Donald Gene Vorce was born June 13, 1931 in Tobias, Nebraska to Clarence Marion Vorce and Maude Amy (Eastman) Vorce. He attended Tobias Public Schools, played basketball for the Tobias High School Tigers, and graduated high school (at age 16) with the class of 1948. Following graduation, Don spent time working on the railroad before enlisting in the United States Navy in January 1951. His Korean War experiences in the Pacific theater with the Navy’s 7th Fleet included assignments aboard the USS New Jersey, USS Wisconsin and USS Iowa battleships. Portions of his Navy service were spent in San Diego, Japan, and the Marshall Islands, where he was a witness to history on March 1, 1954, when the first Hydrogen explosive device was detonated at the Bikini-Eniwetok Atomic testing area. Radio communication was Don’s specialty. Having received training in Morse Code, a portion of his job was decoding encrypted radio messages for routing to the appropriate Naval officers. Don was honorably discharged in December 1954 as a Radioman Petty Officer 2nd Class. He returned to Nebraska, settling in the Davenport area and began his farming career. Don was confirmed and baptized at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Davenport, on February 14, 1956. He served on numerous boards and was a member of the church’s Voter’s Assembly. In November 1965, he was introduced to Arlene Wiechman. Realizing that God had made them for each other, on April 10, 1966, Don and Arlene were married in Barnes, Kansas. Their union was blessed with two children. Don farmed until 1991, when he and Arlene moved into town. He continued to help other farmers during planting and harvest seasons. Don’s love of Morse Code led to an amateur radio hobby which allowed him to make contacts with other enthusiasts in all 50 states and around the world, using his locally famous “N0NEN” call sign. He loved to play the button accordion, and brought joy to many with his musical performances at senior centers, nursing homes and Czech festivals. He served Davenport VFW Post 10579 as its Commander for many years, and also Davenport American Legion Post 335 as Adjutant. Don’s kindness, sense of humor, service to others, honesty and integrity all combined to leave a legacy that touched more lives then he could have ever realized.
He passed away Sunday, July 12, 2020 in Hebron, Nebraska, at the age of 89, with the love of his life, Arlene, at his side. Don was preceded in death by his parents, brother Marvin and wife Arleen, sister Vernita and husband Harvey Lipker, and brother-in-law Don Bennett. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 54 years, Arlene of Davenport, son Dale Vorce (Anne), Glenwood, Iowa, daughter Janet (Paul) Grovert, Shellsburg, Iowa and 8 grandchildren, Nathan and Hannah Vorce, Caitlin, Colton, Curtis and Cora Pestel, and Jenna and Nora Grovert, sister Carol Bennett, Florissant, Missouri, brothers-in-law, Alvin (Lois) Wiechman, Salina, KS, Richard (LaVonne) Wiechman, Marysville, KS and Don (Marcy) Wiechman, Longmont, CO and many nieces and nephews and friends.
Visitation with family will be on Friday, July 17th from 6-8 PM at Urbauer Funeral Home, Davenport. Funeral services will be held at 9:30 AM, Saturday, July 18, 2020 at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Davenport with Pastor Gregg Schaffer officiating. Burial with military rites will follow at the St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery, Davenport. A lunch will be served afterwards at the Davenport Community Building.
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