Lyle John Fodnes was born April 30, 1936 to Walter and Ida (Iversen) Fodnes in a sod house at the Iversen farm in Berea, NE. He graduated from Alliance High School in 1953 and from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, NE in 1957. Following his service in the United States Army (1958-1959), Lyle worked at Hemingford High School as an English, drama, yearbook, and computer teacher. Later, after earning double Master’s degrees at Chadron State College, Lyle became the Hemingford High School principal and served in that role until his retirement in 1996. Following retirement, Lyle began his second full-time career at the Hemingford Ledger. He served there as sports editor, advertising director and photographer from 1996 until 2018.
A long-time fixture of the Hemingford community, Lyle will be remembered especially for his concern for the youth of Box Butte County. This was evident from his decades of service to Hemingford Schools, and his dedication to mentoring young people and supporting HHS Sports, 4-H, and other youth organizations. In 2018 he was named the volunteer of the year at the Box Butte County Fair. For as long as anyone can remember, Lyle had been a part of the Fair, serving most memorably as the emcee for the Fair Queen Contest and as the grandstand-announcer for the Fair Parade. Lyle was also a long-time supporter of the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson State Park. In 1976 he starred as John Adams in the Post’s production of “American Primitive.” More recently, he served as a board member for the Playhouse. Lyle also loved the movies. As one of the “Bachelors Five,” Lyle helped reopen the Roxy Theatre in Hemingford for several years in the 1960s in order to give the Hemingford youth a place to hang out. And in more recent years, it was not unusual to find Lyle greeting moviegoers and tearing tickets at the Alliance Theatre. While he made an impact in all of his roles, people all over the panhandle will remember Lyle as the man with the camera around his neck. His love for photography began in High School and never stopped. His photos have helped document generations of history in Box Butte County.
The foundation for Lyle’s life of community service was his faith. He was a lifelong member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Alliance. He faithfully attended and served the church as a Sunday School teacher, confirmation instructor, and Parish Ministry Assistant. Lyle took to heart Jesus’ command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37,39) In the strength of God’s love and forgiveness, Lyle devoted his life to God and to others. His love and service to friends and family in the Hemingford community and beyond truly reflected that.
Lyle was received into the loving arms of his Savior on February 11, 2019 at the age of 82.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Ida. Surviving him are his sister, Jean Daugherty, and her husband Stanley; his niece, Krista Young, and her husband, Wade, and their children, Kalen Baertlein (Isaac), Ashley Young, Jordyn Kleinberg, and Kevin Young; his nephew, Kevin Daugherty, and wife, Elizabeth, and their children, Micah and Olivia; and his nephew, Shaun Daugherty, and wife, Beth, and their children, Jonas, Silas, Zachary and Amos.
Funeral services will be held Monday, February 18 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John’s United Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Alliance. Pastor Tim Stadem will officiate. Burial will be at 130 p.m. at the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery south of Hemingford. All are welcomed to attend. Visitation will be Sunday from 1-6 p.m. at the Bates-Gould Funeral Home in Hemingford.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to St. John’s United Lutheran Church, the Hemingford Volunteer Firefighters Association, the Hemingford Scholarship Foundation, or the Post Playhouse.
Online condolences may be left at www.batesgould.com.