KEARNEY, Neb. – Carol A. Diedrichsen, 75, of Kearney, passed away Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at her daughter’s home after battling cancer.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, at O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral Home in Kearney with the Rev. Roger Wendt officiating. Burial will be at a later date in Gering, Neb., cemetery.
Carol Ann was born on Jan. 8, 1945, in Alliance, Neb., to Wesley and Margaret (Lattin) Ruf. She was raised on a farm north of Morrill, Neb., graduating from Morrill High School in 1963. She moved to Scottsbluff, Neb., where she met her future husband.
In 1964, she married Carl Painter and they were later blessed with a daughter and son, Dawn and Richard. They lived in Scottsbluff and later in Terrytown, Neb.
After losing their son, Richie, to cancer in 1973, they divorced in 1975 and she moved to Lincoln, Neb. She then married Harry Diedrichsen in 1976 and, later that year, they purchased a grocery store in Springview, Neb., which they ran for five years.
She gave her life to Christ in 1984. After another difficult divorce, at the age of 40, she decided to go to college and moved to North Dakota to attend Trinity Bible College. After graduating with honors and receiving her teaching degree, she got her first teaching position in 1991 at a Christian school in Winner, S. D. In 1993, she got even more adventurous and felt called to teach at a Christian school in Homer, Alaska, where she taught for four years.
When her parents’ health had deteriorated significantly, she moved to Torrington in 1997 and took care of them until their passing. She then moved to Kearney in 2006 to be close to her daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters. When her brother Ron was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, she moved him to Kearney so she could help take care of him and visit him at the care facility until his passing.
Carol’s life was fundamentally changed by her relationship with Christ as her Lord and Savior. He was all that she needed, and she was content to live a simple, quiet life as a single woman, serving him and serving others. She always said God gave her the gift of helps and that may be one primary thing for which she will be most remembered.
She wasn’t afraid of hard work and she had a heart for helping others, so she liked to be behind the scenes doing those non-glamorous jobs that are so needed and so appreciated. She also liked to tell others the story of how God changed her life. The sparkle in her eye when she smiled told of the peace and joy she had found in him. She was a member of New Life Church.
Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Dawn (Painter) Schoettger and husband Dave of Kearney; granddaughters, Kristin (Schoettger) Bland and her husband Cody of Hastings, Neb., and Jenna (Schoettger) Werner and her husband Jacob of Kearney; great-grandsons Malachi and Grayson Bland of Hastings, Neb.; and brother Charles Ruf of Torrington; as well as nieces, nephews and other extended family and friends.
Carol was preceded in death by her son, Richard Painter; father and mother, Wesley and Margaret Ruf; and brother, Ronald Ruf.
Memorials may be given to the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be shared online at www.osrfh.com. Services are entrusted to O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral and Cremation Services.