Barney Reher

Bernhardt Ferdinand Reher


Born March 7, 1912 in Hall County, NE

Died May 16, 1999 in Grand Island, Hall County, NE

#10... The youngest of all the Reher siblings...
Son of Ernest & Minnie Stoltenberg Reher

Barney was named after his Mother's brother Ferdinand Stoltenberg & her sister Cecelia's husband Bernhardt Wiese.

The picture on the left of Barney is taken from the family portrait of the Reher family. My Mother always said, about this picture, that she just bet he threw a fit, whining and crying until he got to hold a basket of flowers like his sisters Frieda and Dora did.

Barney was born not quite 14 months after his sister Frieda and three years and one day after Dora the sister he was closest to. I think she was his favorite. They used to go to the horse races together and long after Dora passed away, Daddy would still bet 6 and 7... their birthdates.

By the time Barney was four, his two oldest brothers Art & John were married and moving to Wyoming to homestead. A year later they had started their families and so he was closer in age to their children than to them.

Although German was the language spoken at home, it began to be spoken less and less and even though Daddy could understand most German, he never could speak it too well... He could count and say a few phrases like Ich liebe dich (I Love you), G├╝ten tag (good day or hello), and Auf wiedersehen (good bye). I only heard him say them when we would ask him to "say something in German."

A funny memory I have is of when the family would get together when the older brothers were back in Nebraska on a visit. Eventually the cards would come out and they'd all gather around the table and play sheepshead. Everyone would be talking, bidding, etc. in German except Daddy who would put in his bid or whatever in English. It would sound so funny to Jerri & I as we lay in bed listening to them.

Barney attended Hall County's District 28 school which was located just west of the family farm about a mile. This farm was about a half mile south of Hwy 34 just before the curve that heads south over the Platte River's Hamilton County Bridge. He would walk or ride his horse to school. He attended school at District 28 graduating from the 10th grade.

Barney's Mother wanted him to go to high school. Her dream was for him to go to college... one of her children a college graduate!! His father offered him a deal... he would buy him a new car if he stayed home and helped on the farm. Barney, being a typical 16 year old, couldn't turn it down. He got his new Model T Ford but was much dismayed later when his sister, Dora, got to drive his car to work in town every day.

He helped on the farm for several years and then owned a Standard Filling Station which was located on the corner of Locust & Koenig Streets.

And then he met his future wife while at a dance at the Glovera Ballroom which was located on 4th Street in Grand Island.

Mother tells that Barney had a girlfriend when they met and had been engaged to another for 7 years before that. A week after meeting Mother, he & the girlfriend took a trip to California to check out the job market there. While gone he wrote to Mother and she to him and he decided to break up with that gal, to come back to Grand Island, and court Mother. After they had gone together for several years, and were getting serious Mother urged Barney to enroll in an adult education class in sheet metal at the high school with the idea that he'd be able to get a job in a defense plant.

On October 19, 1941 Barney & Phyllis Juleen Sipple
were married in Grand Island, Hall County, NE

Juleen's parents were Adda Francis Rockwell & Joy Franklin Sipple

After they were married, they headed to Santa Monica, California with $250 and all their possessions in their car. Barney worked for Douglas Aircraft Company as a sheet metal worker on the airplanes... only to get his draft notice for the service shortly after they got out there.

On July 10, 1942 Barney enlisted in the United States Army Air Force. Basic training was in Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. See Mother's story The Cake for more about this time. Barney served at Chanute Field Air Force Base in Urbana, Illinois where he was an instructor in sheet metal. He was a "permanent party" which meant he could live off of the base and so Mother could join him there. I was born while Barney was stationed in Rantool, Illinois. Barney reached the rank of Sergeant while at Chanute.

After about 3 years Barney was transferred to California to be trained to go over seas. Mother and I followed him there but thankfully before he could be shipped out the war ended.

December 4, 1945 Barney was discharged from March Field Air Force base in Lancaster, California.

Following his time in the Air Force, my parents and I moved back to Grand Island and that is where he lived the rest of his life and where my Mother still lives. After working for others for several years, Barney decided to start his own business. He was a painting contractor by trade and also oversaw and helped build several of our homes. In the years between 1945, when they moved back to Grand Island, and 1966, when I got married we lived in ten different houses.

