LaVern Stuhr (Churney) of Utica, was born on November 22, 1946 to John and Edna (Wiese) Stuhr. As a life-long member, he was baptized, attended school, and was confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Utica. He graduated from Utica High School in 1965.
Churney began working at the Utica Co Op Elevator full-time in 1966 and continued for 42 years until retiring in 2008. He also enjoyed working on the family farm and raising cattle with his brother Myron. During retirement, Churney continued to stay active with the family farm, working part-time at the Co-Op, helping with seed corn harvest, and working for Volzke Funeral Home.
Churney joined the Air National Guard in 1965 and served until 1971. During that time, he was united in marriage to Linda Simonsen of Utica on April 20, 1968. To this union, two children were born: Angie and Mitchell.
Churney was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He loved to attend his children’s and grandchildren’s activities. He was blessed with many great friendships, and enjoyed attending countless community events over the years. He and Linda enjoyed golfing, taking trips with friends, and showcasing his 1957 Chevy Bel Air and 1928 Chevy truck.
Churney was a steadfast supporter of his community, serving in many organizations and in many ways. He was a servant member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, holding several positions, including Elder, Trustee, Financial Secretary, and assisting with the Orphan Grain Train (though he hated the smell of boiling fish). He was a member of the Utica Volunteer Fire Department for over 50 years. He was a member of Utica’s Post 49 American Legion, serving as Commander in 1986. He greatly enjoyed marching in the Color Guard for parades and Memorial Day Services. Churney was a natural fundraiser and motivator, lending his talents to many great causes over the years, including: The Utica Area Aging Commission, the Utica Foundation, the Centennial Scholarship Committee, Village Zoning Commission, Utica Betterment Committee, the Utica Senior Center, and the Utica Cemetery, serving as Chairman for many years. He could be found out there mowing, trimming, spraying trees, caring for graves, getting rid of the ground squirrels, and making the cemetery a show-place for the community.
In recent years, Churney enjoyed spending time with special friend Joyce Schriner. Sharing a strong faith and a mutual devotion to family, friends, and community, they have continued to serve Utica and Seward County tirelessly. In recent months, Joyce was not only his best friend, but also his primary care-giver. Joyce was his ever-present, and frequently patient, chef, chauffer, and cheerleader. For that, his family will be forever grateful.
Churney was preceded in death by his parents, wife Linda, brother Myron, and step-mother Marjorie Watson. He is survived by his daughter, Angie (Larry) Miller, Lincoln; son, Mitchell (Wendy) Stuhr, Utica; grandchildren: Alex, Jacob (Saige), and Nathan Miller; Preston, Jaycee and Averie Stuhr; special friend Joyce Schriner; sister-in-law, Ardy Stuhr, Seward; step-brother Doug (Diane) Cotner, Prescott, Arizona; and brother-in-law Chris (Mary) Simonsen, Seward; and many, many friends and relatives.
CASKET BEARERS - Alex Miller, Jacob Miller, Preston Stuhr, Jaycee Stuhr, Nathan Miller, Averie Stuhr
HONORARY CASKET BEARERS - Special Friends and Relatives
FULL MILITARY HONORS - UTICA AMERICAN LEGION POST #49
MEMORIALS IN CARE OF ST. PAUL LUTHERAN CHURCH, UTICA CEMETERY, UTICA SENIOR CENTER, UTICA LEGION POST #49, UTICA FOUNDATION IN LIEU OF FLOWERS.