Alfred & Elizabeth Bader of Merrick County, Nebraska

Alfred and Elizabeth Bader
Alfred and Elizabeth Bader

Alfred William Fredrick Bader was born August 9, 1903, the son of Fredrick William “Bill” (b. April 18, 1877-d. May 15, 1941) and Mary Amelia Loeffelbein (b. circa 1878 – d. 1938) Bader. His parents were farmers and did custom farm work. By age thirteen, Alfred was doing a man’s work and serving on the Home Guard force in Chapman, set up during World War I. He started farming for himself with mustangs he’d tamed to work walking plows and cultivators. When two-bottom plows became available, he plowed with two teams: leading one and driving the other. Alfred raised 250 head of hogs per year as well as fifty cows, feeding out their calves. He also raised some sheep. He and his father did road work for the county with horses. Alfred’s old Case Threshing Machine is on display in the Merrick County Historical Building at the Merrick County Fair Grounds. Alfred and Reuben Fry had the first combines in the area when they became available.

March 10, 1925, Alfred married Elizabeth Louise Giesler in the Methodist Church in Chapman. The Lutheran minister from St. Paul, Rev. Harmon, officiated.

Elizabeth Louise came with her parents. Reinhard and Augusta Heitmann Geisler, from near the Rhine River in her native Germany, arriving in Chapman on her sixth birthday: May 17, 1910. Her parents were farmers. When Alfred and Elizabeth married they lived on a farm one mile south and one mile east of Worms.

Through years of long, hard work, Alfred and Elizabeth have become financially very successful. During this time they assisted many people and Alfred has served on numerous town, city, county, and state boards and committees. He has also given financial assistance to Chapman Telephone Company, Chapman Co-op, Merrick Foundation, and Merrick County Soil and Water Conservation District. Alfred and Elizabeth have donated to the Lutheran Hospital Building Fund (Grand Island) as well as furnished a room in Litzenberg Memorial Hospital in Central City. They donated the building for the Community Building in Chapman, the wells at the Chapman Cemetery, the land for Bader Memorial Park south of Chapman, and the Merrick County Agricultural Building on the Merrick County Fair Grounds. They have given many interest-free donations to various organizations and individuals who would have been unable to finance their projects elsewhere.

(Bader Park is listed in Chapman information, Bader Villa in Central City information.)

Down through the years Alfred was on the Merrick County Weed District Board for seventeen years, the Merrick County Soil and Water Conservation District Board for eleven years, the Farmer’s Co-op Elevator and Lumber Company Board for twenty years at Chapman, the board of the Farmer’s Co-op Store for twenty years, the Chapman Telephone Association for ten years, and the Chapman Rural Public Fire District for twenty years. He has also served with the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Merrick County Agricultural/Industrial Corporation, the Merrick Foundation, the Merrick County Board of Supervisors, the Centennial Agriculture Committee as its chairman (this group placed the Lone Tree Monument marker on the park west of Central City on Highway 30), the Mid-Nebraska Mental Retardation Board (he served as Region III President for twenty-two counties), Community Action Program for Merrick and Hall Counties, the Head Start Program for Merrick, Hall, and Hamilton counties, the Missouri River Basin Commission (during studies of the Platte river Basin in Nebraska), the Nebraska Senior Citizen’s Council, the Bader Memorial Park Board, the Central Platte N.R.D. Advisory Board, and was instrumental in establishing the Merrick County Joint Planning Commission. He has been a District #2 School Board member and on the Merrick County Fair Board for ten years.

In 1959, Alfred was cited with a DeKalb National Sorghum Yield plaque. In 1966, he received the “Outstanding Farmer of the Year Award” from the Central City Chamber of Commerce. Alfred and Elizabeth received the “Good Neighbor Award” from AK-SAR-BEN in 1979, an “Award of Service to the Nebraska Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.” the “Head Start Service Award” and “Agri-Businessman Award of Merit” from the Commercial National Bank in Grand Island. He recently received recognition from the Nebraska Senior Citizen’s Council for his contributions in that area.

He received Central City Sertoma Club’s “Service to Mankind” award in 1980.

Alfred is most proud of his long association with the Mid-Nebraska Mental Retardation Program. In younger years Alfred enjoyed hunting and fishing. Now he likes working to help protect wildlife and upgrading recreational facilities for the communities around him.

Alfred and Elizabeth retired in 1970 and moved to the western edge of Merrick County, near Grand Island. Their philosophy of life has been to make things better for everyone and to leave things better than when they received them. They have made one of their foremost goals the advancement of the mentally retarded, that they might progress toward leading happier, more productive lives.

Submitted by Paula Haynes Bosselman, from manuscripts belonging to Alfred and Elizabeth Bader.


Persinger, C. E., A History of Merrick County, Nebraska: From “the Beginning” to 1895, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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