History of the Nebraska Federation
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January 6, 2018
In attempting to reconstruct some of the early history of the Nebraska Federation of NARFE I visited with Mrs. Willa Graham. She and her husband Loren were in the organization almost from the start. Hopefully our memories are fairly accurate.

According to some early records of Chapter 199 a meeting was held in Omaha in June of 1963 for the purpose of form a State Federation. National Secretary Clarence Tarr and Field vice President O. T. Davis of Lawrence, Kansas were there. Mr. Charles Black of Chapter 144, Omaha, was elected the first president. During the time Mr. Black was making preparation for forming the Federation and during the first year it was in existence there were no funds available and very few guidelines for the president. Mr. Black traveled, made long distance calls and entertained guests at his own expense. At the next convention also held in Omaha a dues structure was inaugurated and a constitution and by-laws was written. Mrs. Graham remembers she and Mr. Graham were almost discouraged from attending the convention because of a very heaving rain storm. It was probably at this convention Mr. Graham was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

Mrs. Blanche Humphrey of Sidney, Ne was elected president in 1965. The State convention was held in Sidney that year.

In May of 1966 Lincoln hosted the convention at the Nebraska Center for Continuing Education. At that time Loren Graham of Chapter 199 was elected president and Laurence Neuman of Chapter 199 was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

I believe it was in 1967 a decision was made to hold conventions every two years. Thus State conventions were held in the odd years and National conventions in the even years.

Mr. Graham held the office of president until May of 1975. During his time in office he started chapters at Scottsbluff, McCook and Norfolk as well as reactivating Chapter 835 in Nebraska City. During his term Omaha Chapter 144 divided and Chapter 1370 was formed.

Laurence Neuman of Chapter 835 was elected president in 1975. It was that year a tornado severely damaged the motel chosen for the convention. A hasty change was made to the New Tower Inn. In that year members voted to hold a yearly two day convention.

In 1978 Mr. Edward Ries of Chapter 144, Omaha was elected president. Toward the end of his first term in office he became ill and Anton Krejci of Chapter 144 finished out the year. Mr. Krejci was elected president in 1979 and served until 1981. At that time Mr. Phillip Smith of Scottsbluff Chapter 1064 was elected as president and served until 1983. At that time Mr. Scotty Harris of chapter 199 Lincoln was elected and served until May of 1985 when Mr. Jack Eisele of chapter 199 Lincoln succeeded him as State Federation president.

Early chapters in the Federation were Lincoln, Hastings, Omaha, Sidney, Blair, Grand Island and Nebraska City, Blair, Sidney, Nebraska City and Grand Island later terminated their chapters. At that time Mr. . T. Davis was Field Vice President. He helped found several chapters. If there were four or five persons interested he would organize a chapter. The Nebraska City Chapter was reactivated in 1969 and the Grand Island Chapter in 1976.

Since 1976 chapters have been organized in Holdrege, Alliance, Chadron, Columbus, Kearney, Fremont, Ainsworth, North Platte and Fairbury.

In 1976 Legislative representatives from each chapter were called to a meeting in Lincoln for the purpose of forming a State Legislative Committee. Mr. Wallace Lundeen of Chapter 199 was elected chairperson and Mr. Ron Delaney of Chapter 144 in Omaha was elected Vice Chairperson. Due to their efforts a bill, LB 804 which would have given retirees of $2500.00 for single persons and $3750.00 for a couple was introduced before the Nebraska State Legislature. The legislature decided that because they were in short session and didn't have time to properly study the bill it would be held in committee. Almost from the time the Federation was first organized it was attempted to get some form of tax relief for retirees through the legislature. Their efforts have been supported by letters from members all over the State. Many have traveled to Lincoln to appear before the Legislature to support these bills.

It's good to see how the Nebraska Federation of Chapters has grown in strength and numbers through the efforts of the able and dedicated leadership it has had over the years. While we are proud of the progress the Federation has made and is making it is always well to give an occasional thought of appreciation to those upon whose efforts the present organization came into being.
Cap - National Association of Retired Civil Employees