John Clarence Phifer, 73, of North Platte, passed away Feb. 5, 2020, at Bryan Health in Lincoln.
John was born May 8, 1946, to Clarence A. and Beulah Marie (Hopping) Phifer in North Platte. He grew up west of town and went to Platte Valley Grade School then Hershey High School, graduating in 1964. John attended McCook Junior College for two years before joining the U.S. Navy in October 1967.
The Navy schooled and trained John to be an aerographer’s mate (meteorologist). He was scientifically inclined, so for his sea duty he volunteered for Operation Deep Freeze, the Antarctic Support Activity which was attached to the National Science Foundation. John wintered in Antarctica from ’69 to ’70, stationed at McMurdo Base, but flew to all the other bases on “the ice.”
While on leave in the Spring of ’71, John married Kathryn “Kay” Becher in North Platte. They had two children, Travis and Angela, and later divorced.
Following his honorable discharge in August 1971, John returned to North Platte and hired on with the Union Pacific Railroad. He became a switchman, then moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and worked as a brakeman then as conductor until about 2000. John eventually returned to North Platte to be closer to his family and worked part-time at Burger King for many years.
He was a member of the First Christian Church. He enjoyed working on and restoring vintage Thunderbirds and was a longtime member of the Rocky Mountain Thunderbird Club. John also enjoyed working on and riding his Triumph motorcycle, and was an HO gauge model railroader.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Beulah; ex-wife, Kathryn; and all his aunts and uncles.
John is survived by his daughter, Angela Phifer, of Loveland, Colorado; son, Travis (Missy) Phifer, of Thornton, Colorado, and their two children, Makaela and Kyle Phifer; brothers, Tom (Mona) Phifer, and Ken (Patty) Phifer, all of North Platte; three nieces, a nephew and other family.
Memorials are suggested to the North Platte Animal Shelter or Fur the Love of Paws.
Funeral Service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Odean Colonial Chapel, then keeping with John’s wishes, cremation will follow the service. Inurnment with military honors will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Floral Lawns Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Odean Colonial Chapel. Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore is in charge of arrangements.