Posted 12 months ago
By Kevin Horn
Brian Charles Silverman, 66, of Alliance, died Saturday, August 17, 2013 at Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, CO. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 23, 2013 at Mitchell Event Center with Jerry Smith officiating. Interment will be 3:00 p.m., Friday, August 23, 2013 at Oshkosh Cemetery in Oshkosh. The Brian C. Silverman Memorial Fund has been established. Friends may call at Dugan-Kramer Funeral Chapel in Scottsbluff between 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday. Tributes of sympathy may be left at www.dugankramer.com
He was born September 24, 1946, to Charles and Louise (Clemens) Silverman and was raised on a farm west of Mitchell with two older brothers and two younger sisters. At a very young age he worked with his brothers raising show stock for 4-H and FFA. Following the untimely death of his father in 1957, the family remained on the farm. The children, with their mother’s help, continued to work it and to excel in raising and showing winning livestock.
Brian’s formal schooling began at Fairview District #34. He attended three years of high school at Mitchell and graduated from Gering High School in 1964. He was active in the Math, Science, and German Clubs, as well as football, track, and FFA. He was a Junior Fair Board member.
After first attending Colorado State University and Western Nebraska Community College for a short time, Brian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1969 and a Juris Doctorate in 1972. Immediately following graduation, he began his career with the G. Randolph Reed law firm in Mitchell. In late 1973, he joined Panhandle Legal Services and then worked for the State of Nebraska Department of Social Services from October of 1974 to December of 1975. In January of 1976 he joined the Scotts Bluff County Attorney’s office as the chief deputy and was elected county attorney that same year and served in that capacity for 17 years. During that time, he was involved in the construction of the of the new County Administration building and the Events Center at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds and served as coordinator for preliminary remodeling plans of the old Courthouse building, which began in 1980. Brian played a leading role in the founding of the Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group (WING), which united anti-drug efforts by law enforcement agencies throughout the Panhandle and still exists today. He was instrumental in obtaining federal grant money for its operation. He also helped in establishing the Juvenile Detention Center and set up programs such as the county’s child support enforcement division, as well as its pretrial diversion and victim witness programs. Over the years, he prosecuted many difficult and high-profile cases, always with the best interests of his community at heart. He was always available and willing to speak to school children, college students, or civic and service organizations. He taught classes on criminal law to high school teachers through a Nebraska State Bar Association program and taught criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law for the Chadron State College Criminal Justice program through WNCC.
Brian was active in the alumni chapter of the FFA at Scottsbluff High School as well as the Scotts Bluff County Ag Society for approximately ten years, drafting their contracts, leases, and bonding agreement and serving as the Youth Activities Chairman 1985-86. He was a 4-H leader from 1984 through 1990. He coached Little League baseball and volunteered as a Scout leader, as well. Brian was there as an official at Year One of the Rubber Check Race at the county fair and was recently recognized for 30 years of service and dedication to it. He served on the board of the Nebraska Association of County Attorneys from 1982 to 1990 and held the offices of secretary, treasurer, and vice-president, as well as serving as president from 1990 to 1991. He was president of the Scotts Bluff County Bar Association during that same year. Brian was one of three Nebraska attorneys responsible for forming the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Association. In 1990, he was invited to attend the National College of District Attorneys’ Juvenile Justice Institute. He received the President’s Award from the Nebraska Association of County Officials in 1991. He was chairman of the board of the Nebraska County Officials Bond Financing Corporation from 1990 to 1992. Also in 1992, Brian was nominated by the Governor’s Office to the American College of Prosecuting Attorneys. At that time only nine Nebraska attorneys had ever received this nomination.
Brian and Deborah (Meier) Cotton were married on December 31, 1987, thus combining their two families. They lived on a farm north of Scottsbluff until Brian’s appointment to the district court bench for the 12th Judicial District in December of 1992. The family then moved to Alliance, where they have since resided.
As a district judge, Brian was chosen in 1998 and again in 1999 by 700 child support professionals from across the state to receive the Judge of the Year award given by the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Association. He served in all officer capacities for the Nebraska District Judges Association, including president in 2010. Brian made the effort each year to observe Law Day and perpetuate that experience for and with local school children.
Brian was diagnosed with head/neck cancer in early 2008, but returned to the bench later that year and worked until retiring at the end of 2010. Following retirement, he served on the Box Butte County Extension Board. He was a member of the NRA, the American Trap Association, Nebraska State Bar Association, and a former member of the Scottsbluff B.P.O.E.
Although Brian’s professional successes and accomplishments were numerous, to those who knew him well his career was but a small part of who he was. He considered life an adventure, which he enjoyed and experienced to the fullest. He was a hardworking man, to be sure, but was blessed with warmth and a playfulness that none could resist. Through the years, he was at various times a beekeeper, fur trapper, farmer, rancher, and calf-fitter extraordinaire. He never tired of learning and had an abundance of energy even following retirement and serious illness. Brian gave his all to everything he did and he thrived on friendly competition. His friendships were many, and all were unique and very special to him. He had a rare gift of making others feel that they were important and nothing could be more pleasant than the conversation at hand. He enjoyed gardening and most loved golfing, shooting trap, and playing cards with his buddies, his kids and grandkids and their sporting events, and any excuse for his family to be together. None of them ever doubted his love. His best work may have been as “Grandpa” to grandchildren who adored him.
Brian is loved and will be sadly missed by his wife, daughter Stacy and Alan Lenny, Max and Charlie; son Matthew and Gina Silverman, Logan, Garrett, & Tate; daughter Gretchen and Barry Nye & Cody; son Jeff and Amanda Cotton, Hunter, Tyler & Jake; brothers Stephen & his wife Debbie and Michael & his wife Brenda; sisters Becky and Barbie; sister- and brother-in-law Connie and Gene Koepke; several very special nieces and nephews; and the countless individuals who were fortunate enough to call him “friend.” He was preceded in death by his parents and his mother- and father-in-law who loved him dearly.