P. Stephen Potter, 74, embarked on a new
adventure Oct. 24, 2019, the date he passed away in Gothenburg, NE.
Potter was an adventurer, not only literally, but also in the courtroom where he practiced law for 47 years. The law was his life, and he represented many interesting clients as both a defense attorney and prosecutor.
He was also known to many across the state as “The Hot Dog Man,” tossing hot dogs to hungry fans on Husker game days for 36 years. His stadium antics, and costume, attracted the attention of CBS news correspondent Charles Kuralt, who interviewed Potter in 1989. A follow-up interview about Potter was broadcast years later on CBS’s “On the Road” with Steve Hartman.
Potter was born Nov. 14, 1944, in Gothenburg, to Jane and Paul Potter. He excelled in sports at Gothenburg High School, especially track, and graduated with the Class of 1963. Potter attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from which he received a pharmacy degree in 1969, and worked for Gilmore-Danielson in Lincoln.
While working as a drug counselor in Omaha, he attended law school at Creighton University, and graduated in 1972.
His first job in the legal field was as chief deputy prosecutor in Grand Island. Eight years later, Potter returned to Gothenburg where he started a private practice and was Dawson County Public Defender for five years. Potter was a prosecutor and defense attorney in several high-profile cases, including representation of mass murderer Erwin Charles Simants, and was also involved in the filing of a federal lawsuit which stopped Keystone XL from constructing a pipeline through the ecologically fragile Nebraska Sandhills.
During his life, Potter enjoyed water sports and entertaining friends at a family cabin at Jeffrey Lake, mountain biking in Potter Pasture, and skiing in Colorado.
For several years, he and a group of friends took motorcycle trips to Telluride, CO, where they experienced many adventures along the way. Potter also traveled throughout Mexico and Central America, especially Costa Rica, where he owned property.
He was a counselor, mentor, and role model to many people through his law practice and in his personal life. His quirky sense of humor will be missed.
At the time of his death, Potter maintained offices in Gothenburg and North Platte.
Potter is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Potter of Fraser, CO; and her mother, Elizabeth Barrett of Gothenburg; niece Hollie Wieland (Lance Sears) of Colorado Springs, CO; brothers-in law Steve Sarnes of Lexington, NE, and William Barrett of Cupertino, CA; mother-in-law Elsie Barrett of Lexington; several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends and colleagues.
Potter was preceded in death by his parents, and a sister, Jane Christian Potter.
A celebration of life will be Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at the Senior Center in Gothenburg, NE, at 11:30 a.m. Memorials are suggested to the Gothenburg High School Cindermates or the North Platte Trails Network-Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation.