Chambers — Harold Eugene Dexter, 84, of Chambers died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 at Arbor Care Center in O'Neill.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill with a 7 p.m. prayer service.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 at the Chambers Community Center. Pastor Linda Lambert will officiate.
Burial will be in the Chambers Cemetery in Chambers with military rites provided by the U.S. Marine Honor Guard and the Chambers American Legion Post 320.
Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.
Harold was born near Amelia on Oct. 4, 1936 to Arthur and Olive (Rothchild) Dexter. As a child, his family moved to O’Neill and he attended O’Neill Public Schools.
As a child and into his teens, Harold was involved in 4-H showing his own calves from Grandpa and Grandma Dexter’s Rainbow Ranch, west of Chambers. In high school, Harold continued pursuing his love of working with livestock and was very active in the FFA. He excelled in football, basketball, baseball and especially track and field, where he held the O’Neill High School record in high jump for 20 years. He graduated from O’Neill High School in 1954.
As a young adult, Harold enjoyed stock car racing and rodeo, participating in many events such as bronc riding, but particularly bull riding.
After a summer of working on Fox’s hay crew, Harold’s mother signed him into the U.S. Marine Corps on Sept. 1, 1954. He completed basic training and was deployed to Japan.
Harold married his high school sweetheart Kathryn Hoffman at the Bethany Presbyterian Church on Oct. 16, 1956.
Following marriage, Harold continued his military career, serving as an enlisted man in the infantry for seven years, including a combat deployment in Lebanon in 1958. He was accepted to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA in January 1962 and was commissioned Warrant Officer 1 upon completion of the school in May 1962. Promotions and commissions continued until he reached the rank of Captain. Harold was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 and served until 1969. In Vietnam, Harold earned the Bronze Star with Combat Valor Attachment.
Harold and Kathryn and their growing family moved several times, from coast to coast and even to Hawaii, as the Marine Corps required. Daughter Julie was born in Nebraska. Carmen followed in North Carolina and son Doug joined the family in California. Other moves included New Hampshire and Norfolk, VA.
Wherever the family went, Harold and Kathryn made a home for the family, but Nebraska was always home in their hearts. Harold retired at the Rank of Major on Aug. 31, 1974 after 20 years of service to our country.
Once retired, Harold went to Northeast Community College in Norfolk to learn to be a brick mason. He did well enough that after he graduated, the instructor asked if he would want to return the next year to be an assistant instructor. So, for several years, he helped many young men get their start in masonry.
Harold developed a love of horses as a child, and as an adult, he started breeding and raising Thoroughbred race horses and raced them around the Nebraska and Iowa circuits. Harold also enjoyed fishing and hunting. He took an annual elk hunting trip with his brother and friends for many years. He went to many Chambers High School games and frequently attended the state track meet. Harold loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Harold is survived by his wife of 64 years Kathryn Dexter of Chambers; three children Julie Dexter of Lincoln, Carmen Janecek of Bedford, Texas and Douglas (Brenda Spilker) Dexter of Davey; six grandchildren Josh (Jacqui) Donner, Adam (Casey) Donner, Tyler-Anne (Hunter Bushong) Ogg, Lindsey (Mike) Smith, Lydia Dexter and Ellen Dexter; one brother Darrel Dexter of Chambers; one half-brother Roger Dexter of Arizona; one half-sister LuAnn (Dexter) Bickford of Arizona; one sister-in-law Dorothy Dexter of Chambers; one brother-in-law Wayne (Jan) Hoffman; one sister-in-law Carole Harley; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Lawrence Dexter and Jerry Dexter, one great-granddaughter Margot Grace Bushong, one sister-in-law Sharon Dexter; and one brother-in-law Norman Harley.