March 30, 2016

Cleo J. Horstman Craigie

Craige, Cleo obit photoCleo Jean Horstman Bender Craigie, 94, of Lincoln Passed away March 29, 2016 at her home. She was born on January 7, 1922, in Lincoln to Rae and Josephine Cameron.  She was best known for her leadership skills and volunteerism which led to a fulfilling life.  She graduated from Teachers College High School in 1939, and completed a year of business education at the Nebraska Business Institute.  The early working years were short term jobs until during WW II she went to work for Radio Station KFOR-KFAB until she married John G. Horstman on May 20, 1943.  He was a soldier boy who was stationed at the Lincoln Air Base until he was sent overseas to the Europe Theater area.  During this time she worked at Ben Simon & Sons.  They raised two sons, Charles Rae and John Jr.  In 1971 after a career of homemaker and mother she went back to work for Kelly and Manpower employment agencies.  After the death of John Sr. in April 1980 she began working for the Norell Employment Agency which led to a position with the Lincoln Area Agency for Aging as a counselor and coordinator for the department of senior employment until 1982.   Cleo married Homer T. Bender from Friend, NE on June 19, 1982 and they shared much happiness together until his death on December 25, 1984. A few years later Cleo married long-time friend Edgar Craigie on December 9, 1989.  They were together throughout the rest of her life.  They shared many interests including the American Legion and Auxiliary and traveled from Arizona where they lived for several years before returning to Lincoln.

It was through the military service of John Sr. she became eligible for membership in the American Legion Auxiliary in March 1946. She called it professional volunteer- one who can never say NO.  Her career with the American Legion Auxiliary drew on her strength as a leader.  She served in many capacities within the organization as an elected officer and program chairmanships.  One office led to another – Unit Historian, Treasurer, Unit President, District 12 President, Secretary-Treasurer, Historian and Parliamentarian.  She served as Girls State election director, Vice President then President for seven years, then advisory board for 10 years.  She also served as Nebraska Department President in 1973-1974.  During her term as President she prepared a speech on Americanism.  A copy was submitted to the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge as an entry for the George Washington Award for Americanism speeches in 1975.  Thirteen speeches were selected to represent the United States and Cleo’s was one of the 13.  Following her term as President, she was elected the National Executive Committee Woman to represent the Nebraska Auxiliary organization and appointed National Security Chairman for the Northwestern Division of seven states.  Cleo also served as a judge for the Oratorical program both in Nebraska and in Arizona where she resided in the winters.  She also served as a judge for the National Regional Oratorical Contest.  Her work didn’t stop there; she was called to assist with the organization of a new Unit in Sun City West, Arizona where she lived.  In March 2016 she was awarded a continuous member certificate for 70 years of service to the American Legion Auxiliary.  Cleo is a member of Lancaster Salon #92 8/40.  She served as an elected officer in every capacity including Chapeau.  She also served as Le Secretair-Cassier and Area B Chapeau.

Cleo has been a member of Second Baptist Church in Lincoln for 84 years and sang in the choir for over 30 years. She has always been active in the ladies circles as well as the music programs.  She was known for playing the flute.  When the church celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the church last year, Cleo served on the anniversary committee.  After all, who else had been around long enough to recall the history of the congregation.

She is also a member of Eastern Star, Daughters of the American Revolution and was active in a musical study group, Musical Forum. Within the community her interest was in promoting the Lincoln Community Concert Association, working on the March of Dimes, Community Chest drives, Women in Community Service Inc. and promoting some legislative issues.  She was given the honor of becoming an Admiral in the Nebraska Navy on March 18, 1974.  She was a member of the Nebraska Association of Parliamentarians and served as Parliamentarian for several organizations.  She was featured as the Woman of the Year in the local newspaper and received an outstanding citizen award from the Lincoln Bar Association.  For 18 years she played her flute in two concert bands in Arizona.  And over the years she enjoyed water skiing, golfing, card playing, traveling in her Motor Home year round and as a Nebraska Cornhusker football fan and supporter.

She was preceded in death by her husband John G. Horstman in 1980, husband Homer T. Bender in 1984, and her parents as well as her affectionate cat “Princess”.  She is survived by her husband Edgar Craigie, her sons and wives Charles and Diane Horstman, and John Jr. and Shirley Horstman of Lincoln.  Grandchildren:  Jeff and Kristy Horstman of Lincoln and their children Kamden and Kasten Horstman, and Pamela and Matt Brigham of Gig Harbor, WA and their son Noah.  She is also survived by step-daughter and husband Eileen and Rick Cubbison of Westminster, CO; step-son and wife Fred and Diane Craigie of Lincoln; step-grandchildren Catie Schrotberger of Lincoln, Mandie Craigie of Chicago, Il, Shelli Reicks of Omaha, and Jenni Russell of Lincoln; step-great-grandchildren Korben and Faye Schrotberger, Hayley and Renae Reicks, and Owen and Devon Russell.  She is also survived by her sister Ramona Hill and her husband Daryl of Lincoln and their children Ruth (Terry) Wright, Glen (Kim) Hill, Robert (Sherri) Hill and Leonard Hill, nieces and nephews, cousin Warren Jennings of California, and friends.  Special thanks for hospice friend and caregiver Mark Backencamp, and Pathways to Compassion employees.

Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6, at Second Baptist Church, 525 North 58th St., Lincoln.  Burial and Graveside Service in Wyuka Cemetery, 3600 “O” St., Lincoln, to follow at 1:00 p.m.  Visitation with family present will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, at Wyuka Funeral Home, 3600 “O” St., Lincoln.

Memorials to American Legion Auxiliary Unit #3; or Second Baptist Church.


  1. Cleo was a dear lady to us all at the American Legion Auxiliary and a personal friend, she will be missed by all.

    Kenneth and Gayla Schmid

  2. I have been honored to be a part of Cleo Craigie’s life.Thank you for the rest of the story.


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