Bob Koch – Animal Science

Dr. Robert M “Bob” Koch passed away peacefully on March 10, 2016. Bob was born in Sioux City, Iowa May 15, 1924 to William F. Koch and Geneva Elizabeth Koch.  He had an older brother Bill Jr., now deceased. Their mother, Geneva, passed away when they were 11 and 14 years old.  Later, their father married Marian Tait and after several years, a little sister, Susan, was born.  He grew up in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon and Montana, graduating from Billings Senior High School in 1942.  

He enlisted in the Army during WWII after a semester of college. After basic training, Bob was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) in Stephenville, Texas.  The ASTP offered fast track degree programs for bright young recruits. Because of the heavy casualties during D-Day, ASTP was disbanded and he was assigned to the rifle companies of the 99th Infantry Division, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 395th Regiment.  In Europe, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and received many medals and awards including a Bronze Star.  He attended the first Officer Candidate School in Europe (Paris) and left the service as a 1st Lieutenant in 1946. Bob enjoyed attending many reunions of the 99th Infantry Division, including one in Krinkelt, Belgium, where the local people unveiled a monument honoring the 99th and held a reception in their honor.

 Bob married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Terrett, in July 1946 and then returned to college.  He graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Animal Science in 1948 and then received his Master’s Degree (1950) and Ph.D. (1953) from Iowa State University.  He joined the Animal Science Department faculty of the University of Nebraska in 1950. His career with the University included serving as Superintendent at the Fort Robinson Beef Cattle Research Station, Crawford, NE., consultant at the University of Nebraska Mission in Columbia South America, and Chairman of the Animal Science Department (7years). In 1966, Bob returned to research full time and in 1972 moved to the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. There he along with L.V. Cundiff and K.E. Gregory launched the Germ Plasm Evaluation Program, the largest genetic beef cattle research project to date. The program was designed to characterize diverse cattle breeds and their utilization in alternative crossbreeding systems. Bob also directed a 25-year project initiated in 1960 to study effects of selection for growth traits and muscle score in a closed line of Hereford cattle. He wrote and published his last research at the age of 80 in the Journal of Animal Science. He received many research awards including the Animal Breeding and Fellow Awards from the American Society of Animal Science and Pioneer award from the Beef Improvement Federation. In 1989, Beef Magazine named the team of R.M. Koch, K.E. Gregory, and L.V. Cundiff as part of the 25 who made a difference to the beef industry during the preceding 25 years.  In 2001, the team received an “Architect of Cattle Breeding Award” at the Cattlemen’s Reunion in Billings, Montana.  Bob’s research contributions are documented in more than 150 refereed scientific publications.  He made numerous invited presentations at scientific meetings and beef industry meetings in the U.S. and in other countries, including Argentina, Australia, New Zealand Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada.

In 2012, The American Society of Animal Science Foundation started the Cundiff, Dickerson, Gregory, Koch, Van Vleck Appreciation Club.  This endowment provides funding to symposium speakers in beef cattle breeding at Annual Meetings and graduate students to travel to the World Congresses on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production.

His hobbies included gardening and woodworking and hunting.  His grandchildren loved to visit and help him pick the ripe vegetables.  In the summer, their dinner table included a freshly arranged summer bouquet of flowers from Grandmother Virginia’s flower garden and fresh vegetables from Granddad Bob’s garden.  Each visit also included a trip to the University or Research Center to see the cattle involved in his research studies.

Bob has a loving family; his wife, Virginia, passed away in 1996 after almost 50 years of marriage.  He is survived by his sister, Susan (Brooke) Henderson of Billings, Montana; 3 sons William (Jean) of Colorado Springs, CO, James (Mary) of Arvada Colorado, Richard of Yuma, Arizona; 8 grandchildren Trenton Koch, Justin (Michele) Koch, Katie (John) Burney, Brandon (Tracy) Koch, Brian Koch, Lindsay (Russell) Ettinger, Carrie Koch, and Jared Koch, 8 great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

He is also survived by his wife of 18 years, Mary Jane Huxtable-Koch, and her children Tom (Denise) Huxtable, Paul (Cindy) Huxtable, Anne (Tom) Scates, and Jean (Dan) Hamersky and their families. Mary Jane has 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Bob spent many summers with Mary Jane and her family at her cottage in Lake City, Michigan.

