Three Nebraska families are grieving the loss of loved ones who were killed in a multivehicle crash on Interstate 80 last week.

Ryan Vanicek and Daniel Seelhoff were heading home after working at a site near North Platte. Scott Gaylord was on his way home from work as a pharmaceutical rep.

The men had slowed down as they entered a construction zone east of Kearney, but a semitrailer truck’s driver failed to slow and struck them from the rear, officials said. Seven vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction crash, which occurred in the eastbound lanes of I-80.

Ryan Vanicek, 37

Ryan Vanicek’s widow, Jessica, said her husband loved being home in Schuyler with his family and taking care of things around the house.

“He would work hard all week and come home and spend time with family. That’s pretty much what he liked to do,” she said. “He loved taking care of stuff around the house, spending time outside, watching the kids play. He was a loving, caring man. ... He would do anything for anybody.”

Vanicek, 37, is survived by four children, ages 17 to 5, Tamara Witzel and Nolen, Rylen and Rylee Vanicek; his parents, Karen Vanicek and Mel Kucera of Columbus and Tom and Cindy Vanicek of Schuyler; and a brother, Brad Vanicek of Columbus. A funeral Mass for Vanicek is Thursday morning.

Had Vanicek made it home for the weekend, he would have celebrated his 38th birthday Sunday with his family at his mother’s home in Columbus, Jessica Vanicek said.

Daniel Seelhoff, 50

Daniel Seelhoff was always willing to lend a helping hand.

The Lincoln man would be there, at the ready, whether someone needed a fishing buddy or wanted an extra set of hands on a home improvement project.

“He was always there,” said his brother Dave Seelhoff. “Anything you needed, he’d be right there.”

In his free time, Seelhoff, 50, enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping and riding his motorcycle. He took pride in keeping a well-manicured yard.

Seelhoff worked with Vanicek at Lyman-Richey Central Sand and Gravel Co. He frequently traveled to crush rock for concrete or asphalt.

When he came home on weekends, he often had fresh stories to share with his family and friends.

In addition to his brother Dave, his survivors include his parents, Colyne Seelhoff and Arlan and Linda Seelhoff; son DJ Seelhoff; and granddaughters Sophia and Chloe. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Ashley Ann Seelhoff.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the VFW, 3340 W. A. St. in Lincoln.

Scott Gaylord, 54

Scott Gaylord was a devoted family man.

Gaylord, 54, was always around when his children needed anything. When they were growing up, he made a point to be at all of their sporting events and activities, said his wife, Holly Gaylord.

“He was a good dad,” she said. “He was such a good role model.”

Gaylord and his wife did everything together, she said. The couple — high school sweethearts and recent empty-nesters — shared workouts, church activities and date nights together. Gaylord had a strong faith and enjoyed his involvement at New Covenant Community Church. He played the drums on Sundays.

Gaylord, who lived in Lincoln, was a gentleman at work and around his family. His two grandchildren, Sophie and Ryker, would flock to him.

“He was a light to everybody he met,” his wife said.

In addition to his wife and grandchildren, Gaylord’s survivors include children Chloe Langworthy, Caleb Gaylord and Christian Gaylord; parents Arlyne and Larry Gaylord; and sister Denise Anderson.

Christian, a Husker football player, posted a tribute to his father on social media, saying, “My father is the best man I’ve ever met, I was blessed to call him Dad. You’re finally home and I can’t wait to see you again.”

A visitation is Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and a celebration of life is Saturday at 10 a.m. at New Covenant Community Church in Lincoln. Another celebration of life will be held in Gaylord’s hometown of Tabor, Iowa.

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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