ROCHELLE — Wayne George Kersten, 91, passed on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at home. Wayne was born at home in Reynolds Township, Lee County, on Jan. 29, 1927 to Mandel William and Anna (Schnell) Kersten.
Wayne obtained his grade school education in a one-room school house called the Conrad School with one teacher (Mabel Oakland) all eight grades. He graduated from RTHS in May 1944. He took four years of agriculture and became the president of the FFA chapter during his junior and senior years.
Drafted into the army in 1945, he shipped out of New York harbor with a platoon guarding German prisoners of war during a 10-day crossing of the North Atlantic to La Harve, France. He was stationed in Paris, France, and honorably discharged in January 1947.
At a farm north of Steward he met Rose Anne Ravnaas and after three years of courtship they were married on Dec. 30, 1950. They started their life together on a farm southeast of Ashton. Wayne and Rose Anne were blessed with four daughters, Janet, Donna, Sara and Kathy.
Wayne farmed for 40 years, 25 of which were spent feeding out cattle purchased in South Dakota. He also worked for Del Monte Corporation in Rochelle until the closing of the canned plants. He was also a building service worker at NIU where he worked faithfully, retiring after 18 years in Feb. 1, 2005 at the age of 78. He also started a business, RV Storage, at his home which he operated for the last 25 years.
He served his church by being on the board of trustees for two consecutive terms and as treasurer of the building committee that built the connecting link between Hicks Hall and the church.
Wayne was a lifelong member of the VFW Post #3878.
He is predeceased by his parents; in-laws; his brother, Lyle; and his youngest daughter, Kathy.
He is survived by his wife, Rose Anne, and three daughters, Janet (Dennis) Stewart of Rochelle, Donna Kersten (Ric Chandler) of Rochelle and Sara (Greg) Macklin of Lindenwood; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, Sheila Kersten Dewey, Ryan and Ashley Stewart and Liam of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Shawn and Kelly (Stewart) McKenzie, Miles and Mila of Roscoe, Matthew and Jaclyn Macklin, Jasper, Porter and Wilder of Kings, Kyle and Markee Macklin and Brixlee of Oregon, and Jason and Justine Macklin and Veronica of Tularosa, New Mexico; sister-in-law, Shirley Kersten; and many nieces and nephews.
Wayne was a quiet simple man who loved to plan his work, and then work his plan.
A visitation will be held on Monday, Jan. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Unger-Horner Funeral Home in Rochelle. Private graveside services will be held with military honors. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the United Methodist Church, 709 Fourth Avenue in Rochelle at 11 a.m.
The family wishes to thank their personal caregiver, Marie. Also, thank you to Serenity Hospice and Home, especially Dr. Appenheimer, Tiffany, Kacey and many other staff members for the tender, loving care they gave to Wayne and the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Rochelle United Methodist Church or Serenity Hospice and Home of Oregon.
Visit www.ungerhorner.com to sign the online guest book.