Arthur Lavern (Bill) Silvester - February 10, 2011
Arthur Lavern (Bill) Silvester was born March 31, 1923 on the Kilpatrick Brothers North Ranch about five miles north of Imperial, Neb.
He was the fifth of 12 children born to Frank Ernest Silvester and Hattie Gertrude Bevans.
They moved south of Champion when he was young. He spent most of his life in the Champion community. As a youth, Bill enjoyed playing softball. He played short stop and was a great base stealer.
He also started breaking horses at a very young age.
He quit school when he was in ninth grade and went to work to help support his family. He had a team of mules, and he shucked corn. During this time, he sprained his wrists, but kept up with the rest of the crew. He worked in Chase County, Neb. and went south on the harvest crew one year.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, he went to Sterling, Colo. on Jan. 21, 1942 to enlist in the Navy. He reported for active duty Feb. 6, 1942 and took his basic training by the Great Lakes for six weeks. They taught him how to handle a gun and march in formation.
In March of 1942, Arthur went to Norfolk, Va. and boarded the USS Heywood APA 6. He left Norfolk on April 10, 1942 and went through the Panama Canal. The Heywood had about 600 crew and carried about 3000 troops. Arthur’s responsibility was the loading and unloading to cargo and troops.
He was part of the 2nd Division, which was responsible for the rear half of the ship. They landed Marines on most other islands that were retaken in the Pacific including Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gilbert Island, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Marianas, Tinian and Philippine Islands. The Heywood also made four trips to the Aleutian Islands, bringing many patients back to San Francisco.
With the surrender of Japan, the Heywood served as the Flag Ship and carried the commander into Tokyo Bay on Sept. 8, 1945. After the surrender was signed, the Heywood made several trips back to Japan carrying supplies, troops, prisoners and wounded.
During the three years and 10 months that Arthur was in the service, he was able to come home one time on a 10-day leave. He said with three to four days travel time each way, he was only home for a couple of days. He also came back to the states for special six week training on machine guns. Other than these two times and brief leaves in whatever port they happened to be in, Arthur spent almost four years aboard the USS Heywood.
His rank when he was discharged on Nov. 20, 1945 was Boatswains Mate 1st Class. In 2010, 65 years after his discharge, he received these medals for his service: Victory Medal, Good Conduct, Asiatic Pac 8 Stars, American Area Amphibious Force Insignia, Philippine Liberation 2 stars, and Philippine Presidential Citation. Bill was very close to his navy buddies, keeping in contact with many of them throughout his life.
Bill returned to Chase County after his service and worked on area ranches. He also spent a couple of years at Cope, Colo.
On Jan. 1, 1950 he married Oneta Jean Kimberling at the Crete EUB Church. They lived south of Champion for a few years and then moved to the Kimberling farm. To this union four children were born: a son, Kent, in 1950; a son, Kim, in 1951; a daughter, Kaylene, in 1954; and a daughter, Kelli, in 1962.
When Bill’s father passed away in 1953, he made room in his home for two of his sisters. At the time of his passing, Bill was still living on the family farm. Throughout his life he always made time for his extended family.
Bill was active in the Crete EUB Church and later in the Imperial EUB Church and the United Methodist Church. He spent many hours working on the Fall Festivals and maintaining the Crete Church building, in addition to being the sexton at the Pleasant View Cemetery. He also spent many years as a 4-H leader and Scout Leader.
He helped his sons receive their Order of the Arrow, God & Country and Eagle awards; additionally, he helped his daughter, Kaylene, receive her First Class Award and assisted his daughter, Kelli, towards the achievement of her First Class Award.
Bill served on the extension board, museum board and school board. He also performed in numerous Pom Pom shows that helped support the Chase County High School music program.
Furthermore, he was a life member of the VFW.
Bill enjoyed collecting and repairing clocks and raising mules. His mule Krause made the news when she gave birth. Krause, Bluemoon and White Lightening were the first scientifically verified mule and offspring. He restored and built surreys and covered wagons and enjoyed taking his grandchildren on the annual drives; one went from Imperial to Cheyenne, Wyo.