Bob moved to Morning Star Senior Living at Mountain Shadows in Colorado Springs two years ago to be near his sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He loved scenic drives through the mountains along with many family dinners and celebrations.  The family wishes to thank the amazing people at Morning Star at Mountain Shadows that have made his life so enjoyable and meaningful.  They called him “our gentle giant”.  The family also thanks the Suncrest Hospice for their wonderful support.  Bob’s ashes will be placed with his beloved, Virginia, in the columbarium at Holy Trinity Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, and also next to his beloved Mother, Geneva, in Sioux City, Iowa, where he wanted his marker engraved “Loving Son of Geneva.”

Ermin Benes 

Ermin Benes, 89, of Valparaiso, passed away at South Haven Living Center in Wahoo on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. He was born to John and Agnes (Pekarek) Benes on November 12, 1926. Ermin was a member of Sts. Mary and Joseph Catholic Church in Valparaiso. He was a retired farmer and cattleman.  He was a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association.  He was a life time member and past president of Saunders County Livestock Association, also a past president of the District 81 school board.


Ermin is survived by wife of 68 years Dolores of Valparaiso; sons Fred (Linda) Benes of Valparaiso, Ron (Sue) Benes of Brainard, Dan (Kathy deceased) Benes of Valparaiso, Myron (Karen) Benes of Albion, Michael (Joyce) Benes of Valparaiso; daughters Diane (Steve) Schmit of David City, Denise (Jud) Baldridge of North Platte; daughter-in-law Lona Benes of Lincoln; sisters-in-law, Helen Potter, Betty Potter and Marlene Benes; 32 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren.

Ermin was preceded in death by son Melvin, parents, sister Adeline Walla, brothers Leonard and Vitus and one grandchild.


Mass of Christian Burial: 10 a.m. Monday, February 29, at Sts. Mary and Joseph Catholic Church of Valparaiso. Rosary: 7 p.m. Sunday, February 28, at the church. Visitation  from 2 - 4 p.m.  Sunday, February 28, at Wadlow Rozanek Funeral Home, Valparaiso, and from 5 - 7 p.m. at the church. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established at Sts.  Mary and Joseph Catholic Church and Bishop Neumann High School. Wadlow Rozanek Funeral Home, Valparaiso, is charge of the arrangements.


Howard Lamb

Howard Lamb passed away November 24, 2015 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney NE. He was born in Bassett, Nebraska Oct 8, 1924 to Charles and Ruth Lamb. He attended elementary school in rural Rock County and graduated from Rock County High School in Bassett in 1942. Two years later he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Notre Dame University. After service in the Pacific Theater of Operations, he was released to inactive duty in 1946. He returned to Nebraska, was a member of Si Sigma Tau, a national engineering honor society, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1949.

That same year, Howard married Josephine Kellenbarger of Anselmo NE. For the next 6 years Howard worked for International Harvester and they lived in Omaha, NE; Phoenix AZ; and Chicago, IL. During that time they had two sons: Philip, of Yakima WA, and David of Anselmo NE.

In 1955 Howard and his family moved to Anselmo NE to the Kellenbarger farm. There they raised corn, cattle, and two boys.

In 1976, Howard was elected to the Nebraska Legislature. He served for 16 years. During his time as state senator Howard served as chairman of both the Executive Board and the Transportation Committee, and as vice chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. Howard was a member of President George H. W. Bush's delegation to observe the first free elections in Romania, May 20, 1990. Three of his awards have been the Senator of the Year award from the Nebraska Stock Growers Association in 1978, the Silver Eagle award from Nebraska Farm Bureau in 1995, and the Nebraska Bankers Association's Agribusiness Recognition Award in 2009. In 1997 Howard was inducted into the University of Nebraska Agricultural Engineering Hall of Fame.

