James Katen


Inurnment with military honors for 82-year old James Katen of Gering, NE, will be held at a later date at the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery in Alliance, NE. 

Cremation has taken place in accordance with his wishes. 

Online condolences may be left at 

James E Katen was born January 16, 1941, in Twin Falls, Idaho to Emmett and Joan (Perkins) Katen. He passed away Wednesday, Sept 13, 2023, at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, NE

His family relocated to Nebraska shortly after James was born and established their family farm near Chadron. James attended and graduated from Chadron Assumption High School. 

He was drafted to the United States Army in July of 1964 and was honorably discharged in July of 1966. While in the Army, he earned the Expert (Rifle) badge and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. 

After his discharge, James enrolled at a tech school program in Fargo, ND, where he received a diesel mechanic certification. A few years later in 1972, he enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard and for one year.

James met Barbara Jane Tolstedt in 1967 and the couple wed on June 29, 1968, in Alliance. Three sons were born to this union: Jon, Greg, and Troy. 

James and Barbara made their home in Gering for approximately 7 years, but when James’ father died, they moved to Chadron to take over the family farm. 

They remained there for 2 decades, then made Hemingford their home for a short time in the 90s before they moved to Alliance. After 10 years, James and Barbara made one final move in 2010 and settled back in Gering where they resided until his passing. 

James embraced the farm and ranch life, and joyfully made that his primary career throughout his lifetime. He was knowledgeable in many areas of mechanics and capable of fixing just about anything. 

Working on vehicles and tractors was not only a skill of his, but something he also very much enjoyed. Many lessons were taught while working on vehicle repairs and projects together with his sons. 

James also worked off the farm periodically and was a valued employee during the times he worked at Cannon Brothers Ford and later Lockwoods. His interest in mechanics developed a taste in him for classic cars. 

James was a lover of all animals. He raised cattle and pigs as a farmer, but had numerous farm and household pets over the years. 

Family was of most importance to James. He was a man of few words, but occasionally he would share a bit of his dry humor. His soft-hearted ways made his love always known to those dearest to him. 

Survivors include his wife of 55 years Barbara Katen; sons Jon Katen, Greg (Melissa) Katen, and Troy (Tawny) Katen; grandchildren Caitlin, Cole, Paige, Morgan, Natalie, Brooke, McKenzie, and Bennie; brothers Joe Katen and Duane (Sally) Katen; sister Teresa Katen; sisters-in-law Linda (Kim) Ahlschwede and Peggy Katen; other extended family members; and many friends. 

James was preceded in death by his parents Emmett and Joan; in-laws, Wilber and Gertrude Tolstedt; brother Ed; and sister and brother-in-law Katherine and Jay Bradt

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