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04/17/2019 - Gerald 'Jerry' Traphagan

A Celebration of Life for Gerald “Jerry” Traphagan, age 69, of Chadron, NE will be at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron, NE with Dr. Russ Seger and Father Todd Philipsen officiating.

Inurnment will take place at Calvary Cemetery in Chadron, NE.

A memorial has been established for Chadron Hospice, the Chadron Fire Department, and a scholarship for a Chadron High School graduate. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.

Online condolences can be made at www.chamberlainchapel.com.

Jerry passed away on April 11, 2019 at the Chadron Community Hospital in Chadron, NE. He was born on March 25, 1950 to Gerald Elwood and Irene (Pickrel) Traphagan at St. Catherine's Hospital in McCook, NE.

Jerry attended McCook Public Schools, graduating in 1968. During his childhood, he participated in various sports and became a lifelong St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, University of Nebraska, hunting and fishing fan. In high school, he was a drummer in the marching band and played American Legion baseball. He worked during the summers for the Burlington Northern Railroad.

Jerry earned an A.A. degree from McCook Community College and then transferred to Northern Colorado State University, where he earned a B.A. degree in education in 1972. He then accepted a math teaching contract with Chadron Public Schools and later earned a M.A. degree in math and a Specialist in Education.

During his 36 years in education, Jerry coached football, started the girls' basketball program, and served on many school committees. He considered all of his Chadron students “his kids” and kept in touch with many of them over the years.

In high school, Jerry met Kathy Kotschwar, and they married in 1972 in Culbertson, NE. Two children were born to this union, Ryan Matthew and Lindsay Danielle. The Traphagans lost Kathy in 1992 in a tragic car accident.

In 2001, Jerry and Mary Gould were married and lived in his version of “paradise” on Hidden Valley Road, overlooking the Nebraska landscape and sunsets. Jerry and Mary enjoyed 24 years of family, love, and laughter. Their home was always his favorite place, and he loved welcoming family and friends to many celebrations and gatherings.

In 2006, Jerry was diagnosed with a very rare islet cell pancreatic cancer. He began treatment at the Mayo Clinic and felt fortunate to be given nearly 13 more years of life after his diagnosis. During this time, he and Mary checked things off their bucket list. Jerry fished in Alaska every summer.

Jerry was preceded in death by mother Irene Traphagan and first wife Kathy.

He is survived by wife Mary of Chadron, NE; father G. Elwood Traphagan of McCook, NE; son Ryan of Las Vegas, NV; daughter Lindsay, husband Glen, and grandchildren Liam and Iris of Melbourne, Australia; sister Susan Yates of Yakima, WA; aunt Faye Korell of McCook, NE; brothers-in-law Dean, Pat (Nan), and Gary (Laurie) Gould; sister-in-law Katy (Rene) Tomisser; 5 nieces; 3 nephews; and many cousins.

Jerry’s family would like to thank the many kind people of Chadron and many friends for their companionship over Jerry’s life and particularly for the loving support for the past 13 years. This helped to make his life more fulfilled than he ever expected. We are deeply grateful to all of you.

Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements for Gerald “Jerry” Traphagan.

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