Steven Ray Messersmith, 70, of Alliance, passed away May 28, 2020 at the age of 70.
The youngest of three children and the only boy, Steve was born May 11, 1950 to Robert and Myrtle Emily (Bauer) Messersmith of rural Alliance. Steve grew up and spent the majority of his life on the Messersmith Ranch, founded by his grandfather F.E. Messersmith.
Steve attended grade school at a one-room schoolhouse in Sheridan County. A “herd” of nearby Messersmith and Bauer cousins – who were more like siblings – provided Steve with ample playmates growing up. As a freshman he attended the Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis then went on to graduate from Alliance High School in 1968, where he was selected Prom King and elected Senior Class President. He was also an active member of 4-H, FFA and the wrestling team.
Following high school, Steve attended the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and graduated with a degree in animal science. He was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity and a lifelong Cornhusker football fan. A fond memory was driving to Miami with his frat brothers and sleeping on the beach to watch Nebraska beat LSU and win their first national championship. During his time in Lincoln, Steve met Lynne Black of Central City, Nebraska. Following graduation from UNL he enlisted in the army. His background and love of animals served him well during his time in the service, where he was stationed at Ft. Monmouth New Jersey working as an army veterinary and research assistant. Steve and Lynne married October 15, 1972 at Fairview United Methodist Church near Central City. To this union son Clay and daughter Cara were born.
Steve and Lynne made their home at Ft. Sill Oklahoma as Steve finished out his service, then moved back to Nebraska where they entered a partnership with Steve’s parents in the family ranch. Steve continued the family tradition of raising registered Hereford cattle, annually showing bulls at the Denver Stock Show, Rapid City Stock Show, and Kansas City Royal. He drove many long hours delivering bulls across the United States and even Canada. In fact, such a trip was how Steve and Lynne spent their honeymoon.
Steve was heavily involved in his children’s activities, especially showing cattle at the Box Butte County Fair. Even after Clay and Cara were out of high school, he was a regular at the 4-H and FFA Beef Show, always ready to lend a hand and a not so subtle opinion. Steve was a lifetime member of the Alliance United Methodist Church, the Nebraska Hereford Association, serving two terms as President and served on the board of education of Box Butte County District #65-J. He officially retired in 2016 after celebrating the Messersmith Ranch Centennial. At this time, he leased out the land and cattle as he and Lynne moved into Alliance. In retirement, Steve and Lynne enjoyed traveling with Lynne’s sisters: Susan and her husband Mark, and Deb and Delbert. Steve always remained devoted to Nebraska football as he and Lynne would gather with their “Corny Club” friends to watch games. He also loved the outdoors, including hunting at the ranch or fishing at McConaughy with Clay, nephew Brian and brother-in-law Jade. Most importantly, he loved the friends and family with which he participated in those activities. His favorites amongst those people called him “Pops.”
Steve will long be remembered for his booming voice, renditions of the Macarena at weddings, ability to always be the life of the party and his meticulously grilled steaks.
Steve is survived by his wife Lynne, son Clay (Micki) Messersmith of Alliance, daughter Cara (Aaron) Wade of Alliance; grandchildren Kaitlyn, Shaylee, Jenna and Kaci Messersmith and Camden, Bryce and Amelia Wade; sisters Evelyn Phillips of Kearney and Carol Eilts of Lincoln; sisters-in-law Susan Black (Mark Seader) of New York, NY and Debra King (Delbert Bender) of Kenesaw; along with several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Herman and Myrtle Bauer and F.E. and Luva Messersmith and Gertrude Evans Messersmith; his parents; his father and mother-in-law Merlin and Lois Black; and his brother-in-law Jade Phillips.
Due to the Covid-19 mandates, a private family service will be Friday, June 5 at the United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Gideon Achi officiating. Inurnment will be in the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Alliance.
Memorials may be given to: PAWS (Providing Animals With Shelter), PO Box 117, Alliance, NE 69301; the Alliance United Methodist Church, 704 Box Butte Ave, Alliance; Wounded Warriors Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Online condolences may be left at www.batesgould.com with Bates-Gould Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.