February 12, 2019

Shirley Rife

On the cold morning of February 8, 2019, longtime Lincoln resident Shirley Rife, began the final trek of her journey home.  The 92 year old wife of Calvin E. Rife Sr. was called home to be with her heavenly father. Shirley was first a loving wife and mother but she also worked for many years as a cook for Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at UNL where she mentored many young men. She was a long-time member of Quinn Chapel A.M.E., where she served in several positions. She also enjoyed travelling with her husband, writing, and honing her speaking skills as a member of Toastmasters Club. She made many friends over her lifetime. Shirley Nevels Rife was the final surviving child of ten children from the union of highly respected Lincoln citizens Fred Nevels Sr. and his wife Susan Crews Nevels.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; and her siblings, Fred Nevels Jr., Samuel Nevels, James Nevels, J.R. Nevels, Dorothy Bryant, Maddie Sue White, Frank Nevels, Joyce Crutchfield and a stillborn unnamed sister. The wife of Calvin E. Rife Sr. from St. Joseph, Missouri, she and her high school sweetheart had a happy family consisting of three sons: Eldest son, Calvin E. Rife Jr., a retired Lincoln Public Schools teacher;  Roger S. Rife, their middle son, who is also retired with many  years’ experience in education  and business in Austin, Texas; and youngest son Michael A. Rife, a supervisor with the Lincoln Public Schools. Shirley leaves behind five grandsons: from the union of eldest son Calvin with his wife Janet Warkentin, sons Christopher C. Rife, M.D. along with his wife, Ashley and Brandon J. Rife and from the union of middle son Roger and his wife Kolete Graham, sons Shawn M. Rife along with his wife, Shayne, Jason S. Rife and Justin M. Rife along with his wife, Myla, all of California.  Great grandchildren: Jordan Rife and Aaron Rife of California; and Dylan Rife, Olivia Rife and Camden Rife of Lincoln.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 14 from Noon until 8:00 P.M. with family greeting friends from 6 to 8 at Wyuka Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held at Wyuka Funeral Home at 11 A.M. on Friday, February 15.

Memorials to Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Lincoln City Mission.


  1. extending our sincere sympathy to the families–Especially calvin Jr who we did business with and enjoyed knowing him.

  2. What a wonderful women who had such a positive impact on a generation of SAE’s. We are all better men for having known Shirly.

  3. The men of Sigma Alpha Epsilon extend their deepest condolences to the Rife family. Shirley was a cherished friend to generations of men at the House. Her grace, character, kindness, faith, work-ethic and intelligence are etched in hearts and minds. She is fondly remembered as well, for her culinary skill. Clean plates and second helpings were everyday during her time and her Friday night “Shirley burgers” are iconic to this day.

  4. My prayers are with the family. I will miss our phone calls and good laughs we would have. I remember your kind heart and sweet spirit while growing up in Quinn Chapel. God has received another Angel. You will be missed. Much Love!

  5. Shirley and her never ending smile will be missed here at Holmes Lake Family Medicine. Our Sincere Sympathy goes out to the Rife family.


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