Michael Vinson Bittinger Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

On the morning of September 25, 1944, at St. Francis Hospital in Grand Island, Nebraska, Vinson and Margaret (Hayes) Bittinger became the parents of a son they named Michael Vinson. Margaret brought her child home to Clarks, Nebraska, while the new father, Vinson, was overseas in the U.S. Army, stationed in India. Michael grew to manhood, graduated from Clarks High School in 1963, and attended Omaha’s Creighton University. In 1966 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and three years later was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

During the evening of October 10, 1944, in the huge St. Francis Hospital in New York City, Ann (O’Shaughnessy) Salerno gave birth to her firstborn, a daughter she and her husband Michael named Patricia Ann. Pat grew up in New York, graduated from St. Helena High School in 1962, and St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in 1966. In 1968 she moved to Hawaii to secure a position as a staff RN working with victims of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).

Pat and Mike met at a party in Honolulu and a few weeks later decided to get married. Pat left Hawaii and flew to New York to plan the wedding. Mike reported to his new assignment on board the USS Arcturus, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. On a hot Friday morning, May 30, 1969, in the Church of the Incarnation, New York City, the couple were married. They resided in Manhattan’s Sheraton Hotel and spent their weekend honeymoon enjoying New York City. Their first home together was 447 Pointer St., Norfolk, Virginia. Mike was discharged in 1970 and the young couple set out for home—Clarks, Nebraska. Pat recalls, “I saw myself as a pioneer traveling across the country in our 1969 Buick to a homestead in Nebraska, which was located somewhere west of New York.”

In 1970 they purchased a home in Clarks where they built a sunken swimming pool in their spacious backyard. Mike was employed as Vice-President of Clarks Telephone Co. and served on both the town and school boards. For eight years he was an Emergency Medical Technician for the Clarks Rescue Unit. Pat worked as a staff nurse at Fullerton Memorial Hospital. They are the parents of five children: Ann, nine years; Mark, eight; Maureen, six; Kathleen, three; and Michael David, two.

In August 1979, Mike accepted a position as President of Central Cable Corporation and moved his family to Central City, purchasing a home in the Hensley Subdivision. Three Bittinger children attend Central City public school and the family attends St. Michael’s Church. Mike, an avid golfer, is a member of the Legion club, Sertoma Society, and is on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is also a Cub Scout leader. Pat is employed as a staff RN at Bethesda Care Center and is a member of Rural Nurses United and the League of Nebraska RN’s.

Submitted by Pat Bittinger


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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