Zalia Fern Nitsch, age 96, of Chadron, NE, formerly of Hayes Center, NE passed away on Monday, January 6, 2020 at Prairie Pines Lodge in Chadron.
Zalia was born April 18, 1923 to parents Orson William and Clara Cad (Hinton) Claflin in Frontier County near Stockville, NE. Zalia was the twelfth child in her family although two little boys died, one at birth and one at two weeks. All ten surviving children were musically inclined. The house shook many a day when the children would take out their fiddles, guitars, banjos and piano.
Zalia married Ivan LeRoy Nitsch on June 29, 1940 in Oberlin, KS. Ivan and Zalia made their home on the farm homesteaded by Ivan’s grandfather, Joseph. The couple purchased the land in 1951. Six children were born to this union: LeRoy Ronald, Gilbert Dean, Douglas Paul, Elaine Iris, Roger Larry and Charles Gaylord.
Zalia was a devoted wife and mother; cooking, cleaning, sewing and canning the huge garden raised on the farm to provide food for the family thru out the year. Family time was spent playing cards, going to the movies, stock car racing, baseball games and then sports at Hayes Center High School. Zalia had an upholstery business; making couches, chairs and many other pieces of furniture beautiful. She also taught piano lessons for many years.
In 1980, Ivan and Zalia bought a home in Hayes Center where she continued her many interests along with spending time at the senior center making noodles, cooking or lending a hand at whatever the task was that day. Pies, cinnamon rolls, apple dumplings, and jellies were some of her specialties.
Zalia belonged to several clubs, including the Mary Janes. She loved to golf and quilt, which she did at least one day a week. She played spoons in the Hayes Center Kitchen Band, traveling across southwest Nebraska. Zalia loved to travel, visiting her children and grandchildren.
Zalia was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of fifty three years, Ivan Nitsch; son, Gilbert Nitsch; daughter in laws, Kathleen Nitsch and Linda Nitsch; five grandchildren, Kelly Lee, Brently, Rhonda, Earl, and Kelly Ann; seven brothers, four sisters and all of their spouses.
Those left to celebrate her life include her sons, Leroy Nitsch, Douglas (Kay) Nitsch, Roger (Ginn) Nitsch and Charles (Marla) Nitsch; daughter, Elaine (Kent) Haarberg; twenty two grandchildren; two step grandchildren; fifty four great grandchildren; five step great grandchildren; eleven great great grandchildren; as well as a host of extended family members and friends.
To send flowers to Zalia's family, please visit our floral section.
Hayes Center Senior Center
PO Box 366, Hayes Center NE 69032