BEATRICE – The Chief of the Beatrice Rural Fire Department died, unexpectedly, Tuesday. James “Jim” Engel passed away at Bryan LGH Medical Center West in Lincoln, at the age of 59.
The Beatrice native graduated from Beatrice High School in 1977 and earned an Associate Degree in Science from Southeast Community College, at Milford. After working for Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas…he returned to the rural Beatrice area in 1984, married, and farmed with his wife, Robyn.
Engel began volunteering for the Beatrice Rural Fire Department in 1984 and became Chief of the department in 2004. Engel promoted the safety of his fellow firefighters and worked to help provide them the best possible training and equipment.
Harman-Wright Mortuary of Beatrice says Engel also served on the Midland Township Board and was known for getting up early and plowing snow from rural neighbors’ driveways. The couple raised cattle on their farm north of Beatrice. Engel was a past member of the Three-Gs Four-H Club and along with his wife were avid fans of Nebraska Volleyball and Basketball.
Engel is survived by his wife, parents and two sisters. Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 5th, 10:30 a.m., at Centenary United Methodist Church in Beatrice.