No services will be held for Rushville, NE, native Wayne Blankenbiller of Rexburg, ID.
An online memorial fund has been set up at gofund.me/0b8fa2a2 to honor Wayne and support the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where he served as a teacher and administrator in the 1990s.
Wayne LeRoy Blankenbiller was born in Rushville on February 7, 1947, to Daniel Jesse (DJ) & LeEtta Blankenbiller and passed away, the morning of August 15th, in Rexburg.
Wayne married Eva (Gibson) and together they had 6 children: Jennifer (Rock), Jesse, Margaret, Daniel (Magnavito), George, and Clara (Reason). Wayne had 8 wonderful grandchildren: Farrell, Megan, Max, Craig, Jared, Branden, Zachary, and Devin. His beloved nephews Todd and Will were like his sons, and “Uncle” John W Cedarface and family grew together as an adopted family.
Wayne enlisted in the US Army in 1979 and served in the Public Affairs detachment of the 1st Cavalry. He finished his career in the 111th Nebraska Army National Guard, honorably serving the US Army 1st Cavalry.
Wayne pursued education and shared his love of learning with his children. After graduating from Rushville High School in 1965, he went on to earn degrees from the University of Nebraska (B.A.) 1972, Chadron State College (B.S) 1976, University of Nebraska College of Law (JD) 1988, Chadron State College (EdS) 1994.
Wayne spent the majority of his adult life working in education. He felt the calling to serve his community and was a constant force in the schools in which he worked.
Wayne had many loves in his life including education, the Lakota Sioux, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which he grew up near in Nebraska. The Wounded Knee District School provided a home where he could support all of these loves.
Wayne started his journey at Wounded Knee in 1990 as a 7th Grade teacher, then became Assistant Principal in 1993, working closely with Principal RJ Trujillo. He wore many hats as an Asst. Principal including Personnel Director and Title VII Director. He later became principal and served until 1998.
Wayne took pride in the work he did in Manderson because wanted to help his community prosper. Go funding for 21 Macintosh computers and software for a computer lab. He wrote grants that helped provide winter coats for the students as well backpacks and other supplies for home.
An accomplishment that brought national coverage to the Wounded Knee School came in 1996 when Wayne received a grant from Highlight Publishing company to help update the library.
Even after he left Wounded Knee, Wyne was never too far away and always had one eye on that part of his heart.
Wayne was a beloved husband, father, uncle, son, brother, grandfather and friend to all whom he met. His love for family was felt by the people he befriended. He leaves his legacy in our hearts and souls.