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Lancaster County reports previously unrecorded COVID-19 death
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Lancaster County reports previously unrecorded COVID-19 death

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On Monday, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Department reported a death from COVID-19 that occurred in April but had not yet been recorded.

The death was a man in his 50s who had been at home, the Health Department said. The death had not yet been captured in the COVID-19 tracking system, according to the Health Department, and it brings the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Lancaster County to 242. 

There were 32 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, and the vaccination rate among residents 16 and older stands at 67.4%.

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The cost of COVID: Remembering lives lost in Southeast Nebraska

They were teachers and farmers and factory workers and homemakers. They played the piano, fixed old cars, danced to the Beach Boys, cuddled their grandchildren.

They loved to ice fish, gab with friends, read, run marathons, bowl, wander antique stores.

They were our co-workers and neighbors and friends. Our parents. Our spouses.

They all have one thing in common. They died from COVID-19, a virus that arrived in Nebraska in March 2020, claiming its first life in Lancaster County a month later.

These stories represent a fraction of the lives lost in Southeast Nebraska, but they are our way of paying respect to each and every one.

We'd like to share the stories of others from Southeast Nebraska who have lost their lives to COVID-19. If you would like to have your loved one added to our online tribute, please email your contact information to: citydesk@journalstar.com

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In the 50s and 60s, Betty Bredemeyer taught Sunday school at Christ United Methodist Church and was “always willing to help out," one of her sons said.

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Roger A. Ryman, 70, died Oct. 20 from COVID-19. He was a cowboy in his younger years, but became a grandfather devoted to his Magnificent 7.

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Alan Burr, 73, of Humboldt died on Jan. 13 of complications from COVID-19. Teacher, artist, beloved brother, favorite uncle. “He did what he wanted, when he wanted to.”

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Jack Fields, 87, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 8. He spent his career fixing copy machines and making friends and creating memories for his children and grandchildren.

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Phyllis "Phyl" Maly, 87, died of COVID-19 on Jan. 14. She was an artist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a woman at home in her own skin.

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Beth Smith, 64, died of complications of COVID-19 on Jan. 20. The redheaded woman loved music and parties and adventure and was a loyal friend, sister, aunt and partner.

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Lillian "Lil" Gibson, 61, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 2. The dialysis nurse and marathon runner was small but mighty with a big smile and warm personality.

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Kevin Hopper, 60, died of COVID-19 on Aug. 19. The easygoing Lincoln native and computer expert loved Star Trek and Star Wars and all things sci-fi and, most of all, his family.

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Randy Brinkman, 62, of Lincoln died of COVID-19 on Nov. 30. He loved his family, old cars, working hard and writing love poems to his wife.

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Hope McGraw, a 22-year-old crew leader at a York restaurant, died of COVID-19 in January. A fundraiser over a week later raised nearly $1,200 to help her family cover bills.

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Julie Koch: She taught us kids to be independent, strong, courteous, respectful and kind. Her pragmatic outlook on life earned her many friends wherever she was living or working. She rarely showed a temper, seeming to always take life in stride.

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Wanda Darlene Hedges was a strong woman who raised her family on a farm near Bennet. Sometimes she worked at a nearby grocery store, but she was mostly a full-time mother.

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Anna Sales, 69, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 6; four days later her husband Chuck Sales, 88, also died of the virus. The couple loved to bowl, travel, serve their church and listen to Elvis music.

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Raymond Irvin 'Irv' Cidlik, 78, died Oct. 23 from COVID-19. He was a veteran, farmer, father and grandfather who loved making people laugh.

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Orva Samuelson, 95, died of COVID-19 on May 22. She and her late husband loved to dance and play cards and after she raised her daughter she became an Avon lady and turned customers into friends.

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Tam Mai, 80, died of COVID-19 last May. The man from Vietnam was a protective big brother and a devoted son and grandfather who taught his grandchildren to study hard and be respectful.

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Nadene Stull, 94, died Dec. 12 from complications of COVID-19. She lived a full life as a bookkeeper and mother of three sons who later went on to become a lay minister in the Methodist church.

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Bryan Wintz, 46, died of COVID-19 on Oct. 4. The longtime LES worker loved to tease his only daughter, go ice fishing and work on projects around the house he built with his high school sweetheart, Jill.

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Janet Ann Jodais, a caring mother known for her love of reading, crafting and church life, died Oct. 8 of COVID-19 in Lincoln at age 83.

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Albert "Butch" Butts, 79, died on Feb. 14 of complications of COVID-19. He was a hard worker and a kind and generous man who left behind a big family to mourn his passing.

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Betty Srb, a longtime nurse known for her caring and loving personality, died of COVID-19 at a Lincoln nursing home last November at age 95.

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This spring, the Journal Star set out to honor the lives of those lost to COVID-19. The families were eager to share the stories of those they loved.

Reach the writer at lstephens@journalstar.com or 402-473-7241.

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News intern

Luna Stephens is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is originally from Lawrence, Kansas and is passionate about the transformative power of journalism.

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