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1944 Mary Jane 2022

Mary Jane Whiting

January 28, 1944 — February 15, 2022

Mary Jane Whiting of Cozad passed away Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at UNMC in Omaha at the age of 78. Mary Jane was born January 28, 1944 in Beatrice, Nebraska to Ray William Besse, Jr. and Darr Otto Besse. Her father worked for AT & T Longlines and they traveled all over the country. They moved to North Platte in time for her to go through middle school, and she graduated from North Platte High School in 1962. She was a National Honor Society scholar and a member of Job’s Daughters. Mary Jane participated in many church activities at First Presbyterian Church in North Platte. In 1962, Mary Jane entered Hastings College as part of Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and met and fell in love with her husband, Larry. They married at the North Platte Presbyterian Church in 1964 and graduated together to become registered nurses in 1965. They then moved to El Paso, Texas in December 1965, where Larry was stationed at William Beaumont General Hospital and served as a lieutenant in the US Army Nurse Corp.

Mary Jane worked in surgery at Sun Valley Hospital in El Paso, and also worked in the Canutillo, New Mexico hospital doing all that nurses do in rural hospital settings. Their first child, Christopher Scott, was born on July 9, 1967, and in November they moved to Kansas City where Larry was in anesthesia school for two years. The family then moved to Silver City, New Mexico where, Kamela Jane was born on February 19, 1970. They moved from there to Cozad in November 1970, where they have resided for 52 years. While in Cozad, Mary Jane was a scout leader for the Cub Scouts and Brownies; she was a member, and later president, of the Cozad Women’s Club; and a member of the CO Chapter of PEO, where she served as president twice and held offices as chaplain and other stations. She also played in several bridge clubs, which she enjoyed and was a member of Town & Country Garden Club.

Mary Jane also served as a Ruling Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Cozad, was active in Presbyterian Women’s groups, attended Bible studies, and was Clerk of Session for many years, including at the time of her death. She was very dedicated to the church and served as Moderator of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska and worked at the Synod level of the PCUSA for national and regional events, including Triennium. She and Larry were senior high youth sponsors at the church for many years to several senior high youths who all went on to serve in their churches and communities after leaving Cozad. Mary Jane was proud of every one of these youth fellowship members and loved them all.

She was recruited originally by Harold Lewis, Cozad Hospital Administrator; Carol Cornelius, Director of Nursing; and Charlanne Jenkins, Director of Home Health to start the Central Plains Hospice Program, which covered a large geographic area. She went through the many administrative steps necessary and familiarized many patients, nurses, and physicians with the benefits of the Hospice program. She worked in conjunction with other Hospice organizations throughout Central Nebraska and saw patients in Cozad, Gothenburg, Lexington, Farnam, Elwood, Eustis, Curtis, and other rural areas. Mary Jane retired but returned to work to coordinate the hospice program volunteers and teach many classes. She felt strongly about the hospice program and retired again in 1998.

She loved her family, going to her grandchildren’s events, doing crossword puzzles, spending time at the lake, and her “mornings with Jesus.”

She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Larry Whiting of Cozad; son Chris (Vonnie) Whiting of Aurora; daughter Kami (Chad) Skinner of Omaha; granddaughters, Marisa Eileen (Brandon) Scdoris of Hallam, Nebraska; Jonna Marie (Levi) Shope of Hastings, Nebraska; and Kylee Jo Whiting (Jordan McBride) who are students at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska; grandsons Austin Skinner and Ethan Skinner, both of Omaha, Nebraska; sister Becky (Steve) Horne of Plano, Texas; niece, Camden (Andres) Chavarria of Houston, Texas; several aunts, uncles, and cousins; and many friends whom she loved dearly.

Mary Jane was predeceased by her parents, grandparents, parents-in-law, Joe and Flora Whiting; sister-in-law Charlotte Kuhlmann and her husband, Larry Kuhlman; her former brother in law, Lawrence Kuhlmann; and favorite aunts, uncles, cousins, and pets.

Memorials are suggested to the family in her name for later designation or to the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be shared at Services will be held Friday, February 25, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Jill Boyd officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. with family present from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Berryman Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Jane Whiting, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, February 24, 2022

1:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, February 25, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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