Mass of Christian Burial for Philip L. Schreier, age 89, of Verdigre, Nebraska will be 10:30 a.m. May 16, 2017, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Verdigre. Reverend Kizito Okhuoya will be Celebrant, with burial in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. May 15, 2017, at the church, with a 7:00 p.m. Wake Service.
Brockhaus Funeral Home in Verdigre is in charge of arrangements.
Philip died Monday, May 1, 2017, at Alpine Village in Verdigre.
Philip Leonard Schreier was born in Verdigre, NE, on December 19th, 1927, to C.C. and Laura T. Schreier. Arrangements had been made to go to the Lynch hospital, but bad weather interfered, so the blessed event took place on the kitchen table at home—a house by the Verdigre Creek which has long since burned down.
At the age of 5, Phil enrolled in kindergarten and continued his education in the Verdigre Public School system through grade school and high school, graduating in 1945, as valedictorian of his class. During the school years, summers and Saturdays were spend working for the old Union Telephone Co. (now Great Plains) or driving cattle trucks for local truck owners.
Upon graduation, Phil registered for military service and was sent to Fort Leavenworth for his physical, which he passed. He was drafted immediately and sent on to Camp Lee, Virginia, for basic training. Upon completion of basic, he was posted to Fort Monmouth, NJ, in the telephone communications section. His entire military service was spent there, until discharge in April, 1947.
In the fall of 1947, Phil enrolled in the Business Administration College at the University of Nebraska. During the first semester of 1948, he met his future bride, Lona Rae Leonard from Ainsworth, who was a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority. She had just graduated as a Spanish-speaking secretary. Phil quit the University of Nebraska to move to Colorado, and enter the University of Denver to study the building industry, a course which was offered there. Lona also felt that Denver offered more chances for a job in her field, so Phil and Lona each found residence in Denver.
Lona soon had a job with an insurance company. Phil took a part-time job with the J.W. Metz Lumber Co. out of Wichita, KS, which had two lumber yards in the Denver area, one in Arvada and one in Lakewood. This was necessary as $90 from the GI Bill didn’t go very far. In August, 1949, the two made a trip back to Verdigre, this time to get married by Father O’Borny at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. After a short honeymoon in the Black Hills, it was back to Denver, Lona to her job and Phil to DU to continue his education.
Their first son Philip was born in 1950, and shortly thereafter they left Denver for good. This time the move was to the small town of Stratton in southwest Nebraska, where Phil had taken a job as manager of a lumber yard and grain elevator. During the following eight years, their family grew by four, Steve, Teresa, Mark, and Chris. In 1958, Phil resigned his job to move back home to Verdigre to go into partnership with his Dad in Schreier’s Lumber Co.
Lona and the kids lived with her parents in Ainsworth, NE, while Phil built the family a house in Verdigre. Upon completion of the new home, the family was reunited in Verdigre. Their family was completed with the births of Cliff and Cathy in 1960 and 1963.
Phil and his dad enjoyed a partnership in the lumber business while Phil’s kids grew to maturity and Lona taught school. Phil’s dad died in 1990, and a few years later Phil bought out his two brothers Bub’s and Bill’s interest in the lumber yard to become sole owner of Schreier’s Lumber Co. The family tradition continued when Steve joined the lumber yard in the 1970’s, and later in 2001, when Chris moved his family to Verdigre to join the business. Shortly thereafter, Phil transferred most of the ownership of the lumber business to his sons.
In their years in Verdigre, Phil and Lona enjoyed outdoor activities including hunting and fishing with their kids and extended family. In 1980, they built a cabin on the Niobrara River, where they spent many happy days year-round.
After more than 64 years of happy marriage, Lona died December 5th, 2013. Phil was a familiar face at Alpine Village nursing home during Lona’s stay for her last year, and he continued that routine after her death. He spent many hours visiting other residents, and met Mary Viox Davis there. Phil and Mary enjoyed a close companionship in their later years.
Phil began having health issues in November, 2016, and moved to Alpine Village, where he received excellent care among many friends and acquaintances in residents and staff alike. He died there on May 1, 2017, attended by several of his children.
Phil is survived by all seven of his children, Philip, Steve, Teresa, Mark, Chris, Cliff, and Cathy; as well as their spouses, of whom he was especially close to Chris’s wife Cindy, through their work together at the lumberyard. He also leaves behind thirteen grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Phil was preceded in death by his wife, Lona; his parents, Clifford C. and Laura; his brothers, Clifford L. (Bub) and Bill; and his granddaughter Nichole.
From his years as a well-known resident and businessman in Verdigre, Phil will be missed by many in addition to his family.