football, basketball or baseball game. He especially delighted in these activities when he was accompanied by his best friend, Donnie, or any of his beloved children, grandchildren, great grandchildren or the multitude of wonderful people he was blessed to call his friends. Marty truly relished sharing his passions with those he dearly loved.

Marty is survived by sons, Bill (Renee), of Phoenix, Jerry (Sharon), of Whitman, Jack (Jane), of Lincoln, Mick (Kathy) and Terry (Lisa), all of Omaha; daughters, Susan (Bob) Huffman, of Bassett, and Kathy (Steve) Cleveland, of Chadron; 25 grandchildren proudly called Marty grandfather and seven great-grandchildren carry on the family legacy.

An offering of the Holy Rosary will be at 7 p.m. (MST) at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Mullen on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 28. Visitation will be prior to service from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (MST) on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Mass of Christian Burial, also in Mullen, will be at St. Mary's Catholic Church on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10 a.m. (MST), with burial immediately following at Cedarview Cemetery. A memorial service celebrating Marty's life will be at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 10:30 a.m. (MST). The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered to St Thomas Aquinas-Newman Center, 320 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. Arrangements handled by Mullen Funeral Home.

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