Robert (Bob) Lee Roland
Robert (Bob) Lee Roland passed away peacefully February 6, 2014, as the result of "too many summers" as he would say. He was born April 14, 1924, on a farm near Malvern, Iowa, to Merie Dorcus (Midert) Roland and Lee Albert Roland. He was an only child.
In 1942, he graduated from Glenwood High School in Glenwood, Iowa, and followed the harvest that summer, scooping grain on and off his dad's 1941 Chevy truck.
He entered the Army in March 1943, where he was selected for the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and sent to Georgetown University to study Engineering. In February 1944, in anticipation of the D-Day invasion and need for replacements, he was sent to the 102 Infantry Division, 406th regiment where he served as a jeep driver in an 81mm mortar platoon. He was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in March 1946 and awarded the Bronze Star.
Bob followed the harvest again in 1946. That fall he enrolled at UNL to complete the Engineering degree he had begun previously and worked at a gas station while attending school. The University was overcrowded and had few instructors, so after his third semester he left school and moved to California with his parents. There he worked as a temporary postman and also began his career in the construction trades with a starting wage of $1/hour.
In San Bernardino, California, he met Josephine Roma at a dance, and they married on June 4, 1949. Together they had four children; Nancy, Carl, Lynda, and Alan. He was hired as superintendent for the construction of three Catholic churches in the San Diego Dioceses. He later started his own general contracting and building supply business in 1955, which he operated until 1978.
He purchased a small grain farm near Hemingford, Nebraska, in 1966. He and his family divided their time between California and Nebraska for a number of years. Eventually, he left California and moved to Hemingford permanently in 1978. He was elected to and served on the Upper White Niobrara NRD board from 1980 to 1990. He continued to farm until he was 88 years old and could no longer climb the tractor ladder.
He enjoyed traveling and seeing different parts of the country and was a very sociable guy. He liked to visit and get to know folks. Morning coffee at the old Mini Max in Hemingford was a large part of his social life along with the occasional small $0.50 glass of beer at KC's or The Legion.
He was proud of his military service and to be an American. His wife was of Italian ancestry and he was of German decent, so many of his in-laws and relatives were first generation Americans, or from the 'old country'. He gained an even deeper appreciation for this country from their immigrant experiences. Although he had a respect for the government and military, he also held a healthy suspicion of those same institutions.
Farm auctions were his hobby and social event. He enjoyed history and collecting old trucks, tractors, and farm machinery. He always wanted to restore his collectables. He donated an old building to the Village of Hemingford which was torn down and converted to the Roland Memorial Park.
He made certain every one of his kids and grandkids were competent tractor, combine, and/or truck drivers. He would probably say his best accomplishment was raising and educating his four children and seeing his family grow through grandkids and great-grandkids.
He is survived by: Wife Josephine, Daughter Nancy (Dennis) Zajic, Son Carl Roland, Daughter Lynda Roland, and Son Alan (Loretta) Roland. Grandchildren Holly (Clint), Heidi (Justin), Andrew (Steph), Ashley (Kurt), Megan, James, and Brandon. Great-Grandchildren Zane, Mason, Peyton, Ezra, Chloie, and Hadley. He made a lasting impression on the extended families of DiGioia, Rogers, Fraser, Dillon, and many others.
Inurnment will be at 11:00 AM, Friday, February 14, 2014, at the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery in Alliance, Nebraska, with full Military Honors by the American Legion Post #9 of Hemingford, Nebraska. Luncheon will follow at the St. Bridget's Parish Center in Hemingford.
Memorials may be made to the Farm and Ranch Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail,
Gering, Nebraska 69341
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