Bill and Oneta also enjoyed taking the covered wagon to the schools to make biscuits and gravy for the children. Picnics at the Silvester farm were also enjoyed by the residents of the Imperial Manor for many years.
Bill enjoyed attending his navy ships annual reunions and was able to attend one in September of 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1981 he received the Soil & Water Conservation Award and also the Aksarben Good Neighbor Award.
In 2000 Bill received his high school diploma from Chase County High School through a program to recognize military veterans.
Bill and Oneta also received the Nebraska Pioneer Farm Award for 100 years of service to agriculture. Additionally, he was a life member of the American Donkey and Mule Society.
Bill loved children and took great pleasure in being able to quiet almost any crying child. He enjoyed being with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a quiet, gentle, unpretentious man, but he was the strength and driving force of the family; he always made sure that his family had whatever they wanted or needed. His home and heart were always open to all his family and friends.
Bill had an amazing memory of the people and history of Chase County.
Bill passed away Jan. 31, 2011 at Chase County Community Hospital. He was two months short of 88 years of age.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Oneta Jean Kimberling Silvester; daughter, Kelli Lu Silvester; parents, Frank Ernest Silvester and Hattie Gertrude Bevans Silvester; in-laws, Charles Leon Kimberling and Cora Leoma Glasgow Kimberling; brothers, Lee Frank and wife, Clara, Glen Leroy and wife, Lillian, Frank Silvester, Jim Brison Silvester and Jack Silvester; sisters, Helen Pitts, Dee Fries and husband, Walter; and brother-in-law, Jim McDougall.
He is survived by son, Kent, and wife, Sandy, of Imperial, Neb.; son, Kim, and wife, Lois, of Champion, Neb.; daughter, Kaylene Silvester of Watkins, Colo.; grandchildren, Steve and wife, Kristi, of Kansas City, Mo., Sherri Buffington and husband, Mike, of North Platte, Neb.; Andy Richert and wife, Jen, of Gillette, Wyo.; Kristen Phillips and husband, Shawn, of Omaha, Neb.; Katie Adam and husband, Ben, of Kearney, Neb.; Charles and wife, Keri, of Denver, Colo.; John Silvester of Hastings, Neb.; Mary Silvester of Kearney, Neb.; great grandchildren, Landri and Cooper Silvester of Kansas City, Mo.; Alexa and Jaxon Richert of Gillette, Wyo.; Hayden and Hannah Adam of Kearney, Neb.; Arthur Silvester of Denver, Colo.; brother, Mark and wife, Lois, from Schyler, Neb.; sisters, Bertha McDougall of Denver, Colo., Bea Bauerle and husband, Don, of Champion, Neb.; Emma (Tiny) Enoch and husband, John, of Miltonville, Kan.; brothers-in-law, John Pitts, Cleon Kimberling and wife, Betty, of Fort Collins, Colo.; sisters-in-law, Helen Silvester of Indianola, Neb., Leona Silvester of Fairbury, Neb.; Garneta Bauerle and husband, Irvin, of Champion, Neb.; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services were held at the First United Methodist church in Imperial at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2011 with Pastor Fred Andersen officiating.
Prelude and postlude music was provided by Don Newman. Soloist was Kim Silvester.
Pallbearers were Steve Silvester, Mike Buffington, Andy Richert, Shawn Phillips, Ben Adam, Charlie Silvester and John Silvester.
Honorary pallbearers were Kristi Silvester, Sherri Silvester, Jen Richert, Kristen Phillips, Katie Adam, Keri Silvester and Mary Silvester.
Special honorary pallbearers were great grandchildren, Landri and Cooper Silvester, Alexa and Jaxon Richert, Hayden and Hannah Adam and Arthur Silvester.
Interment and military rites by VFW Post #4688, Imperial, Neb., were at the Pleasant View Cemetery in the Crete Community.
Liewer Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.