Paul James Crofutt, age, 96, of Keystone, passed away Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at North Platte.
Paul James Crofutt, son of Otto and Grace (Donohoe) Crofutt, was born June 12, 1924 at his grandparents' home at Ellsworth, Nebraska.
He attended numerous schools throughout the Sandhills and South Dakota, staying with various relatives and working for his board and personal expenses. He graduated from High School at Clinton, Nebraska in 1941. That summer and fall he helped his Donohoe grandparents at Ellsworth after which he went to work for the Abbot Cattle Co. For the two years he was at Abbot's he was on the Chuckwagon crew, and was never too fond of camping after that. After leaving Abbot's, he went to work on Ted McGinley's Red Deer Ranch near Valentine, where he met his true love and best friend, June Blomenkamp. Paul and June eloped and were married at Scottsbluff in 1946. Their friendship and partnership continued for 74 years.
Their first home was on the Ralph Hawkins ranch at Keystone. In 1949 they moved to Keystone where they operated the Central Office of the Keystone Arthur Telephone Company. The switchboard was in their home and open for business twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They operated it for four years. During this time the young couple purchased their first land, a quarter section northwest of Keystone known as the "Hans Thompson place." They moved to the farm in 1952 with two small children to a two room house, so a building project was in order. The first addition was completed with the addition of two more children. More building was necessary to accommodate a fifth. Paul and June purchased the "Berquist" place in 1961 and moved to a much larger house there.
Paul and June farmed and ranched north of Keystone for 60+ years. They raised 5 children and always had room for a few more. In 2003 they sold part of the place to Ron and Lea Ann Graham which allowed them to return to their original land purchase to enjoy their retirement.
Paul was active in his community, serving on the Keystone School Board, the Election Board, the Historical Society and as a leader of 4-H. He was a member of the Keystone Presbyterian Church and was ordained as an Elder.
Paul is survived by his beautiful wife, June, of Keystone; children, Paula Crofutt (Thom Barkes) of Port Townsend, WA, Sally Crofutt (Larry Green) of Bayside, TX, Larry Crofutt of Bayside, TX, and Mary Lou Crofutt of Keystone; daughters in law, Rosalee Crofutt and Marcia Crofutt; sisters, Eileen Robertson of Roundup, MT, Viola Goldsmith of Ellis, IL and brother Wayne Crofutt of Little Rock, CA.; grandchildren, Kevin, Jesse, Ross, and Walt Crofutt, Joellen Clark (Ben), Hillary Green (Sunjay Lal), and Kelly Sue O'Brien; and great granddaughter Avy Clark.
He was preceded in death by his parents, son Wayne Crofutt, son in law Jimmy O'Brien and sisters Edna, Ruth, Doris, and Barbara.
A Memorial Service will be held, Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 10:30 a.m., with Ron Jay officiating at the Keystone Presbyterian Church in Keystone, NE.
Memorials are suggested to Keystone Presbyterian Church, Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Department or to the donor's choice.
Online condolences can be given at www.drauckerfh.com by clicking the share a memory button. The memorial service will be live-streamed at www.drauckerfh.com
COVID-19 precautions are still being followed and masks are recommended.
Draucker Funeral Home of Ogallala has been entrusted with arrangements.
To send flowers to Paul's family, please visit our floral store.