Byron A. Eklund, age 90, of Mitchell, Nebraska, passed away peacefully at the Mitchell Care Center on Tuesday, December 12. Byron was born on Halloween, 1922 in Bemidji, Minnesota and grew up on a family farm in the Borup-Ada area until he graduated from high school. He and a friend promptly traveled to California where he worked at various jobs until he entered the Army Air Corps at the beginning of World War II. He served in the Air Corps Training Command, and was Crew Chief on a B-25 bomber.
After the war, By attended the University of Minnesota for two years; transferring to the University of Washington where he graduated with a degree in Journalism and Advertising. While at the University of Washington, he met and married Clarice Harrington from Ellensburg, WA. They were blessed with the births of son Steven and daughter Nancy Eve. Clarice passed away in 1999 despite Byron’s devotion to her care.
By worked in the advertising field in Seattle, where he advised many prominent businesses including the Pike Place Market, the Plaster Institute (creating the slogan “Knock On The Wall” to assure home buyers that their home was finished with genuine lath and plaster), and Skagit Boat Works.
After a number of successful years in Seattle, he was appointed Director of Public Relations for the American Chiropractic Assn. in Des Moines, Iowa. In that position, he was instrumental in convincing members of Congress to include payment for chiropractic care in the new Medicare program.
In 2002 he met Nancy Mobley of Arlington, WA; they married in 2010. Byron and Nancy moved from Washington to Morrill, NE in 2003.
By was well known around Morrill for his vegetable garden, complete with scarecrow. His neighbors were generously supplied with vegetables each summer. By and Nancy were active members of the Morrill Community Development Group for several years and greatly enjoyed living there.
By was compared by friends to the “Energizer Bunny” as he was always working at something, especially out-of-doors. He kept up his yard with devotion, wanting his lawn to green up the earliest in the neighborhood. He was an excellent craftsman in wood, creating a small version of a totem pole modeled after the ones made by early Native Americans.
He is survived by his wife Nancy; son Steve and wife Renee of Kansas City, MO; daughter Nancy Eve Eklund of Seattle, WA; brothers Glenn (Margaret) Eklund of Oak Harbor, WA and Erling Jene Eklund of Spanaway, WA; granddaughter Katie (Ken) and great-grandson Ian Matlock of Colorado; step-daughter and son-in-law Jenny and Michael McCreary of Morrill; granddaughters Marina McCreary and Crystal (Craig) Martin; and great-granddaughter Trinity Martin of Torrington, WY. Special friends are Janette Reichert, Janie Keller, Donna Murphy and Mailen Sbatella who cared for him devotedly during his last illness.
He never gave in to the infirmities of old age and never complained. He was ready to go to work every morning, even after his 90th birthday. His good heart, indomitable spirit, kindness and generosity will live on in our memories.
According to Byron’s wishes, there will be no viewing, nor funeral service. The family will plan a Celebration of his life gathering soon. Tributes of sympathy may be left at www.dugankramer.com