July 27, 1946 – June 1, 2012
Larry Wayne Painter was a cowboy in the true sense of the word. His family is nominating him posthumously for induction into the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame. We may be partial, but we feel Larry lived life the “cowboy way”, with hard work, a sense of humor, and being as honest as a handshake. It is fitting to nominate Larry after his passing because he would not have thought he deserved it, he was just living his life as he knew best, “the cowboy way.”
Larry was born to Gerald and Mildred (Jerred) Painter in Bassett, Nebraska, on July 27, 1946. His parents raised him and three brothers and one sister on a ranch 30 miles south of Long Pine, Nebraska. Larry learned early in life how to work hard and have a good time doing it.
Larry grew up spending countless days in the saddle and enjoyed a good horse, but had stories to tell of the renegades he rode too. Raising cattle, putting up hay and the other ranch duties became second nature, but there was a little time found for hunting coyotes with greyhounds in the sandhills. During the summer Larry also took time to work for Doyle Hollenbeck stock contracting rodeos.
A good cowboy is often complemented by a good wife, Larry found his better half and married Roberta Jean Fernau on February 23, 1966. They had four children, Benny Lee, Karma Laree, Bryon Wade and Monty Jum. Tragedy struck Larry and Roberta when their daughter Karma passed away when she was two years old. They always had a special understanding for families in similar situations.
Larry and his family established his ranch on the Painter homestead southwest of Springview, taking over the reins from his uncle Elton Painter. While the ups and downs of the agricultural economy often dictated the scope of the Painter ranch, Larry maintained an Angus based cowherd, and raised and sold Quarter Horses. There was also a time when Holstein cows were milked, a small flock of sheep were kept and hogs were raised. A few pens of greyhounds could also be found. A few times the boys were late for school because a coyote “ran in front of” Larry’s pickup loaded with hounds.
Larry’s life work was ranching but his passion was raising, breaking and trading horses. He loved to rope and supported his sons and grandchildren riding, roping and rodeoing. Each of his grandchildren were given a colt, Larry would have been busting at the seams to watch granddaughter Laree win the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association Barrel Racing in 2013 and 2014 on the colt he gave her and she trained herself.
Larry was a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association. Larry enjoyed going to horse sales and had an eye for finding a good one. He sold hundreds of horses and could remember the pedigree and history of many of them. Larry held a production horse sale for several years in various locations. Larry trained a lot of horses and while he appreciated different methods used for training, he thought there was nothing better than to get one started a few days and then get them to work behind cattle on the ranch.
For several years, Larry was a Keya Paha County Fair Board member. During that time he was instrumental in putting on the rodeo during the fair.
Larry was a member of the Norden Roping Club, later the Springview Roping Club which for a few years roped at Larry’s arena every Thursday night during the summer. Larry enjoyed helping young kids learn to rope, he often mounted them on his own horses. He would have been especially proud of his 6 year old granddaughter roping her first steer at roping club in 2014 on his old bay horse.
Having good neighbors and friends were important to Larry. With a phone call, he would drop what he was doing to help a neighbor. Springtime brandings and fall cattle work were numerous and a good chance to share work, food and fellowship. There were many a story recalled about a cold cattle drive, or someone getting bucked off. In true cowboy fashion, Larry never knew a stranger, he could visit with anyone.
Larry dealt with diabetes and heart problems for many years. Their toll on his body resulted in his passing away June 1, 2012, at the age of 65 years, 10 months and 5 days.
Larry was preceded in death by his daughter, Karma (1970); father, Gerald (2007); twin granddaughters, Derby Jean and Dally Lou (2007); mother-in-law, Donna Fernau (2012); father-in-law, Lee Fernau (1987); and brother-in-law, Milton Fernau (1965).
As of 2014, Larry’s existing family includes his wife, Roberta; sons: Ben; Bryon (Kelly); and Monty (Angie); grandchildren: Morgan, Heidi, Riley, Laree, Brady, Gus, Bryce, Cinch, Kit & Bit; great-grandchildren: Zoey & Pistol; mother Mildred Painter; brothers, Marlin, Donnie, Roger and sister Donita; and numerous other relatives.