Gretna says goodbye to Barb Beyer

Barbara Beyer, pictured in 2008, was an active member of the Gretna community through the Gretna Optimist Club. Beyer died Saturday at age 84.

The Gretna community has lost a longtime member who was a constant source of volunteerism and support for a community she loved.

Barb Beyer died early Saturday afternoon at the age of 84, leaving behind a legacy of service in Gretna she shared with her husband Emil, a former state senator.

“You name it, she was always active,” said Russ Zeeb, a Beyer family friend of more than 40 years as the two families attended the same church and school in Papillion prior to the Beyers moving to Gretna.

Zeeb said it did not take long for the two to get plugged into the community, serving wherever they could.

He said Beyer was very active in the Gretna Optimist Club. Beyer was also one of the first women to join the ranks of Nebraska Optimists.

“It used to be Optimists was a male-only club,” Zeeb said.

He said Beyer joined the Optimists when the ruling had changed to allow women. She, however, signed under the name B. Beyer as female members were still not popular.

“Nobody knew her name was Barb,” he said.

Despite a bit of a rocky start with the club, Zeeb said she and Emil have been active members as long as he can remember, volunteering for the annual Gretna Days BBQ, Optimist fish fries, the Gretna Community picnic and she could always be counted on to bring a number of apple pies to the community bake sales.

“She’s always been there, no matter what,” Zeeb said.

Beyer is survived by her husband Emil, as well as her son Randall Beyer; daughters Linda May, Dianne Schnell and Vicki Beyer; grandsons Jason Schnell, Jeromy Schnell, Layton Everitt, Michael Everitt and Timothy Beyer; granddaughters Luta Pleiss, Tami Halstead, Joni Pankoke and Mindy Brown; 12 great-grandchildren; and brothers Harold Larson and Allan Larson.

She was preceded in death by parents Carl and Mabel Larson; daughter Kimberly Jo; and son Roger Galen.

Her funeral service will be today at 10 a.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.