John Frederick Effken, 90, passed away Dec. 22, 2017, at his home in Cook.
He was born to Fred H. and Ida (Beckmann) Effken on Sept. 18, 1927 in Lincoln. He was baptized by his grandfather, the Rev. William Beckmann, pastor and founder of Hope Lutheran Church, Burr.
He graduated from Cook High School in 1944, attended St. John's Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas, and graduated from Peru State College at the age of 19.
He taught high school at Unadilla and Cook.
John was inducted into the U.S. Army at the beginning of the Korean War and served in the 1st Guided Missile Group, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.
After his discharge in September 1952 he returned to Cook, assuming the duties of Manager of Cook Grain and Lumber Company, which he, his wife, and his brother Bill later owned, until the business was sold in 1991.
He was a member of NE Grain Dealers and NE Lumberman's Assoc.
John and Evelyn Dieckgrafe were married on Sept. 11, 1955, at Grace Lutheran Church, Cook, and celebrated 62 years of marriage.
They traveled extensively visiting the 50 states and 19 foreign countries.
He served on the Cook Village Board, with one term as mayor, as Cook School Board President and volunteered with the Cook Fire Department.
John was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, where he served as President of the Church Council, treasurer, Sunday School and confirmation teacher, and League sponsor with Evelyn.
He was blessed with a beautiful bass voice and enjoyed singing solos and with choirs.
In 2002, John was recognized for his contribution to Prostate Cancer Prevention Research, where he devoted time for radio and television commercials.
He was honored by the American Legion in March 2013 for 60 years of membership and service.
His special gift of telling jokes, making his family and friends laugh, and warmly welcoming everyone will always be remembered. His kindness was infectious.
John was preceded in death by his parents, brothers William and Theodore.
He is survived by his wife Evelyn; daughter Sarah and husband Carl Purcell of Cook; son David and wife Kellie of Lincoln; Grandchildren, Laura Purcell, M. D., Chapel Hill, N.C.; Michael Purcell, Cook; Danielle Burbach and Husband Tyler; Erica Effken, all of Lincoln; Cassandra (Cassie) of Des Moines, Iowa; great-granddaughter, Evelyn (Evie) Burbach; sister-in-law, Jean Effken; brother-in-law, Eldon Dieckgrafe; special friends, Jan Augustyn and Alicia Gerdes; nieces, nephews and numerous friends.
Visitation will be Thursday, Dec. 28, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the family present from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The funeral services will be Friday, Dec. 29, 10:30 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, Cook, with Rev. James Helgren officiating. Interment in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery, Cook.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Cook Fire Department, Cook Rescue Squad, or Grace Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are by  Fusselman Allen Harvey Funeral Home, Syracuse, NE 402-269-2441 Condolences to