Leona “Onie” Wilkins

A Celebration of Life Mass for 89-year old Leona “Onie” Wilkins of O’Neill, NE, formerly of Hemingford and Chadron State College, will be held at a later date at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Hemingford, NE.

Burial will be in the Hemingford Cemetery

Memorials may be made to the Chadron State Foundation.

Online condolences may be left at biglinsmortuary.com

Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill is in charge of arrangements.

Onie Wilkins was born Feb. 4, 1931, in Alliance, NE, to Mike and Mary Walters and died peacefully surrounded by her family on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill.

Onie attended elementary school at District 40 east of Hemingford near her family’s farm and graduated valedictorian from St. Agnes Academy in Alliance. Following graduation, she attended Chadron State College and received teacher certification. 

Onie taught for 9 years in various rural schools in Box Butte County and served on the State Teachers Association Board. She then worked many years for the Hemingford School Superintendent before becoming the administrative assistant to the dean of liberal arts at Chadron State College, retiring in 2004. 

Onie married Wayne Wilkins at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in 1859 and they had three daughters Annette, Mary Pat and Molly. 

Onie was a lifelong member of Hemingford St. Bridget’s parish and Altar Society, serving on the Parish Council and teaching catechism classes. Her faith was a source of strength and joy, and was by all to be an example of Christ’s love and mercy. 

Onie was active in many community service projects as leader of the Kute Kookies 4-H Club and member of the Box Butte County 4-H Council, She also served as executive administrator of the Mari Sandoz Society while employed at CSC. 

Onie spent her final years in O’Neill, close to her family and grandchildren. 

She enjoyed cooking for her family, travel, gardening and spending time outdoors in her yard. She will be fondly remembered as a loyal friend and a loving, supportive and caring mother and grandmother. 

Onie was preceded in death by her parents Mike and Mary Walters and five siblings Floyd Walters, Edward (Marian Lee) Walters, Alma (Patrick) Walsh, Mary Pat Walters and John (Carol) Walters.   

Onie is survived by her three daughters Annette (Larry) Mitchell and their son Michael Mitchell, all of Lincoln, Mary Wilkins and Galen Houseman and their children Ellen Houseman and Adam Houseman, all of Kalamazoo, MI and Molly (William) Jennings of O’Neill and their children Nathaniel Jennings of Albion, MI and Chistopher Jennings of O’Neill; and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

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