Ernest McKeever

Ernest McKeever passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, December 15, 2022. 

Ernest was born on June 9, 1936, to Ross and Hazel McKeever at Rice Hospital in Odell, NE.  He attended North Star and Lower Sicily grade schools and continued his education and graduated from Wymore High School in 1953.  Ernest was raised on the family farm outside of Wymore as the eldest of three children.  He had numerous friends growing up in the surrounding area.  

After graduation, he worked for Kohlmeyer Hatchery and Firestone Tire. He volunteered for the draft and served the US Army in 1957-59. He was stationed in Alaska.

On June 12, 1960, Ernie married ValJean Bednar, his best friend and the girl across the section. They celebrated 56 years of marriage.  Their union blessed them with four children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren whom he cherished.  He enjoyed attending their activities and encouraging their development of a strong work ethic and moral character .

Ernest was involved with many community and professional organizations. He was a member of the Order of Eastern Star where he served with ValJean.  Ernest was a past city council member, a charter member of the Wymore Jaycees, and the Wymore Kiwanis Club.  He was a member of   Beatrice Blue Valley Sesostris Shrine and the Wymore-Beatrice Shrine Firemen group. He was a member of Blue Lodge #104 of Wymore and later transferred to Blue Lodge #26 AF&AM of Beatrice. Ernest was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Beatrice and served in various leadership positions.  

Ernest built a career in financial planning for customers and their needs for over sixty-three years in the insurance business. He took pride in establishing and maintaining relationships with his clients and their families as he provided life insurance and financial planning advice. Ernie was a high performer among his peers earning multiple awards and conventions throughout his career. 

Left to cherish his memory are his children, John (Carmen) McKeever, of Wymore, Sara (Dan) Hier of Cortland, Valerie (Randy) Barnhart of Lincoln, and Lyndon (Jenny) McKeever of Olathe, Kansas;  grandchildren, Caleb (Lindsey) McKeever and Jared McKeever of Wymore, Benjamin Hier (fiancee Morgan Haner), Garrett Hier of Cortland, and Grant and Michael McKeever of Olathe, KS;  step grandchildren, Crystal (Billy) Kaster, Jennifer Hier, and Randy Jr. (Jenni) Barnhart; great granddaughters Leighton and Callie McKeever; sister, Sherryl Lee of Florida; brother, Ronald (Dorothy) McKeever of Norfolk, NE; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and a host of extended family and friends.

Ernest was preceded in death by his parents, wife, ValJean (2016), brother-in-law John Lee (2018), and step-grandson, Matthew Barnhart (2014).

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at the First Presbyterian Church in Beatrice with Rev. Dr. Ron Wakeman officiating. Interment will be at the Wymore Cemetery. The body will lie in state at the Laughlin-Hoevet Funeral Home in Wymore on Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with the family greeting friends from 6-8 PM, and at the church one hour prior to the service on Wednesday. The funeral service will be livestreamed on the funeral home’s YouTube channel ( In lieu of flowers, a  memorial has been established to the First Presbyterian Church, Wymore-Blue Springs Area Fund, and the family’s choice with the funeral home in charge. Sign Ernie’s online register book and view his video tribute when complete at

These services have been entrusted to the Laughlin-Hoevet Funeral Home in Wymore.   


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