Barney painted the fertilizer plant on Hwy 30 just east of Grand Island and many area barns using only ladders - without the aid of scaffolds or man lifts. His nephew Ronnie Reher (Emil's son) worked for him summers during high school and college. Barney's two son-in-laws also helped him paint in the later years.

Ronnie Reher told me this story about painting with Barney:
Your dad did use a rope around his waist and a tire for a counter weight over the top of the barn to keep him on the roof so he could walk to paint or stain roofs. We did a number of these out in Pinebuff, Wy. And I even helped to paint that big fertilizer plant, going straight up on that 40 ft ladder the last 6-10 ft with the spray and air hose, remember in those days we had no airless. We also painted a farm on the southwest corner of Bismarck and the packing plant road (it was the Schuler [sp] farm) (your mom would know) but anyway the barn was soooo big that we put a 2x12 on the top rails of a hay rack and than the 40 ft ladder on the of the 2x12 to reach the top of that barn. I would not go up, your dad painted that, also we used a 8ft ladder on top of the barn to paint the cupola, I held the ladder. There were no lifts in those days.

Recently we found these photos Ronnie and Daddy painting the Schuller barn.

Look closely in this third photo, you can just barely see the hay rack Ronnie talks about behind the barn, behind Daddy's paint trailer. That trailer had a machine that would spray paint through a long hose. I think it was run by gasoline. Much easier and faster than brushing the paint on.

Ronnie also remembered that Barney was one of the first, in Grand Island anyway, to paint or flock Christmas trees. He did this in their garage on Anna Street probably around 1954. It was in the winter of 1953 that our family went to California to visit relatives around Christmas time and flocked trees were all the rage out there... along with low, long ranch style houses. When we got back to Nebraska Barney & Juleen sold their house on John St and started building a new one like those in California on Anna St.

Daddy was a hard worker and always provided well for his family. I can remember thinking, when I was little, that we were one of "the rich" families in Grand Island. It was only later, after being married almost 10 years that I discovered that my Father made only about $8000 in his best year.

Barney loved to dance and was one of the best dancers around... everyone would agree here. He also loved to fish and could be found fishing at one of the local sandpits after work most any night or weekend during the Spring, Summer & Fall.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my father, Barney...

That's Barney on the right.
The bigger girl is Frieda and the two little ones are Elvera & LeRoy, John Reher's children.

The photo to the left was taken when we went fishing in Canada in September 1972. Barney has on some of his painting pants. He seemed to prefer white pants or overalls for painting. He was a frugal man... While Mother did mend and sew, he often mended his pants or shoes with masking tape until she got to it... (didn't they have duct tape then?)

Barney & Juleen had two daughters.
Jodi was born in Urbana, Illinois while they were stationed there during WWII
Jerri was born in Grand Island, Nebraska after Barney's discharge.

Born Joyann Reher June 11, 1944
Graduated from Grand Island Senior High 1962

Born Jerrilynn Reher July 3, 1946
Graduated from GIHS in 1964
BA in Business Education from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1968
MA in Educational Psychology from UNL in 1974

Jodi & Lyle Govig were married April 21, 1966
(divorced December 1995)

Jodi now lives in York, NE
with her partner of eight years, Dan Troester

Jerri & Dee Haussler were married December 28, 1968

Dee and Jerri Haussler

Five grandchildren joined the family...
Matthew Glenn Govig Nov 13, 1968
Jill Shannon Govig March 19, 1970
Marci Layne Haussler Feb 24, 1974
Wade Christopher Govig June 19, 1976
Philip McCoy Haussler April 12, 1978

(they are all better looking than in either of these 2 photos )

Recently there have been 2 great-grandchildren added to the family...

Lia Juleen Peace born Aug 16, 2004 to Grady & Marci Haussler Peace

McCoy Thomas Haussler born November 2005 to Phil & Stacey McMahon Haussler


JHaussler said...

You've done a lot of work on this blog, my SIS-ter. Thanks so much. The stories are always interesting and I learn a lot... Love to all! Jerri

Matty G said...

That's awesome. I didn't know some of that. It's really neat to read this stuff about grandpa. Thanks for putting all the work into it!

I hope more people contribute their stories and memories. This is a really neat thing! And the more the better!

Toast said...

You snuck some pictures on this post. I've never seen the one of my dad hugging my mom from behind. That may be my favorite picture of them, ever.

Toast said...

So I say it's my favorite picture and then you change it? I bet that's my mom's suggestion isn't it?