August 17, 2023

Larry L. Bitney

Larry Bitney, 85 years of age, passed away on August 13, 2023, in Lincoln, Nebraska after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Larry was born in a farmhouse north of Neligh in Antelope County, Nebraska, on September 19, 1937, to Dow and Vera (Ward) Bitney. He was united in marriage with Linda Dyson of Brunswick, NE on December 22nd, 1957.

After completing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Larry began his career as an Assistant County Extension Agent in Dodge County at Fremont. He worked as an Assistant Extension Economist at UNL while completing his master’s degree. The family then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma where Larry completed his PhD degree in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.  He accepted a faculty position in the Agricultural Economics Department at UNL in 1969 where he served until his 2002 retirement.

During Larry’s career he was active in developing financial management education programs for farm and ranch families, especially during the 1980’s farm financial crisis. He received several awards, including the “Award for Superior Service” from the USDA and the “Distinguished Educational Service Award” from UNL. Larry authored a paper on developing profit maximizing farm plans using linear programming.  IBM translated his work into Russian and it was used at the International Agricultural Fair in Moscow. Larry’s international work included a year in Morocco lending his talents to a multidisciplinary team on a dryland farming project.

Larry attributed the success of his educational programs to his collaboration with intelligent, innovative, and ambitious young associates. He appreciated their energy, synergy, and camaraderie, and considered his role as mentor to be one of the great privileges of his life.

Larry enjoyed tinkering with all things mechanical, including antique tractors. He enjoyed frequent trips to Colorado with his family and friends. Larry’s faith grew and sustained him through the years, especially as he dealt with the progression of Parkinson’s.

Larry is survived by his wife of 65 years, Linda, daughters and sons-in-law Shari Bitney and Doug Kubr, and Jane Bitney and James Robertson, grandchildren Willa Garay, Duncan Martin, Mitchell Robertson (Amber Furness) and Matthew Robertson (Nyamal Wur) and 4 great-grandchildren, Amelia, Isaac, Miles and C.J. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Jean Hardin, and many great mentors, teachers, and friends.

A memorial gathering with family will be held at the Wyuka Funeral Home, 3600 O Street, on Thursday, August 17th, from 5:00pm-7:00pm.

Memorial service will be held Friday, August 18th, 11:00am at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 8300 East Pointe Rd., Lincoln. Memorials to the Larsen Tractor (Test and Power) Museum, UNL East Campus


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