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1929 Delbert 2022

Delbert D Rathman

February 20, 1929 — January 19, 2022

Delbert “Del” Rathman, 92, passed away peacefully at home on January 19, 2022. A Celebration of Life service will be held 10:30 AM Monday, January 24, 2022, at Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Island with Rev. Luke Biggs officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday from 4-6 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the family for later designation. Online condolences may be directed to

Del was born on February 20, 1929, on a farm south of Alda to Herman and Mamie (Seier) Rathman. Del went to country schools and graduated from Wood River High School in 1947. He played on his high school baseball team and continued playing on the Wood River town team until 1966. He received a letter inviting him to try out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but he decided that farming was more profitable than playing baseball.

He joined the US Army in April 1951. He was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, served in Japan, and served in Korea in the First Armored Infantry Division during the Korean Conflict. He was honorably discharged in February 1953. One of his favorite stories was telling about how he had two birthdays in one year – as he crossed the International Date Line on his birthday on the ship bringing him home from Korea.

After his service in the Army, he returned to Wood River to farm and raise racehorses. On November 16, 1963, he married Janice “Jan” Sorensen at St. Pauls Lutheran Church in Grand Island. They lived on a farm south of Wood River. God blessed them with two children, Lisa and Darrin Rathman. Del and Jan enjoyed a trip of a lifetime to Denmark, Germany, Austria, and France in 1975.

Del raised thoroughbred racehorses from 1958 to 1985. His horses raced in Nebraska, Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arkansas. He had over 100 wins during his racing career.

Del’s family lived on or near the river nearly all of his life. He hunted and fished from an early age and acquired the nickname of “River Rat” from his hunting buddies. His biggest joy of hunting was teaching his grandsons and many area youths to hunt.

Del loved supporting his grandsons in all their activities. He made many trips to Colorado to watch football and baseball games and wrestling matches. He rarely missed a musical performance or sporting event that his Grand Island grandsons participated in.

Those left to cherish Del’s memory include his wife of 58 years, Jan; children: Lisa Rathman Crumley of Akron, CO, Darrin (Rachel) Rathman of Grand Island; grandsons: Luke (Kristen) Crumley and Layne (Samantha) Crumley of Akron, CO, and Devin and Zachary Rathman of Grand Island; great-grandchildren: Jack, Lena, June, Brexley, and Moxon Crumley, (plus one on the way) all of Akron, CO; brother, Elton Rathman; sisters: Eunetta Schoneberg and Emmogene Veeder; sisters-in-law: Janice Rathman Powell and Maxine Rathman; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

Del was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Jerome Rathman and Merlin Rathman; an infant sister, Lavonne Rathman; sister-in-law, Vera Rathman; brothers-in-law: Ben Schoneberg and Bob Veeder; and son-in-law, Lyn Crumley.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Delbert D Rathman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, January 23, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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funeral services

Monday, January 24, 2022

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

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