Michael “Mike” Eugene Star, 61, of rural North Platte, passed away on July 12, 2019. He left his earthly home surrounded by his loving family after a four-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.
Mike was born Feb. 10, 1958, to George “Tiny” and Anna (Peterson) Star in North Platte. He lived on the family homestead his entire life. He attended Platte Valley District No. 8 Country School through eighth grade and went on to graduate with the class of 1976 at Hershey High School. Mike had a passion for sports including basketball, football and track. He held a high jump record at Hershey High that was matched but not broken until recent years.
Mike attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma fraternity and lived on East Campus. He graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science. While receiving his degree, he surprised his folks by also getting his pilot’s license.
He returned home after college to resume his love of agriculture and stewardship of the land that his grandad began in 1917. On Feb. 2, 1985, he married the love of his life, Jeanie Schumacher, in North Platte. They raised two sons and a daughter on the family farm and ranch. The family enjoyed annual hiking trips, camping, boating and their favorite — canoeing and floating down the Birdwood Creek. Many Thanksgiving Day celebrations at the Stars’ would include hayrack rides, horseback riding and a little agriculture lesson from Mike.
Mike loved a good project, most of which he would take from design to construction, paying attention to every detail along the way. He had a “do-it-yourself” attitude and would educate himself on what he didn’t know. In what free time he had, Mike could be found watching history documentaries, swimming, exercising or enjoying a good steak.
One of his greatest passions was flying. Vacations were few and far between, but his weekly relaxation was piloting his Piper Cub buzzing over the windmills and checking cattle in the pastures. He was not one to waste time, but his trip over the Birdwood Creek was never cut short while he flew over the land he dearly loved.
Care of livestock was of utmost importance to Mike, and any loss to him was heartfelt. He loved raising cattle from newborn calf to finish, and every stage in between. He found joy in horseback riding, tending cattle, raising corn and the reward of harvest in the fall. He had a great respect for the land, from fertile farm ground, green hay meadows to the rolling sandhills.
Mike took great pride in passing on the longstanding family legacy to his sons. Mike was a lifetime member of Maria Lutheran Church in Hershey, where he was baptized and confirmed. He served on the church council and was instrumental in the building of Maria’s Fellowship Hall.
Mike is remembered as a quiet and thoughtful man. He meant what he said, and said what he meant. He was a great husband, father, son, grandpa and friend to many. He will be deeply missed by his family and community of friends.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Ann and George “Tiny” Star; sister, Judy Wagner; niece, Shelli Wagner; aunt, Mildred (Jim) Bignell; uncle, Glen Star; aunt, Marge (Jim) Dougherty; uncle, Ray (Judy) Peterson; and aunt, Rosalie (Harold) Peterson.
Mike is survived by his wife, Jeanie (Schumacher) Star; son, Robert (Jill) Star of Hershey; son, Jason (Kayla) Star of North Platte; daughter, Jacque (Nick) Sass of Gretna; four grandchildren, Quinton and Brynlee Star, Elliott and Dawsen Star; brother, Terry Star of Two Rivers, Wisconsin; brother-in-law, Gene Wagner of Sterling, Colorado; uncle, Herold Peterson of Paxton; cousins, Randy (Jennifer) Peterson, Jolene (Dave) Morgan, Kendra (Regis) Fletcher, Scott Peterson, Carol (Mark) Huxta, Brian Dougherty and Jim (Georgia) Bignell; nieces and nephews, Todd, Theresa and Tanya Star, Mindy (Jeff) Stewart and Tyler (Shelley) Wagner.
Memorials are suggested to Maria Lutheran Church.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Maria Lutheran Church, Hershey, with Pastor J.A. Welsh of Grace Lutheran Church and Pastor Jeff Cottingham officiating. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery, near Hershey. Celebration of life and visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Maria Lutheran Church. Adams & Swanson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.