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Nancy Lea Poppe is dancing with the angels and laughing with her well-known contagious laugh, as she was reunited with family and friends in the kingdom of heaven on May 4, 2018. She won the battle, as she now lives in eternal peace. We know not whether she fell on her knees and kissed the feet of Jesus or if she embraced him with Mamma Poppe hugs, but we are sure she is well with her soul.
Nancy (Lutes) Poppe was a quiet, small baby born to James D. and Carolyn E. (Harvey) Lutes on October 3, 1953 in Fort Riley, Kansas. Narrowly escaping a bullet that came through the nursery window, as she many times told her friends, Nancy was later saddened to hear there was no truth to the story. In 1955, with her sister Cathie and parents, they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Many memories were made on 34 Street including shooting sparklers, eating orange slices, making holly hock dolls, and accidentally stabbing her foot with a pitchfork.
In 1961, with the addition of Steve and Stan, the family of six moved to Kearney, Nebraska. The baby of the family, Mary, was born shortly after the move and the family settled in for five exciting years on Park Street, until their move, to Scribner, Nebraska. Scribner was Nancy’s “true hub”, where she found the love of her life and lifetime friends. Before her graduation in 1971, Nancy was involved in cheerleading, pep club, variety of athletics, class plays, and writing for the Trojan Topics. A young gentleman, named Gene Poppe, started hanging around the family home, which made her father question why. Her mother’s response was, “don’t worry Jim, its only puppy love.” On June 2, 1973, they were married in the United Lutheran Church in Scribner.
Nancy and Gene started their married life in Scribner where she worked at Lee’s Market and Gene at Scribner Grain Elevator. In September of 1974, an opportunity for Gene to work at First National Bank became available in Bancroft, Nebraska which he gladly accepted. Their first born, Bradley Gene, arrived in 1975 and was later joined by his brother, Benjamin John, in 1980. Weeks after B.J. was born, the family relocated in Shelton, Nebraska, where Nancy and Gene made lifelong friends. In 1983, Nancy was shocked to learn another baby was on its way. The family was then complete, with the addition of Rebecca Jo. Despite the protest signs and blocking of the driveway, the Poppe’s loaded up for another adventure to Mount Ayr, Iowa in 1984.
It was in Mount Ayr where Nancy began her teaching career after graduating from Northwest Missouri State in 1988. There, she taught kindergarten and fifth grade for thirteen years, leaving a lasting impression on many students’ hearts and winning an award her final year after being nominated by one of her students. Nancy was also active in the church including her role as a deacon, leading children sermons, and numerous other activities. She loved being her kids’ biggest fans at sporting events and being the “activities director” at the house all of the kids from the neighborhood went to for food and fun. Nancy also enjoyed welcoming Marco Erni, a foreign exchange student from Switzerland, into her home for a year in which Marco quickly became the sixth member of the family. While juggling her busy schedule, Nancy received her Masters degree from Viterbo University in 2000. Her teaching legacy continued as Nancy and Gene moved to West Plains, Missouri in 2001 where she taught numerous grade levels for fourteen years and again receiving more teacher awards.
After living in West Plains for 13 years, Nancy and Gene both retired in 2014 and moved to Oakland, Nebraska. There Nancy got to spend time with many family members that lived in and around Oakland. While Nancy was born to be a teacher, her second calling in life was to be a Nana, or Nina, which is apparently how you say Nana with a Boston accent. Being a block from two of her grandkids, Liam and Finley Jo, Nancy experienced great joy in being a part of the early childhood development of the next generation. In retirement, Nancy also enjoyed going to Husker football games with Gene and Brad, traveling to Boston to see her other two grandkids, Elliot and Vivian, and catching up with the “Fun Buncha Women” group in Oakland.
Nancy is survived by her husband Gene, her son Brad Poppe of Lincoln, NE; her son B.J. and wife Erin Poppe of Waltham, MA; her daughter Becky and husband Jeff Rennerfeldt of Oakland, NE; four grandchildren, Liam and Finley Rennerfeldt, Elliot and Vivian Poppe; her step-mom Lou Lutes of Columbia, MO; her sister Cathie Anderson of Oakland, NE; her brother Steve Lutes and his wife Kris of Henning, MN; her brother Stan Lutes and his wife Kris of Louisville, NE; her sister Mary Brown of Omaha, NE; her brother-in-law Ronnie Poppe of Scribner, NE; her brother-in-law Glenn Poppe and his wife Jan of Fremont, NE; her brother-in-law Russel Poppe  and his wife Anne of Scribner, NE; her sister-in-law Kay Poppe of North Bend, NE.
Nancy was preceded in death by her mother Carolyn Lutes; her father James Lutes; her mother and father in-law Ardell and Leonard Poppe; her brother-in-law Jerry Anderson; her brother-in-law Norman Poppe.
Celebration of life was Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 10:00 a.m. at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland.
Visitation was Tuesday 5-8 p.m. with family receiving friends, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to services at the church.
Burial was at  Scribner Cemetery, Scribner NE at approximately 11:45 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Burt County Relay for Life.

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