Greg Vapenik, 62, a husband, father and farmer of rural Hayes County, was called to his home in heaven on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Greg was born December 9, 1957, to Leslie and Alice (Kaiser) Vapenik. He was raised alongside his older brother, Daniel, on a farm in northwest Hayes County, Nebraska.
He attended a one-room schoolhouse through the sixth grade; it was three miles from his home. There were a total of five students, Greg and a family of four brothers, during his final year of classes. That May was the end of an era as the school district was closed. Greg then attended Hayes Center High School and graduated as the valedictorian of the class of 1976. Against the advice of his teachers, Greg chose to be a farmer because he liked to watch things grow, and looking ahead, he thought it would be a good place to bring his bride and raise his family.
Early in life, he tagged along, later being able to help, then working side by side, he learned from his dad, his Grandpa Jim, and his Uncle Dutch “the Vapenik way” as they worked on the farm. You work hard, you are honest, you pay your bills, you don’t cheat your neighbors, and you scoop up the piles of grain you mistakenly dump on the ground during harvest.
Greg spent 40-plus years with his high school sweetheart, Peg McMichael from Wallace, whom he married on July 28, 1979. Their lives were richly blessed by one son, Jeff. Spending time with Jeff was very important to Greg. Whether they were hunting, fishing, watching NFL, or working hard on the farm, Greg was constantly trying to build into Jeff’s life. A friendship/bond formed that was very special. After Jeff grew up and spent years being an electrical contractor, Jeff’s heart would pull him back to his farm heritage. Greg always said that there was no higher honor a son can give a father than to follow behind him in his profession.
Greg desperately wanted to help get the corn planted. With stubborn determination, he was with Jeff and Peg in the fields this May. A true farmer to the end, he did not want to mess up a planting or harvest season, so he lasted until Sunday afternoon, June 7, before he died in the arms of Peg and Jeff at his home on the farm. They will miss him immensely but will take great comfort knowing he is in the presence of his God and Savior, the One who loves Greg more than they can comprehend. Greg was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Dan Vapenik.
A private graveside service was held Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at Morning View Cemetery at Wallace, Nebraska, with John Long leading a time of celebrating Greg’s new life in heaven.
Because of the times we live in, there will be no public gathering. Family and friends are encouraged to share cards with their memories with Peg and Jeff at their Elsie address or mail to Bullock-Long Funeral Home to be forwarded. Memorials will be used to support KJLT Christian Radio Station.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home of Grant was in charge of arrangements.