Alvin Lloyd Geiken, age 99, of Gothenburg, NE peacefully passed away surrounded by family on Sunday, May 23, 2021 in Gothenburg. He was born April 8, 1922 to John and Louise Lena Frank Geiken in a farm house located just south of where the Alvin Geiken Farm is presently located.
He is survived by his wife, Wanda; daughters Janice Hinze and Judy Hyneman and her husband James; three grandchildren, Tim Hinze and his wife, Alicia; Jason Hinze and his wife Michelle; and Trenton Hinze and his wife Whitney; and four great-grandchildren: Madyx, Porter, Samuel, and Eve.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his two older siblings. Alvin had an older brother whom tragically passed away after his birth from unknown causes. His older sister was Lorene (Fenner), whom also lived the majority of her life in Gothenburg.
Alvin’s formative years as a youth were greatly influenced by living through the challenges that the Great Depression dispensed upon many but especially farm families in Gothenburg. He was educated in a large, single classroom at the local country school. He favored math and spelling but he also had an affinity for local geography and maps. When he was 13, he ran a four-head team of mules while tending corn. That was only part of it. He also worked beside his father as part of his threshing gang threshing wheat, oats, barley, and alfalfa. It was hard, back-breaking work absent of todays’ amenities like ice, cold water, sun block, and modern machinery.
His well-known work ethic was honed through the many obstacles that he and his family faced during that era. His humility, however, could be traced to his acceptance that obstacles were merely stepping stones to becoming a more productive person with the trust that God would see him through.
Then the country during its slow emergence from the Great Depression went topsy-turvy once more on December 7, 1941.
Life and survival on the farm changed instantly to life or death for the United States. Uncle Sam reached out to Alvin via the draft when he turned 20 years old. He served his time in the Army and a year away from home before he was able to return to Gothenburg and resume helping his father run the farm and ranch land. Alvin meanwhile volunteered his time at the North Platte Canteen – a place where soldiers still on active duty could enjoy coffee, music, homecooked food, magazines, and a friendly conversation during a stopover that sometimes lasted only a few minutes. He enjoyed going to Luther League, neighborhood dances, and roller skating with friends in nearby communities when time permitted.
Alvin’s life was forever enhanced during a train ride that made a short stop in Oklahoma. While gazing out of a train window at Tiger Mountain he was beset with an odd feeling that he would soon meet a person who would play a critical role in his life. Several years later he met a young lady at a charivari. Her name was Wanda. As only fate could have it Alvin discovered that she was from Oklahoma and had lived at the base of Tiger Mountain. He dated Wanda for seven months before they married in 1954. Four years later his first daughter, Janice, was born. His second daughter, Judy, was born 19 months later.
Alvin and Wanda joined the United Methodist Church in 1959. He enjoyed being an usher and a greeter. He also served on several local committees including the board of the Grandview cemetery since the mid-60s.
Parenthood became a priority in the Geiken household. Alvin and Wanda never avoided a hard day of work but they also never failed to support their daughters’ endeavors whether it was band, sports, and/or other activities. Once a week they drove the family to North Platte so that they could attend dance classes. Alvin even helped convert the chicken house into a dance studio. The chicken house was cleaned and was raised off the ground three cement blocks high. This was high enough to raise a baton in and not hit the ceiling. The inside was paneled, a cement floor was laid with tile, and mirrors were hung across one end. All this and still never missed a beat of farm and ranch business.
The Geiken’s focused on operating a profitable family farm that included crops and farm animals. The farm specialized in corn, wheat, and alfalfa but they also tended to chickens and gathered eggs to sell to the cafes in town. A point of pride for Alvin and Wanda was raising a herd of Herford cows. They would raise several calves each year and sell them in late fall or early winter. Many years they would top the market at the local sale barn.
Alvin evolved into a master farmer. Those who knew him and/or worked with him soon came to realize he had extensive, pragmatic knowledge in all areas of farming that even today’s most educated new farmers would marvel. The achievement was he learned farming the proverbial old fashion way – he did it for real. He faced true life consequences and his family’s livelihood depended on his success. He never let them down. Rather, he became more proficient as his experience grew and therefore able to provide a legacy for his family that will continue to prosper well beyond his passing.
In 2005 Alvin and Wanda made a decision to purchase a second home literally across the street from the church. They fixed it to their tastes and lived in it for over a decade prior to joining the engaging community offered by all the fine residents and staff at Stone Hearth in 2019.
We grieve for the loss of our family’s patriarch and we’ll miss those quiet and personal moments shared with Alvin. We pray his memory will be eternal as this simple, honest man from Gothenburg, Nebraska somehow found a way to build an unconquerable empire – his family. We love you, always have, and always will.
Memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, 1401 Lake Avenue, Gothenburg, NE. 69138.