Erling Charles “Chuck” Nerem was born March 25, 1935 at home in Eagle Grove, Iowa, to Lawrence and Pearl (Hill) Nerem. He was baptized and confirmed at Lake Lutheran Church, rural Renwick. Chuck grew up as the eldest of four brothers as his parents farmed in the Renwick area. Chuck graduated from Renwick Independent High School in 1953 and attended the University of Iowa. He enlisted in the US Army in 1954 and served his first three years in Bremerhaven, Germany during the Korean Conflict. When he returned to the States, Chuck enrolled in Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was introduced to Lois Baumann while home to visit in 1958 and they married October 11, 1959 at Ullensvang Lutheran Church in Thor. They returned to Tulsa, where Chuck graduated from Spartan and both Chuck and Lois began work at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma.
In 1962, Chuck and Lois moved to Waterloo, where Chuck worked as a shop supervisor for Ben’s Aircraft Service and daughter Tracy was born. In 1964, Chuck, Lois and Tracy moved to Norfolk, Nebraska, where Chuck was service manager for Skyways, Inc. Son Brett and daughter Kris were born in Norfolk.
Chuck transitioned to an independent owner/operator of Hangar #1 of Norfolk, eventually closing his fixed base operation in 1977 and going mobile with his aircraft maintenance business. He also resumed his military career at that time, being promoted to Staff Sergeant, instructing at the Camp Ashland ANG Military Academy in NE, and serving at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. In 1979, Chuck became the fixed base operator of Antelope County Airport in Neligh, NE and served as Airport Manager for six more years, beginning in 1981. As NCO staff at the Military Academy, Chuck also had the opportunity to serve again in Germany, returning in 1984. He retired from the aviation business in 1987.
During this time, Chuck and Lois also owned and operated the Flying N, a horse and cattle ranch in Neligh, NE. He eased into military retirement by serving five years as a Range Maintenance Technician and Special Operations Trainer in Hastings, NE, retiring in 2000 having actively held the rank of Sergeant Major. After retirement, Chuck and Lois returned to Iowa, where they made their home in Lois’ hometown of Thor. Over the years, Chuck was directly involved in the Oddfellows, Boy Scouts of America, the VFW, the American Legion and the Isaak Walton League. Chuck wrote musical shows and sang with the Harmony Brigade Barbershop Chorus and numerous quartets. He was an active member of Ullensvang Lutheran Church of Thor.
Chuck’s priorities were always God, family, country and community. He was known for his leadership and mentoring skills, his encyclopedic musical and military knowledge, his mechanical abilities, and his talent with a baritone ukulele. After a 22-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Chuck passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family.
He is survived by his wife Lois of Thor, his children Pastor Tracy Nerem of Thor, Brett (Lori) Nerem of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and Kristen Nerem-Lowery of Moorland, his grandchildren Amber, Casey, Becca and Cornell, his great-grandchildren Sage, Willow, Coal, Ryker, Thomas, Ellie and Blair and his brothers Merrill (Charlene) Nerem of West Union and Clair Nerem of Badger and many beloved friends and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Ron.
Memorial Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6th with visitation after 9:30 a.m. both at Ullensvang Lutheran Church in Thor. Burial with military honors will be in East Ullensvang Lutheran Cemetery, Thor. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral & Cremation Service of Humboldt is in charge of the arrangements.