In 1989 Howard managed to pass a legislative bill which provided $100 million in property tax relief. As a Custer Public Power Director in the 1970's, Howard, along with University of Nebraska Ag Engineers and Custer personnel, was active in developing "Off Peak" irrigation. This system saved the district considerable money, was adopted by other rural districts, and is still in use today. Howard was very proud of these two accomplishments.

Howard has served on the board of Jennie M. Melham Memorial Hospital in Broken Bow; vice president and director of KRVN Rural Radio Association in Lexington; president, and director of the Custer County Public Power District; Director, Federal Land Bank Association of Broken Bow; and president of the Anselmo-Merna Board of Education. In addition, Howard was president of the Custer County Extension Board, and helped organize and was the first president of the Nebraska Association of County Extension Boards.

Howard was a member of the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement, Agriculture Builders Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Nebraska Cattlemen, the Republican Party, United Methodist Church, and American Legion Post 50.

Howard was born and raised in Rock County on the Niobrara River, farmed and ranched for 50 years in Dale Valley and the sandhills. He received an education at the University and in the Military. He served in government for 16 years where he traveled the world, met world leaders, and always represented his local communities. Later in life he visited the Mediterranean, Middle East, Australia, Panama, and most of the U.S. He loved and lived with a wonderful woman for 65 years, and raised a family. Howard developed respect and friendships in any situation. How can anyone ask for a better life?

Howard Lamb was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Josephine, one brother, two sisters-in-law, and one brother-in-law. He is survived by his son Philip (Cindy) of Yakima WA, son David (Donalee) of Anselmo NE, 4 grandsons, Christopher (Jen) of Bellingham WA, Colin (Tristen) of Ellensburg WA, Jason of Anselmo NE, Rodney of Anselmo NE, one granddaughter Elizabeth Lamb of Yakima WA, great-granddaughter Jane Lamb of Ellensburg WA, sister Ruth Johnson of Lebanon MO, nieces Carol (Stanley) Bowman of Lebanon MO, and Linda Johnson of Los Angeles CA.



Herb Albers

Funeral services for Herb Albers age 74 of Wisner, NE will be on Monday, December 14, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Wisner, NE. Interment will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery. Visitation will be on Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the church, with a Vigil Service at 6:00 p.m. Minnick Funeral Home in Wisner, NE is in charge of the arrangements.

Herb passed away on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at CHI Health-Creighton Hospital in Omaha, NE.


Calvin L. Coulter

Calvin L. Coulter, life-long resident of Bridgeport, Nebraska, died August 13, at Morrill County Community Hospital, surrounded by family. He was 85.

His funeral was held August 17, at the Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport, Nebraska. Pastor Jonathon Berosek will officiate. In lieu of flowers, the Coulter family requests memorials be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport.

Cal was born on January 4, 1930, in the Scottsbluff hospital to Bern and Esther (Scott) Coulter. He graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1947 and attended the University of Nebraska, graduating from the law college 1952.

He married Virginia Christensen in 1951 and they lived in Lincoln until his graduation, when they both returned to Western Nebraska. Cal ranched and farmed in the Redington community, building a distinguished herd of registered Hereford cattle alongside his father. The annual Coulter Hereford bull sales were an event the whole family looked forward to.

As the Coulter herd grew, so did the Coulter family. Cal and Virginia raised six children on their Redington ranch, and throughout his life the ranch continued to be a gathering place they would bring their children, friends, and extended families to experience and enjoy.

