LINCOLN — Dean Robert Kjar, 62, of Wood River died on Sunday April 19, 2020, at Tabitha Journey House in Lincoln.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date.

Lincoln Alternative Mortuary in Lincoln is in charge of arrangements.


Dean was born to Carl J. and Lea (Gillen) Kjar of Lexington on Oct. 29, 1957. He graduated from St. Ann’s High School in 1976, and enlisted in the Marine Corps following his graduation. He completed his basic training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Calif. Duty stations included Yokosuka, Japan and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was medically discharged with Crohn’s disease in 1979 and later received permanent retirement status from the Marine Corps.

He married Pamela Shellhammer of Loveland, Colo., on Dec. 15, 1979. Forty years of marriage produced two daughters, Beth Kjar of Minneapolis and Laura (Jeff) McQuinn of Grand Island.

Following his service to our country, Dean and Pam farmed in the Lexington area until relocating to Colorado in 1983. Dean obtained his master plumber license in Colorado while working for Allen’s Plumbing and Heating. In 1992 Dean and his family returned to Nebraska and established Double D Plumbing and Heating in Wood River. Dean thoroughly enjoyed his work because he loved meeting and working with the people of the Wood River community.

Dean was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wood River, and he was active in the Wood River Community Choir, the St. Mary’s parish, and the St. Mary’s music ministry. He volunteered to serve on various civic committees and organizations, including the Hall County Regional Planning Commission and the Wood River Centennial Community Foundation, and was a past board member of the Wood River Community Club.

In 2013, Dean was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.); in connection with his M.S treatments, in January of 2020, Dean was diagnosed with a brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Two of Dean’s favorite mottos that he embraced wholeheartedly included “If you’re going to be up, you might as well be happy” and “Control the controllables.” Dean was an avid sports fan, and he shared his knowledge through coaching youth sports and officiating middle and high school activities. His favorite hobbies included camping, fishing and spending time with his family.

Survivors include his wife; two daughters; a son-in-law; and two grandsons, Ryker and Graham McQuinn; his three sisters, Sherry (Terry) Christensen, Jan (Bill) Jacquot, and Kathy (Dave) Hofferber; his mother-in-law, Patricia Trostel; and many cousins, nephews, nieces and extended family members.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his two older brothers, Ken Kjar and Rollie Kjar, and his father-in-law Wally Shellhammer.

Memorials can be sent to the National M.S. Society, the Wood River Centennial Community Foundation, or the family.