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Robert Lee McNutt - April 20, 2012

Robert Lee McNutt was born Nov. 18, 1934, in rural Hayes County, Nebraska, west of the town of Hayes Center. He was the second child and only son of Nathan Lee and Dorothy Pearl (French) McNutt. He and his older sister, Louise, were joined by three younger sisters, Norma, Doris and Bonnie. Family ties were strong in the McNutt family, a characteristic which has been passed forward to his two children, nine grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.
‘Bob’ McNutt and his sisters went to a near-by rural school for their first eight grades. Later they each graduated from Hayes Center High School. Bob’s graduation occurred in 1954. Young Bob was his father’s “farmhand” from an early age, especially remembering the terrible winter of 1948/1949 when he was out in blizzard after blizzard to feed, water, and check the family cattle.
In 1954 Bob joined the army. He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was discharged March 23, 1956. He was a member of the Palisade, Neb., American Legion Post 318 and a life member of AMVETS Dept./Post NE-14.
A son, David, and a daughter, Diana, were born to Bob and his wife while he was in the service. Later a second daughter, Gloria Jean, was born. It was one of the worst times in Bob’s life when little Gloria Jean died at just passed one year after ingesting a household product.
After serving his country, Bob farmed in Missouri with his father. They raised row crops and Black Angus cattle. After trying out this farming venture, Bob worked for a paint contractor, then went into business for himself. This work sustained him for the rest of his life whenever there was no other work available. Sometimes he worked alone or with only a few employees or with as many as 35. He worked mainly in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Bob was also a field representative for Gooch Seed and two other commercial seed companies in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska; manager at an elevator/mill in Lexington, Neb., as a cattle feed salesman in Kansas and Nebraska; and ran a Green House Operation in Sedan, Kan. He also raised dogs in four kennels he built. The revenue was superseded by his love of the animals.
Bob began playing guitar in 1964. Very soon he and Ron Scott and fourteen-year-old son David went on the road as the “Country Cousins.” Their three-piece band of entertainers evolved over the years, changed and grew. Eventually Bob and Ron split and Bob took a new group, “The Hard Time Raiders,” on the road. This last group was on the road from Wisconsin west into Montana, finally ending as an opener at Madrid, Neb., in 1975. Bob and his cousin, Ron Scott, were together in 1976 with a group who traveled around Nebraska for U.S. Bi-Centennial celebrations. Bob played from then into the 1980s with Ron and others at local events until he put away the music not expecting to play again.
In 1997 Bob moved back to Nebraska while a divorce decree became final. He took up commercial painting once again in Hayes County, a place he never expected to return to. His sisters Louise, Norma, and Bonnie, welcomed him back.
In 1999 Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He survived surgery in January of 2000 and two later out breaks when the cancer broke out in his bones in his lower back and left hip. He took radiation treatments for these. He considered himself a long-time cancer survivor, with the cancer in remission at the time of his death. Bob had other health problems and he overcame each in turn until failing kidneys were too much for his compromised immune system.
In 2005, Bob bought the bar in Hayes Center and once more became a business owner. He successfully ran the Circle M Bar for three years. A part of this success came with the return of music to Bob’s life. His friend, Ron Lytle, talked Bob into going to a “hoedown” west of Champion, Neb., at the home of Harold Harmon where several groups get together and play classic country, rock, gospel and some jazz music. A new band formed from one of these groups becoming “Bob McNutt and Friends.”
At the low point in Bob’s life after the bar was sold, Bob came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. A neighbor in Palisade where Bob had moved at the time he bought the bar acquainted him with the Palisade Methodist Church. He attended services sporadically for a couple of years but the fit was not right.
But God had plans for a spark of friendship and of companionship to blossom and grow in his life. Talking together and dating during the fall and winter of 2009 and the spring and summer of 2010, Bob and Deb discovered they were kindred spirits. She reached out and brought him fully into God’s family and gave him love and romance at the wonderful age of 75.
Robert L. McNutt and Deborah J. Rodgers became husband and wife on Aug. 14, 2010. They spent their days together traveling to many parts of Nebraska, and visited family and friends in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, and South Dakota. They had many common interests including church. Bob became a member of the Palisade UMC on Feb. 20, 2011. They were at musical events together beginning Feb. 14, 2011, Valentine’s Day with the “Friends” playing at each. One of their high points was a 4th of July party held July 9, 2011. People came from Imperial, Stratton, Trenton, McCook, Indianola, Hamlet, Wauneta, Hayes Center, Palisade and Yuma, Colo., to celebrate our country’s birthday.
He passed away Friday, April 20, 2012.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; daughter Gloria Jean; sister Bonnie Nadine Sevier; brothers-in-law Elmer Bryson and Darrell Tucker; nephew Eddie Beehe; and his father-in-law Glen Rodgers.
He is survived by his beloved wife Deborah and mother-in-law Margaret Rodgers, both of Palisade; his son David Lee and wife Cheryl of Locust Grove, Okla.; his daughter Diana and husband Steve of Fort Dodge, Iowa; nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren and by Bob’s three surviving sisters Louise and John Herron of McCook; Norma and Darrell Cox of Hayes Center; and Doris Bryson of Lindale, Texas; nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends; his band family, and business associates.
Graveside services were held at the Trenton Cemetery, Trenton, Neb., with military honors on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. with Rev. Bonnie McCord officiating.
Memorials may be given in his name.
Friends may send condolences online at Carpenter Breland Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.