May 29, 2024

James (Jim) Murry Kern

January 29, 1949 – May 26, 2024

James (Jim) Murry Kern, a devoted husband, father, and friend, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2024, surrounded by loved ones. Born on January 29, 1949, in Springfield, Illinois, to Paul Frederick and Jennie Estelle (Ballard) Kern, Jim was the eldest of five children.

Jim’s early years were spent in Springfield, where he graduated from Pleasant Plains High School in 1967. Following high school, he served his country honorably as a Medical Corpsman in the United States Navy, stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Jim’s dedication to his service was evident when he extended his time to achieve E5 status, ensuring his beloved VW Beetle could return to the states with him. He was honorably discharged in 1973.

After his military service, Jim returned to Pleasant Plains, working as a farmhand while attending college, where he made the Dean’s List. In 1974, he moved to Nebraska, where he lived with the Kosmicki family and worked at the UNL Swine Farm in Mead and Eugene Tvrdy’s farm near Ceresco.

Jim met Nadine Jane Nelson at the Roca Tavern, and their connection was immediate. They married on May 24, 1975, at Salem Lutheran Church in St. Edward, Nebraska. Their union was blessed with three children: Kevin Carl, born on September 20, 1979; Corey Lee, born on August 15, 1981; and Katie Lynn, born on January 4, 1987. The family first lived on a farm east of Lincoln, later moving to 4531 Knox Street in Lincoln, where they built a close-knit community with their neighbors, the Winters family. Jim and Nadine cherished their time with their children and their three dogs, Uggy, Suki, and Polly, along with their cat, KiKiDe.

Jim’s professional life was spent at Miller Seed Company in Lincoln, where he worked from 1975 until his retirement in 2020. Known as a jack of all trades, Jim’s dedication and hard work were respected by all who knew him.

Jim had a deep love for gardening and maintaining his lawn. His garden was meticulously cared for, and he was known for his homemade salsa and fresh horseradish, which he generously shared with those in need. The lawn was mowed in a specific pattern each time and trimmed to perfection. Jim’s relaxation time often involved watering the garden and lawn with a cigarette and iced tea in hand.

Other hobbies that Jim enjoyed included hunting, fishing, woodworking, playing cards, watching classic movies, reading the newspaper, and doing crossword puzzles. He was also known to read the dictionary for the sheer pleasure of learning something new. Jim avoided doctors and dentists whenever possible but required a lung procedure following a fall in 2019. His health declined over time, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer a week before his passing. Jim spent his final days at home with his children Kevin and Corey, and his best friend, Vicki Walter-Winters, before being moved to The Monarch.

A man of faith, Jim studied the Bible and found great comfort in his beliefs. In his final days, he dreamt of his beloved wife Nadine and spoke of seeing “the light.” Jim drew comfort from these experiences and passed away peacefully with one last cigarette via a nicotine patch and the staff singing “Amazing Grace” to him.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Nadine, his brother Kenneth P. Kern, and brother-in-law Harley Nelson. He is survived by his children Kevin Carl Kern, Corey Lee Kern, and Katie Lynn Kern, all of Lincoln; his best friend Vicki Walter-Winters; his brothers Thomas L. Kern (Jan) of Folsom, CA, and John E. Kern of New York, NY; his sister Alice J. Kern of Springfield, IL; and brother-in-law Thomas Nelson of Columbus, NE, along with numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at Wyuka Funeral Home, with visitation from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. prior to the service. Interment will follow at Wyuka Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the family for later designation.

Jim’s memory will live on through the stories and love shared by his family and friends. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

The service may be viewed live by clicking the following link:


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