Former State Senator left a lasting legacy

COLERIDGE — Former Dist. 19 Sen. Elroy Hefner died at his home Sunday.

Hefner, 96, served in the state legislature from 1976-1992.

Hefner was a huge Coleridge and Cedar County community supporter. The World War II veteran always got involved in community improvement projects and did what ever he could to support his hometown.

Even after leaving office, Hefner continued to be a statesman for this region and for the state of Nebraska.

When he turned 90 in December of 2013, he marked the occasion by throwing a community event, inviting area residents to join him for free coffee and rolls at Rodeo’s Bar in Coleridge. That birthday tradition continued every December from then on.

Hefner looked back on his life in a 2013 Cedar County News interview.

“I have done a lot in the 90 years,” Hefner said. “It has been an interesting life and I met a lot of people along the way.”

Hefner’s life has been anything but ordinary.

He is featured in at least two books.

His story on serving during World War II is included in the book “At War — At Home; Stories of Sacrifice and Commitment.”

Highlights of Hefner’s life also appear in the Nebraska Blue Book of Nebraska Legislative Council.

Hefner was born in 1923 and grew up on a farm northeast of Coleridge, graduating from Coleridge H.S. in 1941.

He had been encouraged to make a run for legislature by Jules Burbach who had served 20 years in the Unicameral.

“My predecessor, Jules Burbach, talked to me about running,” Hefner said. “I made the decision and started campaigning.”

A short time after the election, Burbach, the former Speaker of the Legislature, resigned as State Senator and Gov. Jim Exon appointed Hefner to fill out the month left in Burbach’s term.

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