Vance Retzlaff – UPDATED


A private memorial service for 63-year old Vance Retzlaff of Chadron, NE, will be held at a later date.

Online condolences may be left at 

Bates-Gould Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Vance Retzlaff was born September 23, 1957 in Rushville, NE, to Robert and Lois (Evans) Retzlaff. He passed away in an accident near Hemingford on Friday, July 16, 2021.

Many knew Vance from Ag Repair, his father’s tractor repair business, where he worked with Verlin and Bob.  He was a diesel/tractor mechanic and went on to operate his own shop after his father retired.

In addition to being a talented mechanic, Vance was an avid motorcycle rider who started riding at a young age. He participated in many motocross and enduro races as a young man.  He never missed a Sturgis Rally and often toured the country on his bike with wife Donna. 

Donna and Vance had many adventures together over the years, including being chased by buffalo in Custer State Park and hiking Crazy Horse with Danielle, Josh, and their families. 

Vance was fiercely loyal to those in his inner circle and was always available to help a family member in need.  He worked hard and played even harder. 

Most recently, he took up riding and doing stunts on dirt bikes with Jsean, his right-hand man.  Vance and Jsean were inseparable, and Vance passed down his love of fishing camping to him.

He still had a kid-like love for the 4th of July, just like his father.  Vance always made sure that the Retzlaff firecracker ladder was supplied with thousands of firecrackers and loved to wake up Clinton with the cannon as early as possible. 

Vance will be remembered as a free spirited, hard-working man who overcame many of life’s toughest challenges.  He will be greatly missed.”.

Vance is survived by the love of his life of over 20 years, Donna DeCoste of Chadron, his and her children Joshua (Angie) Garner of Torrington, WY, Jarvis Garner of Gering, NE, Maisie (Josh) Petering of Alliance,NE,  Danielle (Ionon) Kathol and Joshua (Paula) Kathol of Chadron, his grandchildren, Nakisha Garner, Gavin Garner, Nakalyn Garner, Zoee Knaub, Jazlyn Garner, Madeline Garner, Josie Petering, Max Petering, Garner Petering, Marika Petering, Jsean Lamb, Devon Youngman, Makaelyn Youngman, Jerome Kathol and Astro Harris and his great-grandchildren, Tavin and Asher. 

He is also survived by his sisters, Mary (Ron) Shedeed of Clinton, NE, Marla (Pat) DeMars of Spokane, WA and his brother, Verlin (Lori) Retzlaff of Chadron.

Vance was preceded in death by his parents.