Laurence “Ron” Letson #575, (initiated 1959)

August 11, 1940 – June 6, 2023
Salem, South Carolina – Laurence Ronald “Ron” Letson, 82, of Salem, SC, passed Tuesday, June 6, 2023, after a courageous 17-year battle with vascular dementia. He was born August 11, 1940, in Lincoln, NE, elder son of Evelyn and William Letson.
Ron grew up in Red Cloud, NE, then graduated from Wentworth Military Academy (MO). A mechanical engineering degree from the University of Nebraska and the ROTC rank of Colonel followed. He honorably served four years in the Quartermaster Corp and as a military advisor in the US Army. Upon receiving a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University, he practiced intellectual property law for 30+ years at IBM Mas Hamilton and in private practice in Lexington, KY. Desk bound weekly, he was a weekend entrepreneur with Linc Graphics.
He was a 60-year mason, with membership at Charity Lodge of Red Cloud, Franklin Lodge and Oleika or Hejaz Shrine Temples. Initiating a program to fly critically burned Eastern Kentucky children to Cincinnati Shrine Hospital, he combined his passion for flying and serving others. Ron was a proud member of Acacia Fraternity, Virginia Bar Association, and US Supreme Court Bar. He was previously a Louisville Zoo FONZ Board Member.
Ron was an avid sportsman who loved being outdoors, hunting, fishing, and boating. He deeply loved his family, dogs, Nebraska football, Kentucky basketball, and military history. He was always ready with one liners and practical jokes.
Cherishing his memory are Dianne, wife of 58 years; children Laura (Russell) and Wally (Jettie); grandson Jay and Lauren, Russell’s daughter; brother Michael; niece Alison; nephew Michael Jr. (Elaine); in-laws and other relatives. Thank you to Rodney, MSA Hospice, and Park Place memory care staff for the love and compassion you shared with Ron.
A Celebration of Life service will be held in early September on Fripp Island, SC. The family can be contacted at
Ron believed vascular dementia should be better understood. Please consider memorial donations to MUSC Foundation (843-792-2677, designate. Campbell Neuropathology Laboratory), Shriners Hospital for Children or The Louisville Zoo.

–Source: Spouse Diane Letson

Bart Bredenkamp #561 (1957 initiated)

Barton Clarence Bredenkamp passed away unexpectedly on February 18th, 2023 at the age of 84. Bart was born on August 21st, 1938 in Hay Springs, Nebraska to Clarence and Lydia Bredenkamp, the fourth of six children. He was Valedictorian of Hay Springs High School Class of 1956. After graduation, he entered the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where he majored in Mechanical Engineering and met the love of his life, Sally Jean Miller in 1959. They were married on June 11, 1961, the day after he graduated from college and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Bart served 30 years in the Air Force, as a communications officer. He was stationed in Ohio, Canada, Wisconsin, Nebraska (three times), Mississippi, New Jersey, Korea, California, and Virginia (twice). He retired in 1991 with the rank of Colonel. Following his retirement, Bart worked for PRC Inc. and later as an independent consultant on numerous defense contract proposals; a period during which he and Sally also traveled extensively with many of the friends made during their time in the military. Bart and Sally moved into their forever home in Bluewater Bay in Niceville, Florida in April 2000; a home painstakingly designed by Sally and devotedly maintained by Bart for the remainder of their 57 years of marriage. Barton is preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Lydia, older sister Wilma, two younger brothers Boyd and Bob, and his bride Sally. He is survived by his older sisters Portia and Delores, his two sons Brad (Jo Anna) and Trevor (Michele), seven grandchildren: Lauren (Scott Schmidt), Jacob, Gavin, Ward, Amelia, Grier, and Soren; and one great-granddaughter Alayna, with another great-granddaughter due to arrive in May; and more than 20 nieces and nephews.

Expressions of love and sympathy can be placed and viewed at

Ken Rhylander #633 (initiated 1965)

Ken Rhylander, #633, (Ret. USAF)  passed away October 22 in Honolulu, Hawaii, having lost the battle with lymphoma. He served as Rush Chairman in 1966 and Venerable Dean in 1967. He was an ROTC member and, following his graduation in 1969, he had a long career with the Army. He is survived by his wife Rolen, stepdaughter Chrisca, and daughter Kathy, as well as a son by a previous marriage, Col. Erik Rhylander USAF.

