Cover photo for Richard "Rich" Gans's Obituary
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1940 Richard 2020

Richard "Rich" Gans

July 13, 1940 — December 31, 2020

Richard (Rich) J. Gans, age 80, of Brainard, passed away with family by his side on December 31, 2020, after a short battle with cancer. He was born on July 13, 1940, in David City, NE to James and Emma (Selzer) Gans.

Memorials and cards can be mailed to Jody Gans at PO Box 69, Brainard,NE 68626

Rich spent his childhood in David City and graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in 1958. After high school, he joined his father in operating the Gans' DX station, and then worked alongside his friend Jim at Wrede Distributing until 1979. Rich met Jolene (Jody) Belsan in 1976 and they wed on July 28, 1978. In 1979, Rich and Jody bought and renovated the old Brainard Fire Hall, where they have owned and operated Husker Bar II together, made many wonderful friends over the past 41 years, and he became known by the nickname "Papa Rich." Rich and Jody were inseparable from the day they met and lived life to the fullest. Rich enjoyed Nebraska athletics, particularly Husker football; Jimmy Buffett concerts; trips to the ocean, Lake of the Ozarks, and Las Vegas; and spending time with his family and cat, Sally. Rich especially cherished and prioritized his children Lisa, Patrick, and Cindy, having had fun adventures, genuine conversation, and celebrated their many achievements. Rich and Jody lived in Omaha for the last difficult, yet, loving and caring month of Rich’s life, in order to receive comprehensive in-home care provided by his daughter Cindy and son-in-law David, as his final wish. Rich taught those he loved to live life in the moment and to listen generously.

Rich leaves behind his wife Jody (Belsan) Gans of Brainard; children Lisa (Bill) Buntgen of David City, Patrick (Jen) Gans of Lincoln, and Cindy (David) Kennedy of Omaha; grandchildren Rebecca (Adam) Gilligan, Nicole Buntgen, and Lorenzo and Luca Gans; great grandson, Derek Gilligan; and a host of friends from their Husker Bar II. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Emma Gans; sisters Gwendolyn Gans, LaVina (Doug) Trowbridge, and Dona (Robert) Meysenburg; and grandchildren Melinda and Derek Buntgen.

A private graveside service will be held at the St. Mary's and St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in Bellwood, NE. An open house celebration honoring Rich’s life will be held at a later date.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard "Rich" Gans, please visit our flower store.

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