LaVern Dale Rinehart, 85, of Cozad, died Dec. 9, at the Cozad Community Hospital, surrounded by family, after a long battle with dementia. LaVern was born Mar. 8, 1927 in Cozad to Lee and Effie (Smith) Rinehart.
He attended District 13 and District 23 schools, all the while working for his uncles on weekends and summer months. LaVern graduated from Cozad High School in 1945.
In 1946, LaVern began work for Allied Mills drying hay in the winter, and green alfalfa in the summer.
On August 8, 1948, he married Bonnie Jean Price; they were blessed with 3 children, Larry, Lynn and LaVay. The family made their home in Cozad.
In 1955, LaVern joined the Cozad Volunteer Fire Department; his service would span 43 years, involving active roles in several committees and offices, including assistant fire chief for 20 years and fire chief for 6 years. LaVern started the Jr. Fire Patrol at Cozad, and played an integral role in the formation of the Cozad Rural Fire Department.
In 1958, LaVern started work at the Board of Public Works as a foreman in the Water and Sewer Department. He also worked in the Electrical Department when he was needed.
In 1972, LaVern worked as a Deputy State Fire Marshal in the Pipeline Safety Division. While working for the state, he was President of the State Fire Chief''s Association, Old Timer''s Fireman Association and served 15 years on the State Fire School Committee.
LaVern served on the 100th Meridian Museum Board of Directors, Grand Generation Center Board as a past President and Vice President, and the Cozad Elks Lodge as a past officer.
LaVern loved to hunt, fish, garden, and attend the activities of his children and grandchildren as they grew up. He loved his family and many of the people that he worked with.
Survivors include his wife, Bonnie of Cozad; 2 sons, Larry (Vivian) Rinehart of Dyer, Ind., Lynn (Teresa) Rinehart of Imperial; daughter, LaVay (Dean) Horst of North Platte; 4 grandchildren, Jeremy (Jennifer) Rinehart of Lincoln, Kayla (Kyle) Sharp currently stationed in Grafoehner, Germany, Lucas Rinehart of McCook, Lynsey Rinehart of Omaha; 3 great grandchildren, Madee and Cayden Sharp, Amaya Rinehart; 6 step granddaughters, 11 step great grandchildren; sister, Vergie Arnold of Lincoln; and a host of other relatives and friends.
LaVern was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Marjorie Rinehart; brother, William Rinehart; sister-in-law, Mae Rinehart; brother-in-law, Keith Arnold; and great granddaughter, Ava Mabel Rinehart.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the First United Methodist Church in Cozad with Pastor Doug Smith officiating. Burial with Fireman''s Rites will be in the Cozad Cemetery.
Berryman Funeral Home in Cozad is in charge of arrangements.