Nebraska Triad 1968

Ken with the rendering of the new house on Vine St for 1968

More Stories coming in the future:

—John Thompson #651


Jeff Thomssen #657 (initiated 1967)
James Allen Thomassen
January 11, 1948 – April 5, 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of James Allen Thomassen. He
passed on April 5th, with his wife, Sheela, and his sister, Ruth, by his side.
Jim was kind, thoughtful, and generous. And he was a good listener. He liked to read,
bike, and most of all, drink good scotch. Jim also enjoyed traveling and did so
extensively. He loved well and was well loved. He will be sorely missed.
Jim was born in 1948 and grew up in Butte, Nebraska. He graduated from the
University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in physics. He later earned a Master
of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin (UT), and subsequently a
Doctorate of Jurisprudence from UT.
Jim started his legal career at Vinson & Elkins in Austin and practiced public finance
there for seven years. He then worked in public finance for over twenty years at the
Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG). During that time, he also served for a year
as the executive director of the Texas Bond Review Board. After retiring from the OAG,
Jim worked at the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Department of Transportation.
A celebration of Jim’s life will take place at a later date in the summer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army Austin, Caritas of
Austin, or the Central Texas Food Bank.
Thomassen will leave bond board to return to office of Texas AG.
September 20, 1993, 1:00 a.m. EDT
DALLAS — Less than a year after he was named executive director of the Texas Bond
Review Board, Jim Thomassen will return next month to the state Attorney General’s
Thomassen, who will head the office’s public finance section, replaces Sheela Rai, his
former assistant chief. Rai recently stepped down from the top job to take a personal
leave to recover from a job that often demanded a seven-day work week as Texas bond
sales soared.

Thomassen, 45, acknowledged that he is returning to a high-stress job in the public
finance section, which reviews every public bond sold in Texas. He said, however, that
the job of public finance chief is better suited to his abilities than his position at the
Texas Bond Review Board, which was created in 1987 to oversee state-level debt
Education & Credentials
University Attended: University of Nebraska, B.S., 1969; University of Texas, M.P.A.,
Law School Attended: University of Texas, J.D., 1979

Jeff Gottula #775 (initiated 1974)

1976--Jeff GOttula

Jeff Gottula passed away  October 17th, 2023. This is his picture from the 1976 house photos.  Mark Nelson and I visited Jeff last summer while he was temporarily receiving inpatient skilled nursing care here in Omaha as a result of complications from a leg amputation. I encourage you to Google Jeff’s name and read the obituary in the Lincoln Journal Star. There is a great summary of his career in ground water and environmental management. What I always remember about Jeff was his smile. It looked just like the smile in this picture…like he was always ready to have fun! Jeff shared with us that day this house photo from 1976, which he carried on his iPad.  Jeff had great memories from his days at Acacia and had remained good friends with Ken Koop, who alerted me to his passing.

–Written by Jim Veline (#751, 1973) on Oct 27th 2023

Michael Wiedel #986 (initiated 1986)

Michael J. Wiedel, Jr. of Chicago, Illinois, the son of Michael John Wiedel (Jack) and Cheryle Ann (Paugh) Wiedel, was born December 8, 1966, in Hebron, Nebraska. Michael passed away on Sunday, October 16, 2022, at the age of 55 years. Michael began his schooling in Hebron, graduating from Hebron High School. He obtained his
undergraduate degree from University of Nebraska and his master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.

Following college, Michael was honored to serve in the Peace Corps, volunteering first in Togo, Africa in 1990, educating on and implementing farming systems. Following two years of service overseas, Michael was then positioned in Chicago, Illinois, handling recruitment efforts and program administration.

Michael met his devoted partner, Humphrey A. Granger, in 2007, and they enjoyed building their lives together in Chicago, where they were engaged to be married. They shared many interests, including travel, cuisine, and spending time in nature. Michael was embraced by his partner’s family and friends in France, where they enjoyed many travels and experiences. Michael was a respected colleague at The Gallup Organization, where he held several positions over the course of his career, most recently serving as a Senior Research Consultant. Michael was proud to have been recognized often by the company for his excellent and valuable contributions.
He is survived by his partner, Humphrey, his sister Dawn Wiedel and wife Rhonda Henning of Lincoln, Nebraska, his brother, Jerrod Wiedel and wife Haley of Hebron, Nebraska, his aunt, Sandra Carbonneau and husband Jim of Hebron, Nebraska, his uncle James Paugh and wife Alta of Hebron, Nebraska, his aunt Tana Benavides of Corpus Christi, Texas, his aunt Jeanette Else and husband Kenny of Hebron, Nebraska, his uncle Ron Hintz of Hebron, Nebraska, his aunt Darlene Emanuel of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, nieces and nephew, Koti Wiedel, Jay Henning, Kari Pester,
Alexandra Fintel, a host of cousins and friends.

Michael was a registered organ donor and an avid proponent of the cause; memorial donations can be made to Live on Nebraska at Memorial services to be announced at a later date.

–Written by Tom Macy (#1012) May 12th 2023

He was a pledge brother of mine and was Venerable Dean.  Mike passed away suddenly of a heart attack in October.

Mike went on to join the Peace Corps after his time at UNL and then to work for Gallup in Chicago.  He lived there until his death.

Additionally, Sue Osterberg Bath (former Acacia Sweetheart and friend of Mike’s) and I worked with the NU Foundation to setup a scholarship in Mike’s name.  Individuals can make donations by going to   Donations should be made in Mike’s name to the NU Foundation Holding Fund.


