Donald David Siffring, 81, of Juniata, Nebraska, passed away in the early morning of Saturday, May 25, 2019, at Tiffany Square in Grand Island.
Funeral services are 2 p.m. Friday, May 31, at North Shore Assembly of God Church in Hastings with Pastor Mel Johnson officiating. Private family burial will be in Bladen. Condolences may be sent to the family from www.apfelfuneralhome.com. Apfel Funeral Home of Hastings is in care of the family.
Don was born on November 13, 1937, in Ogallala, Nebraska, to David and Elsie Siffring. He grew up a farm boy, was active in FFA and, as a junior at Ogallala High School, set a goal to become a Horticulturist. Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in agronomy, Don embarked upon a 30-year career in Extension Education.
During his senior year of college, Don was selected to be one of two International Farm Youth Exchange students and went to Germany for 8 months under the program. Upon his return home and the completion of his final semester of college, Don became a County Agent in Morrill County/Bridgeport, Nebraska, where he served 10 years. During this time, Don completed a Masters in Education at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Don then took a position at the UNL Panhandle Station in Scottsbluff and helped initiate the Panhandle Resources Council, unifying the 11 Panhandle Counties Units of Government in seeking federal funding for projects small counties could not qualify for alone. Don was soon asked to move to North Platte to initiate the District 4-H Specialist Position at the UNL North Platte Station, unifying 4-H efforts in 22 central Nebraska counties. During this time, he also managed the Nebraska State 4-H Camp in Halsey.
After 10 years in North Platte, Don was asked to initiate the State 4-H Volunteer Leader Development position at the UNL East Campus in Lincoln, which led to the initiation of the North Central States Leaders Forums.
After retiring from UNL, Don worked 10 years as Health Educator with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. After retiring to Hastings, Don connected again with his high school dream of Horticulture acting as a Master Gardener in 2004, eventually leading the program and growing the membership numbers steadily each year. He also began a part-time position as a Horticulture Aide for Adams County Extension in 2006.
Kiwanis was a major part of Don’s life for over 25 years. He was a past president of the Downtown Lincoln Kiwanis; past Lt. Governor; District YC:PO leader and strong committee agitator. Don helped initiate the Arboretum at the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center in Gretna in cooperation with the State 4-H camping partners and Kiwanis. Don believed strongly that each Kiwanis member could well spend 2 hours every week in Kiwanis effort; 1 hour for the weekly meeting and 1 hour involved in community service. “The rewards will enhance your life vocation, expand your knowledge of your community and build a network of same-minded volunteers.”
Don continued to be involved in many community organizations until he was no longer able. His last two years were spent fighting ALS, an insidious motor-neuron disease currently without a cure.
Don is survived by his wife, Bev of Hastings; daughter and son-in-law, Christi and Brian Berns of Bladen; son, Monte Siffring of Lincoln; son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Terri Siffring of Lakewood, Colorado; and son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Jessica Siffring of Windsor, Colorado; grandchildren, Stephanie, Travis, Caleb, Sierra, Jamie and Ian Berns, Grace and Isabel Siffring, and Ellyott and Ryann Siffring; great-grandchildren, Ethan, Eli, Ella and Emma Holl, and James Young; brother and sister-in-law, Alvin and Connie Siffring of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; and twin brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Evelyn Siffring of Ogallala.
Memorials may be made to Hearts and Hands Against Hunger, c/o Hastings Kiwanis; North Shore AG church; or the Highlands Park Arboretum, c/o the Hastings Community Foundation.