Cal dedicated much of his life and efforts to the Beef Industry, serving on the State and National Brand Committees, the State and National Beef Boards, the National Cattleman’s Association, and was a proud Past President of the Nebraska Stock Grower’s Association (1974 - 1976). Calvin received numerous awards and recognition for his efforts promoting agriculture and the beef industry, including Panhandle Outstanding Outstanding Service to Agriculture in 1986

Calvin was is survived by his wife of 64 years, Virginia; daughters Sheryll Coulter of Webster Groves, MO., Susan Coulter of Scottsbluff, Nebr., Kris Coulter of Santa Fe, NM, and sons Kenneth (Peggy) Coulter of Wright’s Gap Road, and Lewis (Susan) Coulter of Bridgeport Nebr., and son-in-law, Peter Lapaseotes of Bridgeport, Nebr.; sisters Madelyn Anderson of Broadwater Nebr. and Nancy Myers of Longmont CO.; 11 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bern and Esther Coulter, in-laws Carl and Lucille Christensen, and daughter Robin Coulter Lapaseotes.


Todd Ricenbaw

Todd Norman Ricenbaw was born August 8, 1965 in Friend, Nebraska, the son of Darrel Norman and Dorothy Ann (Johnson) Ricenbaw. Todd passed away on August 12, 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 50 years, 4 days.

Todd was a 1983 graduate of Centennial High School, Utica, Nebraska and received an Associate Degree in Agriculture. Following his father’s death, Todd began operating Ricenbaw Farms, Cattle and Trucking and was actively involved until the time of his death. Todd was united in marriage to Lisa Jean (Volkmer) Johnson on June 1, 1994 at St. Augustine, Florida. Together they were blessed to raise four children, Jessica, Keegan, Emma and Trevor and later Wesley joined their family. Todd was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cordova, where he had served as President of the Church Council. He was a member of the Nebraska Cattlemens Association, Exeter Feeders and Breeders (past president), Cordova Fire Department, Sons of the American Legion Post #178 in Beaver Crossing and founding member of “The Big House” off campus fraternal order. Todd was an avid Husker fan, a supporter of the Hastings College Broncos, a Steelers Fan and followed NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. Todd’s other profession was being the owner of the DR—BBQ business with Mark Due; Todd loved feeding people.

Todd is preceded in death by his father, Darrel; his sister, Kim; grandparents, Arthur and Norma Ricenbaw and Carl and Emma Johnson and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Kenneth and Norma Volkmer.

Survivors cherishing Todd’s life and the memories shared are his wife, Lisa Ricenbaw; children, Jessica (Joe) Fehlhafer, Friend, Keegan (Kathleen) Johnson, Lincoln, Emma Ricenbaw, Trevor Ricenbaw, Wesley Jardim, all Beaver Crossing; his mother, Dorothy Ricenbaw, Sun City Center, FL; sister, Marci Ricenbaw, Apollo Beach, FL; nieces, nephews; aunts, uncles and sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Jane McGachey, Nancy and Frank Banks, Steve and Suzanne Volkmer-Jones, Dona and Mike Haberer, Marilyn and Carl Karnuth, Kathy and Randy Stark, Ted and Mary Volkmer, James Volkmer and many loyal friends. To this obituary we add our thoughts, prayers and memories of life shared with Todd.


John Carter

Nebraska Cattlemen has lost a loyal fan and supporter. John Carter, senior researcher at the Nebraska State Historical Society, died peacefully in Lincoln on the morning of July 23.

 John wrote many articles for the Nebraska Cattlemen magazine, and enlisted colleagues who provided many more. He was also widely known for spearheading the television doumentary "Beef State," which debuted in June 2008. During the 2013 NC Midyear Meeting in Valentine, celebrating NC's 125-year history, John moderated the panel discussion that featured six prominent Nebraska Ranching and feeding leaders. 

John's lifelong interest in the players of the cattle business in Nebraska, its evolution and its impact on the rest of America stemmed from summers spent on the ranch near Bassett owned by his grandparents, Joe and Ella Theisen. 

Born in Lincoln Nov. 1, 1950, John was 64. He is survived by his wife, Ann Billesbach; brother, Steve Carter (Shala and nephews Joe and Josh); sister, Martha Carter (Kay Pinkley); niece, Stacey Miller; brother-in-law, David Billesbach (Jennifer Bauman); aunt, Jean Ruane; and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Shirley Carter and brother, Doug Carter.

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