Thomas Wanek

  • Tom Wanek Obituary
    Tom Wanek Obituary

Thomas K. Wanek, age 87, of Aurora, passed away on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at Memorial Hospital.
Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 30 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Aurora. The Rev. Loras Grell and Rev. Chris Barak will be the Celebrants. Burial will be in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Giltner. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. A Rosary service will be at 7 p.m., following the visitation. Mass and Rosary will be livestreamed on St. Mary’s, Aurora and St. Joseph’s, Giltner Facebook page for those who are unable to attend in person. Current CDC guidelines will be followed and masks are required. Memorials are suggested to St. Mary’s Catholic Church or donor’s choice. Higby-McQuiston Funeral Home in Aurora is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at
Thomas Kimball Wanek was born August 12, 1933 in Aurora, to Clayton and Martha Jane (Kimball) Wanek. He passed away on January 26, 2021 at Aurora, at the age of 87.
He grew up in Aurora and graduated from Aurora High School in 1951.  Tom then graduated from UNL with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1956.  He served in the U.S. Navy as an officer on the U.S.S. Skywatcher stationed out of Newport, Rhode Island.  Tom was honorably discharged on October 5, 1959.
Tom married Bernadine ‘Deanie’ Matas of Hazelton, PA on November 30, 1963, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hazleton. The couple made their home in Aurora.
Tom farmed the family farm in Giltner, first with his father, then later with his son and grandsons.
Tom was a member of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and the Mgsr. Campo Knights of Columbus Council, where he was a Fourth Degree Knight. He served the parish as an acolyte and as a trustee. For many years, Tom was the caretaker of the church, opening it up in the morning and locking it every evening.  From his earliest years, he was always close to the Lord. His quiet manner, gentle spirit, infinite patience, and humble generosity has had a profound effect on many. Tom and Deanie prayed together daily, including prayers for family and friends as well as people they had never met. The Waneks were regularly asked to pray for the family and loved ones of others, and they would add these names to their carefully kept lists, making sure to remember them daily. Their home was a warm and welcoming place, filled with love, compassion, faith, and button accordion music.
He was a devoted husband to his wife, and his example of loving and faithful service to his family will be remembered by everyone who ever knew him.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Kathy and Hank McFarland of Grand Island; two sons and daughters-in-law, Tom and Kim Wanek of Aurora, and Jim and Annette Wanek of Urbandale, IA; ten grandchildren; Tommy McFarland and Kate McFarland of Grand Island, Andrew Wanek, Michael Wanek, Jane Wanek, and Ellie Wanek of Aurora, Katherine Wanek of Omaha, Tommy Wanek of Lincoln, Anna Wanek and Jimmy Wanek of Urbandale, IA; two brothers, George (Margarita) Wanek of Omaha and Mike (Bonna) Wanek of Grand Island and numerous nieces and nephews and other family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Deanie on November 28, 2020.

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