Received word from Seawolf Mike Connelly after he had spoken with the wife of Plank Owner Seawolf Norman Ray HARDENBROOK, ATN2, Vung Tau, Maintenance, 06/08/1967 to 06/01/1968, that he passed away.
Norman Ray Hardenbrook, age 74, of Axtell, Nebraska, passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at the Good Samaritan Center in Ravenna, Nebraska.
A private family graveside service will be held at Mount Hope Cemetery, in Beaver City, Nebraska with Pastors Keith Theobald and Butch Hardenbrook, officiating. Viewing will be Wednesday, April 22, 2020, from 5 PM until 7 PM at Wenburg Funeral Home, Beaver City, Nebraska. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Ray was born on August 28, 1945, at Beaver City, Nebraska to Bud Dale & Vona M. (Harman) Hardenbrook. The family attended the Grace Brethren Church in Beaver City. He grew up in Beaver City and went to school at Beaver City High School, graduating with the Class of 1963. He served 4 years in the U.S. Navy including a year in Vietnam where he was honorably discharged. After returning home he attended school and worked in KansasCity, MO and before returning to Beaver City.
On December 19, 1970, he married Toni M. Smith at the United Methodist Church in Hendley, Nebraska and to this union two boys were born: Nathan and Tyler. They lived in Beaver City before moving to Kearney, Nebraska and eventually Axtell, Nebraska. He worked in construction forming his own company, Hardenbrook Homes Inc., starting in residential locally and later commercial construction across the country. He enjoyed teaching his employees the trade and seeing them be successful with their own businesses.
He was baptized and attended the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Kearney before attending the New Life Church.
He enjoyed coaching the boys in baseball, watching Husker sports and Dodger baseball, NASCAR racing (while attending races with his sons). He was also a member of the American Legion in Wilcox, Nebraska. The light of his life was his grandchildren: Ella and Carter, who affectionately called him Papa Ray.
He is preceded in death by his parents, father-in-law: Vern Smith, sister-in-law: Mary Brox and husband Jim, brothers-in-law: Jim Smith and Dave Buss.
He is survived by his wife Toni Hardenbrook of Axtell, Nebraska, son: Nathan and wife Brandi Hardenbrook and grandchildren Ella and Carter, of Minden, NE, son: Tyler Hardenbrook of Axtell, NE, brothers Larry and wife Karen Hardenbrook of Beaver City, Nebraska, Butch and wife Sue Hardenbrook of Beaver City, Nebraska, and Johnny and wife Karen Hardenbrook of Texas, sisters: Dotty and husband Tom Biros of Beaver City, Nebraska and Ruth and husband Matt Chamberland of Kearney, Nebraska, mother-in-law Carol Smith of Beaver City, NE, brother-in-law: Jerry Smith of Hendley, Nebraska, sisters-in-law: Terri Martin, Jo Smith, Cheryl Buss of Beaver City, NE, and Sue Kemper and husband Bob of Kansas.