Dwayne E. Wittstruck was born Nov. 4, 1925 to Elmer and Wilhelmina (Fischer) Wittstruck on the Wittstruck Homestead at Centerville, but soon moved to another family farm on W. Bennet Rd. There he grew up, walking to West Union Dist. 29 grade school and graduating from Sprague-Martell High School in 1943. His family raised purebred Guernseys whose “Golden Guernsey” milk went first to Skyline Dairy, then to Roberts. They were charter members of the Lancaster County Grade A Association. In 1949 Dwayne married a city girl from Scranton, Pennsylvania named Joan Conway. It took a little doing but Dwayne turned her into a real farmer’s wife – milking cows and scrubbing the barn. They had three children, Craig, Marc, and Laurie and with all those pretty Guernsey calves around, they were soon involved in 4-H.
Dwayne started in 4-H in 1934 – the Henny Penny Club – an all boys poultry club. He was the leader of the Rokeby Dairy Club for well over ten years, stressing participation in speech, song, and demonstration projects. He always maintained that it was more important to be a purple ribbon kid than to have a purple ribbon calf. After 4-H, he and Joan served as Lancaster County Fair superintendents. They sponsored trophies for showmanship and in 1986 established the Wilhelmina Wittstruck All-Around Horse Exhibitor Award. Dwayne was at the fair every year to give the winners congratulations and a hug. He was a big hugger! In 2015 he and Joan were inducted into the Lancaster County Agricultural Society Hall of Fame. Besides kids and cattle, Dwayne’s great love was basketball. He played on the Sprague-Martell town team and later played and managed his own team in the Lincoln City League.
During the dry years of 1955 to 1960, Dwayne worked nights at Goodyear and farmed during the day. Ironically, his eldest granddaughter, Courtney, is currently the plant manager at what used to be Goodyear and is now Continental. He gave her a lot of tips! (We’re not sure she uses them). It was picking Courtney up from 8th grade basketball practice that started his second – or third career as a volunteer basketball coach with his son Marc at Crete Middle School. His mantra was “defense and free throws win games!” 25 years later, at age 90, he was inducted into the Crete High School Hall of Fame. At 92, he was still planning on coaching 8th grade girls and 7th grade boys this year.
Dwayne was president of the UNL Ag Advisory Board, president of the Lancaster County Extension Board, District 29 School Board President, Nebraska State Dairyman’s Association president, and recipient of the first Citizenship Award from the Lincoln Kiwanis Club. He was a member of the Martell United Methodist Church, the Centerville Cemetery Board, and a proud member of the Crete FFA Alumni Association.
Dwayne left to work on Heaven’s pastures on June 1st. He was preceded in death by his parents, grandson Chad, and daughter-in-law Holly. His survivors include wife of 69 years, Joan, sons Craig (Colleen) and Marc, both of Martell, daughter Laurie (Bill) Askew of Malin, OR; grandchildren: Courtney, Lincoln; Lindsay (Patrick) Eisenmenger, Papillion; Casey (Whitney) Wittstruck, Lincoln; Stephanie (Kyle) Hemje, Crete; Cole (Bonnie) Wittstruck, Lincoln; Mallory Wittstruck (and fiancé Clint Shoemaker), Beloit, KS; and Alexa (Andrew) Holsing, Lincoln. Beloved great grandchildren: Easton and Barrett Eisenmenger; Liam and Grace Wittstruck, Titus, Marcus, and Bailey Hemje, and Augusta Holsing. Dwayne would want you to know that he died doing what he loved-with his boots on, working in his pasture. He often said “I’ve had a wonderful life. I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Visitation is Friday June 8th from 6-8 p.m. at Martell Methodist Church and one hour before services Saturday. Services will be Saturday June 9th at 10:30 a.m. at the 4-H Ag Building in Tuxedo Park, Crete. Interment will be in Centerville Cemetery. Please wear Crete Cardinal garb or casual clothing. Memorials are suggested to the “Dwayne Wittstruck Memorial Fund” at Security First Bank to be used for Crete Middle School basketball camp scholarships. Trump Funeral Services, 1600 West “O” Street, Lincoln are handling the arrangements. Condolences may be left at trumpmemorials.com.