Michael S. Burchett (#1001, initiated 1987)

( December 14, 1967 – September 01, 2023 ) Michael (Mike) Scott Burchett, 55,of Lincoln, passed away at his home on Friday, September 1,2023, after a strong, 27-month fight with brain cancer. Mike was born in Las Vegas, NV, during a snowstorm on December 14, 1967,to Michael and Jane (Miller) Burchett. His father was in the Air Force, so they moved around before landing in Wymore, Nebraska. Growing up, he played football and ran track, but his main love was baseball. When summer leagues ended each year, he looked forward to spending a few weeks with his grandparents at their farm in Mills County, Iowa. He adored them and loved helping his grandpa on the farm and enjoying his grandma’s treats. They regularly went to Omaha Royals baseball games at Rosenblatt Stadium, and he became a huge Kansas City Royals fan. Mike graduated from Southern High School in 1986. Mike then attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he earned his bachelor of business administration degree in finance. He was honored with a prestigious internship in New York City. After college, Mike married Cami Althouse on June20, 1992, where they were blessed with three children and divorced in 2006.  After working as an insurance agent with American Family Insurance, he changed careers and became a loan officer at Liberty First Credit Union in December 2000. He excelled in this role, growing to be one of the company’s top loan officers due tohis strong work ethic and integrity. He helped many people finance their dreams and also build and repair their credit. He loved his job at Liberty First and considered many of his coworkers some of his closest friends. He always kept his insurance license current as a safety net.

Late in 2011, he met his soulmate, Angela (Bailey). They became good friends before officially dating in June 2012. They married April 18, 2015, and he was blessed with two step-daughters. A banner year for Mike, the Royals won the World Series later that October in game five.
In addition to being a lifelong Royals baseball fan, Mike Love cheering on the Huskers, faithfully watching every football game until the end. He even got a side job parking cars so he could get free entrance to the games. He followed other Husker sports, including baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. Mike was a wonderful father and stepfather and enjoyed attending all of his children’s activities. He really wanted to teach his kids and step kids practical things to help them in their lives. But it wasn’t all instruction; he was the ultimate jokester, pulling off great April Fool’s Day pranks, under-breath funny comments, Dad jokes and more. Mike was also an amazing husband and partner to Angela, and they enjoyed many vacations, concerts and experiences; many occurring after his glioblastoma diagnosis in June 2021. He enjoyed watching birds, craft beer, hiking and spending time in nature. The couple’s motto was “Live BIG,” and they demonstrated that by doing everything they could possibly do while they could still do it, including a twice-rebooked Yellowstone trip this summer, seeing the Royals play the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago and enjoying one more concert just the week before his passing. They were actively involved at Lincoln Berean Church, where they were blessed with a caring and supportive life group.

Mike will be remembered as humble, hardworking and good-humored. He was amazingly strong and resilient, kept working full-time and lifting weights until he couldn’t. He adapted with every new challenge that came his way, surpassing so many odds related to the disease. His faith in the Lord was so inspiring to all who knew him, and he spent time reading the Bible and praying for others daily.
Mike is survived by his wife, Angela Burchett of Lincoln, NE; children: Briana Burchett, Brett (Jensyn) Burchett, and Brooke(Justin) Svoboda all of Lincoln, NE; stepchildren: Lauren and Hayden Coniglio of Lincoln, NE; parents: Mike and Jane Burchett of Henderson, IA; sisters: Lisa (Kris) Hoge of Lincoln, NE, Heidi (Jeff) Peebles of Fort Worth, TX, and Emily (Dave)Carr of Beatrice, NE; in-laws Donny and Jean Bailey, and sister-in-law: Aubrey (Adam) Sundberg, all of Parker, CO; aunts and uncles: Susan (Arnie) Shirley of Shenandoah, IA, Doug (Diana)Burchett of Malvern, IA, Patrick (Candice) Thomas of Bismarck, ND, Linda (Craig) Klebe of Statesboro, GA, and Lori Castle of Atlanta, GA; nephews: Kreighton, Cristian, Cameron Hoge all of Lincoln, NE, Zachary Carr of Washington, DC, Austin and Jackson Paul of Fort Worth, TX, Graham and Wesley Coombs of Parker, CO; nieces: Madelyn Carr of Omaha, NE, and Allyson Paul of Fort Worth, TX; grandniece: Delilah Smith of Omaha, NE; and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by: grandparents, Creighton and Marjorie Miller and James Burchett and Helen “Joan” Christian; and nephew, Devin Carr.
Funeral Service: Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at Lincoln Berean Church, 6400 S. 70th St. Visitation: Wednesday, Sept. 6, from 4-7 p.m. at Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home,4040 A St. Celebration of Life: Friday, Sept. 8, from 2-6 p.m. at Cappy’s, 5560 S. 48th St. The funeral service will be livestreamed here :
Private interment at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Bryan Foundation – Cancer Center, Tabitha Hospice or Lincoln Berean Church.

–From Brother Steve Keedy (#996 in 1986) Source: