Beryl C. Ristine, 87 of Santa Maria, Calif., formerly of Gothenburg, passed away January 26. Beryl was born July 28, 1924 north of Cozad and Gothenburg to Luther C. and Opal (Gibson) Ristine.
Growing up as a depression era farm boy, Beryl knew a life of hard times and no frills. There were too many chores and too few games. At the age of 13, his father married Thelva Elliott. He often listed Thelva as his mother from then on.
He worked on his Aunt Nina Ristine''s farm during the winter and rode his bike into Gothenburg, where he attended high school until his senior year.
It was then that his father moved the family to Waco, Neb. to open a barber shop. Beryl finished his senior year in Waco, though he always attended his class reunions in Gothenburg.
Beryl enlisted in the United States Army, where he was trained in Air/Ground Radio Operations and saw the end of World War II in Germany. As a member of the occupational forces, Beryl processed prisoners of war. Following a short break in the service and some college classes, Beryl enlisted in the United States Air Force, continuing in Radio Communications, then retraining into the missile field. Beryl had duty in several U.S. states, France, Germany, Turkey and Kwajalein Atoll. During all these assignments, he enjoyed traveling as much as possible.
In 1970, Beryl retired as a Master Sergeant at Vandenberg Air Force Base and went to New Zealand to work as a photo engraver, using skills learned through his hobby of photography. Beryl traveled those islands and Australia extensively.
Two years later, Beryl returned to the United States via a trip around the world, which included a train trip across Siberia. Resettling in Santa Maria, Beryl drove school busses for the Santa Maria School District and did administrative work as a civil servant at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Upon going into full retirement, Beryl began traveling in earnest; bus and air trips all over the country, as well as Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Beryl enjoyed 17 cruises, including the Panama Canal, Alaska and a river cruise through Russia. He also made a trip to China and a flight over the north pole to Sweden. Beryl was a member the Santa Maria seniors travel club, he was frequently “on the bus”. Beryl took pride in his travels and was awarded Most Active Traveler and left many pictures and journals.
Other than traveling, Beryl enjoyed the golf course at Vandenberg Air Force Base for many years until a shoulder injury would not allow him to continue. Beryl then walked the course for camaraderie and exercise. He also greatly enjoyed music, he leaves behind hundreds of audio tapes; 8 tracks, cassettes and reel to reels. Beryl recorded many of them himself to include light classical, popular and country. Beryl liked to be out of the house and active, even when it was only for breakfast at Kay''s Country Kitchen or coffee at McDonalds or Albertsons.
Beryl was preceded in death by his parents; step-mother, Thelva Ristine Bates; 2 sisters, Doris Johnson and Kathleen Ristine; 2 half-sisters, Nellie and Carol; step- brother, Austin Bates and a cousin, Burton Ristine.
Survivors include his brother, Archie of Ellensburg, Wash.; sister, Helen Voisey of Webster, Tex.; half-sister, Kay Etherton of Cozad; 4 step-sisters, Joan (Gary) Waugh of North Platte, Jeanne (Larry) Brooks of Cozad, Cheryl (Roger) Nespor of Milford and Lois (James) Hughes of Nashport, Ohio; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Memorial services with military honors were held on Monday, October 1 at 11 a.m. at Fort McPherson National Cemetery at Maxwell.