Jeanette Marie (Helberg) Sukraw, 71

Courtesy/Blase Strauser Memorial Chapel

Jeanette Marie (Helberg) Sukraw, 71, died on May 31, 2014, at Gothenburg Memorial Hospital, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born on April 16, 1943, in North Platte to Roland R. and Beulah L. (Miller) Helberg. Because her father was stationed with the U.S. Army in California, her first home was with her mother and grandparents, Benton and Estella Mae (Pitts) Miller of Maxwell. Father and daughter first met when he was on furlough and she was three months old.

After her father's discharge from Army service in 1944, the family farmed on Tallin Table north of Gothenburg until 1956, and then moved to farm south of Maxwell.

She graduated from Maxwell High School in 1961. After attending Chadron State College, she taught for a year in a rural school south of Maxwell. She then took business courses at Kearney State College and worked at McDonald State Bank in North Platte.

On Oct. 26, 1963, she married Morris R. Sukraw in Maxwell. They made their home in Gothenburg, where Morris was a parts man at Larson Chevrolet. Jeanette worked for a time with the Dawson County Extension Agency's family nutrition program. Beginning in 1968, she and Morris operated Gothenburg Genuine Parts, and went on to co-own the business, from 1982 to 1999. The parts store was a kind of second home where their four children spent many after school and summer hours and where Jeanette's father worked in his retirement.

She had a deep knowledge of Christian Scripture and an abiding commitment to social equality, and participated for many years in the Box Project, an exchange program with African-American families living in poverty in Mississippi. She lived a ministry of hospitality and created a warm and happy family home where everyone was accepted and welcome.

She loved old gospel hymns, and taught her children to play the piano; she also played the organ and guitar. She loved music of all kinds, especially ragtime and blues.

As a great-granddaughter of Nebraska homesteaders, she carried farm heritage forward on the family's acreage on the north edge of Gothenburg, gardening, raising chickens and milk goats and keeping bees, and passing along her forebears' homemaking crafts. She loved gardening and growing flowers.

She was a voracious reader and lifelong learner. She taught adult education classes, sharing her expertise in bread making, sewing and weaving. For 10 years in the 1990's she owned and operated her own Gothenburg shop, The Yarn Shop-Prairie Child, devoted to fiber arts, framing and children's wear. She loved coming to know people through the community life of her shop.

In her retirement, she continued to express her artistry through piecework quilting. She also worked at Gothenburg's Pony Express station and enjoyed welcoming visitors to the town and state she so loved. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Gothenburg and participated in book and Bible study groups with dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her parents-in-law, Jarold and Inez (Solomon) Sukraw; a sister-in-law, Carol (Sukraw) Kieselhorst; and brothers-in-law, Loren Sukraw and Kenneth Kieselhorst.

Her survivors include her husband, Morris; brother, Roland L. (Deanna) Helberg of Maxwell; aunt, Marjorie (Miller) Gamble of North Platte; uncle, Calvin (Mary Lou) Miller of Gothenburg; step-uncle Morris Devine of Gothenburg; three sisters-in-law, Marilyn (Stephen) Morton and Cathy Sukraw of North Platte and Sharon (Jack) Wyttenbach of Sauk City, WI; a beloved cousin Pam (Nelson) Slack; and many cousins, nieces and nephews; her children Ann (Kevin) Sukraw-Lutz of Grand Island, Tracy Sukraw of Cambridge, MA; Jason Sukraw of Omaha; and Nathan (Dayna) Sukraw of Sidney; six grandchildren, Alexander (Mikala) Lutz of Omaha; Audrey, Elizabeth and Ivy Lutz of Grand Island, Jaidon Hollingsworth of Omaha; and Khalil Sukraw of Sidney. She was awaiting the birth of her first great-grandchild in August.

A family memorial celebration will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Nebraska Children's Home Society, 4939 S. 118th St., Omaha, NE 68137 (www.nchs.org).

Cremation has been chosen and there will be no public services at this time per Jeanette's request.

To sign the online guest book, go to www.blasestrauser.com.

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