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1931 Ethel 2023

Ethel M. Urbain

December 20, 1931 — April 29, 2023

Ethel Marie Urbain

December 20, 1931-April 29, 2023

Ethel Marie Urbain, age 91 of Papillion, Nebraska, passed away early Saturday morning, April 29, 2023, at Nebraska Medicine-Bellevue Medical Center.

Ethel was born at home in Kiester Township, Fairbault County, Minnesota, on December 20, 1931, to Fred Scherb and Katherine (Beiser) Scherb. She was baptized at home and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kiester, Minnesota. She grew up on the family farm in rural Kiester and attended the Sunnybrook Country School (District 118) where her favorite subjects were math and geography. Ethel went on to graduate from nearby Kiester High School in 1949.

Homemaking and caretaking were a central part of Ethel’s life for many years. In addition to these roles, Ethel worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in the 1960s and at Mission Junior High School in Bellevue, Nebraska, in the 1970s. During the 1980s, she spent many years leading tours at Gifford Farm in Bellevue—sharing with schoolchildren and visitors her fond memories of farm life.

Ethel married Harley Urbain on April 16, 1950, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kiester, Minnesota, and shared nearly 70 years of marriage together. They met during high school, where Ethel played the saxophone and Harley played the trumpet in the school band. They enjoyed spending time together roller-skating and would eventually manage the summer outdoor roller-skating rink in Kiester during their early years of marriage. In later years, they enjoyed traveling the world together, including family trips to Germany and China.

Ethel was a woman who fervently loved and actively served the Lord. She completed and taught the Bethel Bible Series, was an active member of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Nebraska, and was a member of Thanksgiving Lutheran Church, also in Bellevue, for over 30 years.

Ethel was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was warm and generous and enjoyed visiting with family, friends, and neighbors both in person and on the phone. Time at her home often included a bowl of popcorn as a snack. She was affectionately known as “Grammie” to all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ethel had many talents and interests. Ethel was an accomplished seamstress. She handcrafted the bridal gowns and attendant dresses for both of her daughters’ weddings and crafted many items for her family including clothing, quilts, stuffed animals, dolls, and doll clothing. Ethel enjoyed collecting dolls throughout her life and also learned how to make porcelain dolls by hand. She enjoyed gardening and always included onions and tomatoes in her vegetable gardens. Ethel was an avid photographer—taking thousands of photographs over the years and devoting much time and effort to labeling and sharing these images with others. With her late husband, Harley, Ethel also spent time working on jigsaw puzzles at the puzzle table in their home and celebrating their German heritage through attending dinner dances at the German-American Society in Omaha.

Ethel will be greatly missed by her family and all who knew her.

She is survived by two daughters: Brenda Detert of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Starla (Dennis) Lutterman of Omaha, Nebraska. Also surviving is her brother-in-law Kermit (Susan) Urbain of Owatonna, Minnesota, and their family; grandchildren Kristine (Brandon) Casto and Kimberlee (Corey) Benton of Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Shanon (Jason) Schuknecht of Littleton, Colorado; and Damon (Michelle) Lutterman of Papillion, Nebraska; and great-grandchildren Evan and Cecily Casto; Wesley and Aubree Benton; Ethan and Kyle Schuknecht; and Damon Jr., Destiny, and Treyson Lutterman.

Ethel was preceded in death by her parents; husband Harley Urbain; brother and sister-in-law Arnold and Valeria Scherb; sisters and brothers-in-law Oda and Everet Meyer and Rachel and Forrest Passer; son-in-law Kenneth Detert; great-granddaughter Piper Benton; great-grandson Bentley Lutterman; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family members.

Donations in Ethel’s memory may be made to Thanksgiving Lutheran Church (, the American Bible Society (, and the American Heart Association (

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Thanksgiving Lutheran Church, 3702 S. 370 Plaza, in Bellevue, Nebraska, on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Visitation prior to the service will begin at 10:00 a.m. A luncheon, at noon, will follow the service. A private family burial will take place at Rice Lake Cemetery in Foster Township (rural Wells), Fairbault County, Minnesota, at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ethel M. Urbain, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, May 20, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, May 20, 2023

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