|Birth: ||Mar. 28, 1924|
|Death: ||Aug. 6, 2012|
ROLLA, Mo. - Irene M. Abernethy, 88, truly a gifted servant to the people of Grand Island died Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, in Rolla, Mo., where she moved last year to be closer to her daughter and her family.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at Trinity United Methodist Church. The Rev. Jay Vetter will officiate. Burial will be in Grand Island Cemetery.
Irene Margaret Abernethy was born, March 28, 1924, in Ord the daughter of Dr. Glen Dayton and Margaret Lillian (Jones) Auble. She grew up in Ord, graduating from Ord High School with the class of 1942, received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hastings College in 1946 and later did graduate work at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She taught English, journalism, and social studies at Ord and Scottsbluff High Schools before she was united in marriage to Dr. Don R. Abernethy on Aug. 8, 1954, in Ord. The couple lived in Chicago where her husband, received his doctor of Optometry degree. In 1959 they moved to Grand Island, where he began his practice and she taught one year in Grand Island Senior High School.
After serving as president of the League of Women Voters of Grand Island, the local branch of the American Association of University Women, and the local YWCA, Mrs. Abernethy was elected to the Hall County Board of Supervisors in 1978 and served for 20 years. She was the first woman to serve on the Hall County Board of Supervisors and the first woman president of the Nebraska Association of County Officials and was selected the State County Official of the Year in 1998. Shortly after that she was appointed to the Grand Island Board of Education to serve two years. Over a period of time Mrs. Abernethy was chairman or co-chairman of successful bond issues for Barr Junior High School, Knickrehm Elementary School, Stuhr Museum and the Edith Abbott Memorial Library. She also was the first chairperson of Congresswoman Virginia Smith's Hall County election campaign.
Appointed by various governors, Mrs. Abernethy served on state commissions dealing with education, law enforcement and criminal justice and prevention of women and child abuse. She was a member of the Association of Child Abuse Prevention (ACAP).
She chaired the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Coalition and received an award for her work on the National Coalition. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Boys Town Shelter in Hall County. For her volunteer work, Mrs. Abernethy has been honored locally by the Grand Island Independent (named its first Woman of the Year) in 1980, the Business and Professional Women's Club, the P.T.A., Republicans, The YWCA, Beta Sigma Phi, Alpha Delta Kappa, Sertoma Club, the Elks Club, and the Moonshell Arts and Humanities Council. Other awards were from Hastings College, the Knights of AK-SAR-BEN, Girls & Boys Town, the Nebraska Commission on the Status of Women, the Nebraska Chapter of the Association of Social Workers and the Ord High School Alumni Association.
Always concerned about the welfare of children, she served on the boards of Head Start, P.T.A. the Association of Child Abuse Prevention, Family Preservation and the Community Help Center. She was a Team Mate and was named the 2004 Mother of the Year by the Nebraska Mothers Association.
She loved to play golf and had been a champion at Woodland and Riverside Golf Clubs. She enjoyed music and sang with the Grand Island City Singers and other smaller groups. She also loved to travel, visiting all 50 states and 55 other countries.
She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, sang in the choir for 50 years and participated in United Methodist Women, where she served as a Board member. She was a 68 year member of the PEO Sisterhood (Chapter II), the Council for International Visitors, former president of American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, Woman's Club, Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp., the Mid –Plains Center for Professional Services, Girl Scouts and Leadership Tomorrow, YMCA Foundation, College Park, Industrial Foundation, Rotary Club, State Commissioners, Hall County Historical Society, of which she kept a file of Grand Island related headlines and helped compile and edit a history book for the Grand Island Rotary's 85th anniversary in 2006, the Center for Independent Living, Central Community College Advisory Committee and Heartland United Way. In 2006-07, she also assisted with the making of The Independent's award winning book, "150: A Commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of Hall County, Neb.
Survivors include her daughter, Jill Abernethy Johnson and her husband, Major (retired USAF) Christopher Johnson of Rolla, Mo.; two granddaughters, Laura Johnson of Columbia, Mo., and Marcy Johnson Cahill and her husband, Kristoffer Cahill, St. Peters, Mo., and great- grandson, Ethan Cahill of St. Peters, Mo., sister, Carolyn Auble Summers of Upland, Calif., a brother- in-law, John Hardisty of Hudson, Ill., seven nieces and nephews and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Glen D. Auble and Margaret Lillian Jones Auble, husband, Dr. Don R. Abernethy, son, Ted Verne Abernethy, sister, Dorothy Mae Auble Hardisty, brother, Dr. Arthur Glen Auble.
Published in The Grand Island Independent on August 8, 2012
Don R. Abernethy (1926 - 1980)*
Ted Verne Abernethy (1958 - 2003)*
Grand Island Cemetery
Plot: Section K, Lot 30
Created by: GLG
Record added: Aug 07, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94940614
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