Byron Wayne Fallesen, 77, died on Dec. 26, 2019, at his home in Elwood, after a brief and “just bizarre” (his words) bout with cancer. He had just bravely endured his least favorite holiday with his Christmas loving family, and passed away in his sleep.
It was Byron’s wish to be cremated with no service, as he was convinced that no one would come. We are respectfully defying his wishes and will be hosting a Celebration of Life on Jan. 2, 2020 at the Cozad Elks Club, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please feel free to come and share in some food and drinks, and, if comfortable, a story or two about Byron.
Byron was born in California, on Sept. 9, 1942, conceived in the infamous blackout that occurred earlier that year. As a result, whether consciously or subconsciously, Byron would spend the rest of his life flipping on light switches in every room he entered. The family later moved to Neligh, where his parents joined the family farming business.
Although Byron would have preferred to remain an only child, he was joined by a brother, Bob, which resulted in Byron running away to live with his Uncle Bud. The stay was short-lived and when, many years later, his brother Bill entered the fray, Byron took it in stride as he was leaving for college the next year.
Byron entered elementary school at the second grade level and graduated at the age of 16. After some disastrous attempts to engage in the family farming business, his father calmly advised him to find another vocation. Byron attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and graduated from the College of Law at the age of 22.
No one is quite sure how Byron landed in Lexington, but we do know that he stayed and practiced law in one office or another for over 50 years, until his wife strongly urged him to retire just a few years ago. He worked with many attorneys, and learned something from every one of them. Byron enjoyed the practice of law, and on most days, felt rewarded in his choice of vocation. His family also enjoyed having their taxes and estate planning done free of charge.
Byron’s love life is sparse in details, as he always claimed that a gentleman didn’t speak of such things. We do know that Byron married Susan Rogers and that they had two daughters, Jennifer and Katherine. After many years together, this marriage ended. Shortly after, Byron met and started dating Cynthia Orcutt. At some point in the relationship, Byron asked permission to move in to Cindy’s home, where she resided with her three daughters. A vote among the girls was taken, and Byron lost in a heartbreaking 2 to 1 decision. Nonetheless, Byron persisted (from the confines of a tiny rental home) and in 1990, Byron and Cindy were married. Byron became a father to three more daughters: Heather, Stephanie and Rebecca. After learning his lesson in the “voting incident,” Byron would spend the rest of his days being the father they needed.
Byron’s affinity for sweet things was legendary and wide sweeping, from donut holes to Bunny Tracks ice cream. It was not uncommon to find a stash of cookies hidden in his room, and he was fond of bringing home a discounted sheet cake with the random intended recipient’s name emblazoned across the top. He absolutely hated white cheese of any sort, and instead kept a 5 pound block of Kraft American cheese on hand at all times. He could use a cheese cutter with military precision, and knew instantly if someone else had attempted to slice his cheese.
Byron golfed regularly and usually in the company of Ken VerMaas, Swede Nelson, or Jim Murphy, when he felt like losing money. Sadly, after a shoulder injury, followed by an elbow injury, Byron gave up golfing, which he said he was never good at anyway. He then embraced his lifelong love of hunting
Byron was the epitome of grumpy in his persona, but he was, in fact, the complete opposite. While he was a “man’s man,” he was also moved to tears by a good country song, any movie involving an animal's peril, and the occasional segment on “CBS Sunday Morning. ” He loved his pets and his people deeply, and took the loss of each one terribly. He believed that every person could contribute something, no matter what job they held. He had an almost asthmatic laugh, but when you were rewarded with it, you knew you had made it. Byron was steadfast in his integrity and never compromised. He was loyal in his relationships, and though he seldom expressed it, valued his friendships greatly.
Byron was an exceptional husband and father, and there aren’t enough words or paper to convey the impact he had on the lives of his wife and girls. We will spend the rest of our time without him drawing on funny stories and memories of him; the wit and wisdom of this very special man.
He is survived by his brothers, Bill and Bob. He leaves to mourn his wife of almost 30 years, Cynthia Fallesen, his daughters, Jenny Rogers (Clove Galilee), Heather (Justin) Collins, Stephanie (Roben) Ostergard, Kate Fallesen, and Rebecca (Chris) Horn, grandchildren Abbie Neujahr, Emma Collins (Terek Molzahn), Delaney Collins, Charlie Horn, Sam Horn, Abby Sabin, Alexa Libal, and Stefen Ostergard, and pets Itty Bitty and Sam (the cat).
Byron was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Mildred, his favorite Uncle Bud, many exceptional colleagues, friends, family members and beloved pets, especially his dog Elmo, and cat, Gray Kitty (f/k/a Peppermint).
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com