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Ken Wortman

Ken Wortman, age 85, of Aurora died Friday, August 20, 2004, in Lincoln.

Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 A.M., Wednesday, August 25th at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Aurora. Fr. Craig Doty will officiate. Interment will be in the Aurora Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 P.M. Tuesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, with the Rosary at 8:00 P.M. Memorials may be made to Memorial Hospital Foundation, Bremer Community Center Foundation, or Central Community College Foundation. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at higbymortuary.com.


Kenneth L. Wortman, the son of John H. and Anna M. (Uhing) Wortman, was born in Neligh, Nebraska on December 28, 1918 and died in Lincoln, Nebraska on August 20, 2004, at the age of 85 years.

Ken grew up and went to school in Neligh, Nebraska. He assisted his parents in farming. In 1940, Ken moved to Wichita, Kansas and was employed with Boeing Aircraft for three years. Ken became a cadet in the Air Force in 1944. He was discharged from the service in 1945. Ken joined his brother, Leo, in the auto and farm repair business in Wisner, Nebraska. In April 1948, he purchased the Ford agency in Aurora, Nebraska. Since 1977, he had his daughter Jayne work along side him as part owner.

On August 9, 1948, he was united in marriage to Marilyn McCord in Wisner, Nebraska. Ken entered the oil business in 1954 and the motel business in 1959, operating motels in Grand Island, Hastings, Fairbury, Lexington and Cozad, as well as Aurora. In real estate, Ken was key in developing over 100 living units that were built as well as many commercial businesses erected in Aurora.

Ken was appointed the executor to the Bertha Bremer Estate. She wanted a portion of her estate to start up a community center for Aurora. After several years of planning it became evident that the Bremer Funds were inadequate to provide such a center. The Wortman family matched the Bremer Funds and donated the site for the Bremer Community Center. After construction was complete, Ken continued to serve on the Bremer Community Board.

Ken chaired the organization to create a Community College System in 1966 and continued to serve on the board of governors of Central Community College. He was a charter member of the Memorial Hospital Board in Aurora and served as President of the Board of Trustees for 33 years. Ken was a charter member of the Aurora Development Corporation for 40 years. He was past president of Aurora Rotary Club, where he had 55 years perfect attendance. Ken was past president of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. He served on the advisory board (building committee) for St. Mary's Catholic Church. Ken served several years on the Advisory Board for Education for the State of Nebraska. For twenty years, Ken served on the Advisory Board to the President of the University of Nebraska. Ken served 10 years on the Nebraska Independent Financial Authority. He served on the Qualification Commission for 6 years. Ken was a charter member of the Nebraskaland Foundation and twice served as president. He was also a charter member of the Aurora Diplomats and twice served as president. Ken was a long time member of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and served on its Board and Executive Committees. He was a longtime member and past president of the Nebraska Diplomats. Ken was a member of the Lester S. Harter Post #42 Aurora American Legion. Ken was a Third Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus, where he served for 62 years. Ken was a member of the Republican Party, he attended three National Conventions. Ken served for eight years on the American Hospital Association of Trustees.

Ken was preceded in death by his brothers, Leo, John, Edward and Henry Wortman and twin daughters, Sue and Sal.

Ken is survived by his wife Marilyn of Aurora; daughter, Jayne Mann of Aurora; son, Brian Wortman of Grand Island; sisters, Adeline Thompson of Aurora, Edith Schuckman of Lexington and Marcella Weis of Omaha; brothers, Leonard Wortman of Creighton, Nebraska and Richard Wortman of Aurora; sister-in-law, Margaret Wortman of Lexington; three grandchildren, Bradley, Blaine, and Megan Mann, and several nieces and nephews.

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