Harley LeRoy Urbain
April 3, 1930-March 19, 2020
Harley LeRoy Urbain, age 89 of Papillion, Nebraska, passed away Thursday evening, March 19, 2020, at his home. Harley was born at home in Foster Township, Fairbault County, Minnesota, on April 3, 1930, to Clarence Urbain and Edna (Renkley) Urbain. He was baptized and confirmed at Rice Lake E.U.B. Church in rural Wells, Minnesota. He grew up on the family farm in rural Walters, Minnesota, and attended the Courrier Country School. Harley went on to graduate from nearby Kiester High School in 1948.
Harley had a love for aviation. He attended the McConnell Aircraft Maintenance School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduation, in 1964, he and his family moved to Stewartville, Minnesota, so he could begin working as an aircraft maintenance technician for Gopher Aviation in Rochester. Five years later, in 1969, Harley moved his family to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was employed by Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. as Chief of Maintenance for their Corporate Aviation Department at Eppley Airfield. He continued in this role until his retirement in 1992.
Harley married Ethel Scherb 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 Harley played the trumpet and Ethel played the saxophone 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.
Harley was a man who fervently loved and actively served the Lord. He completed and taught the Bethel Bible Series, served as an elder at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Nebraska, and was a member of Thanksgiving Lutheran Church, also in Bellevue, for over 30 years.
Harley was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a man who had a wonderful sense of humor who made Ethel laugh each day and who crafted silly Christmas gifts for family members each year. He was affectionately known as “Boppy” to all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Harley had many talents and interests. As a young boy, he played the button accordion with his father on a local radio program. His love of music and accordions continued into adulthood—he played the accordion at each grandchild’s high school graduation party and played and sang with the Singenden Wanderer Men’s Chorus at the German-American Society in Omaha. He celebrated his German heritage through attending dinner dances with Ethel at the Society, speaking and reading German, and adding to his collection of German Bibles. Harley also enjoyed building model railroads, working on jigsaw puzzles with Ethel, and reading books about American history.
Harley will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Ethel, and two daughters: Brenda Detert of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Starla (Dennis) Lutterman of Omaha, Nebraska. Also surviving is his brother 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 Omaha, Nebraska; and great-grandchildren Evan and Cecily Casto; Wesley and Aubree Benton; Ethan and Kyle Schuknecht; and Damon Jr., Destiny, and Treyson Lutterman.
Harley was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law Kenneth Detert; great-granddaughter Piper Benton; brothers and sisters-in-law Arnold and Valeria Scherb, Oda and Everet Meyer, and Rachel and Forrest Passer; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family members.
Donations in Harley’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association (heart.org), Kids Against Hunger (kidsagainsthunger.org), or Thanksgiving Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Nebraska (thanksgiving.church).
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Thanksgiving Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Nebraska, in the future. A private family burial will take place at Rice Lake Cemetery in Foster Township (rural Wells), Fairbault County, Minnesota, at a later date.