Published On: Wed, Nov 2nd, 2011

Obituary – Nona (Wendt) Modde Albers

OMAHA — Long-time local artist and teacher, Nona Jean Wendt Modde Albers, 85, died peacefully Oct. 30, 2011, surrounded by her family.
The family will host a memorial service in Hartington where her ashes will be interred in the Hartington Catholic Cemetery. Arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Nona lived in Hartington for over 30 years with husband, Paul Modde, and their seven children. She was well known for her exceptional artistic and musical abilities and contributed many hours and talents to the community.

Nona was born and raised in Parker, S.D., the second of three daughters of Fred and Odessa Wendt. She was born Sept. 21, 1926. Nona helped her parents manage a hotel and boarding house, owned by her great-aunt, who she called “grandma.” She learned to cook, sew, sing in the church choir, play the clarinet and enjoyed the beautiful Christian friendships of friends and families in their Methodist Church.
Nona attended Sioux Falls Bible College after graduating from Parker High School. She graduated with a degree in art where her talents were displayed on stage in school plays, artwork for the school yearbook and many other school activities. She was the Vice President of her senior class and officer for many other clubs. She was crowned May Queen in 1948. Nona and her first husband, Paul, met at Sioux Falls College and married in 1950. Nona’s first job was at the Lincoln Regional Center, where she worked as an art therapist with psychiatric patients. Paul and Nona had seven children in 10 years, living in Lincoln, Omaha and finally Hartington, where the last two children were born. She stayed at home until the youngest began school. During these years, she was an artist by profession, continually crafting her talent through painting portraits, Nebraska landscapes, animals and wildlife. She contributed to the community by painting signs commissioned by businesses and volunteered many hours to local causes. She was known for her creativity in making unique and unusual crafts, including painting and ceramics classes. Nona taught art at the Hartington Public School for 10 years, where her students remembered her patience and encouragement to uncover their love for art. Her great sense of humor and “can do” attitude inspired many.
When she wasn’t working in the community, she was painting portraits of her children or designing their new home in Hartington, which she actively participated in building with her ingenuity and flair for decorating. She sang in the church choir as a soprano soloist, singing for many weddings and funerals. She took voice lessons and gave a special concert to friends to celebrate her music and art accomplishments. In 1980, Nona’s husband, Paul, died of cancer, and she relocated to Omaha. Four years later, in 1984, she met and married Vern Albers. They shared 27 happy years as a married couple. They travelled around the U.S. and Europe for many Veterans of WWII events of which Vern is an active member.
Nona was diagnosed with vascular dementia over 10 years ago, and lived at Silver Memories, a residential home for dementia patients for the last four years.
She is survived by her husband, Vern Albers, Omaha; sister, Lydia Lyons, Madera, Calif.; children and spouses, Jeff and Sally Modde, Columbus; Tom Modde, Lakewood, Colo.; Pat and Doug Martin, Golden, Colo.; Janine Modde ter Kuile, Annette and Jim Mahoney, Kathy McEachen, and Jim and Lesa Modde, all of Omaha; 13 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and two stepchildren.
The family also requests in the interest of creating a historical library of her art, that photos of her work be sent by mail or digitally to Janine ter Kuile, or mail photos to Janine ter Kuile, 7539 Sherman Drive, Omaha, NE 68134, 402-618-1756.
The family thanks the Hartington Community for their assistance in this project.