HARTINGTON — The community of Hartington and many Cedar County residents were in shock last week after the death of long-time Cedar-Knox Public Power District Manager Dan Leise.
Expressions of sorrow and gratitude poured out after learning Leise died when he was struck by a car while crossing Highway 84 here.
The Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors passed a resolution Aug. 10 unanimously recognizing Leise for his service to Cedar-Knox PPD and the community.
“Dan was a very good friend of NPPD and public power,” NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said.
Leise was well known for his passion for his job, his family and his community.
He worked his way up the ladder at Cedar-Knox, starting out as an apprentice lineman in 1982.
He then went on to become a journeyman lineman, meter reader, director of technical equipment and interim manager before taking over as general manager in 2006.
“Dan’s dedication to the customer and Cedar-Knox Public Power District’s reputation was paramount to him and showed in everything he did,” said Carol McGregor, the company’s office manager.
Mike Lammers, who serves as Cedar-Knox Director of Technology Integration, spoke at Thursday evening’s standing-room-only prayer service for Leise.
“We’ve been through a lot together, starting with the early days of reading meters along the lake, with Dan always finding the perfect spot along the way to take a dinner break with a beautiful view of the lake,” said Lammers.
McGregor said Leise was always personable and easy to get along with.
“Dan was more like a brother to me, and we worked together for 35 years,” she said. “He will be greatly missed by our whole community.”
Leise’s nephew, Preston Leise, also spoke at Thursday’s services, sharing several fond memories Dan’s siblings had collected over the years. At the center of his talk was Dan’s obvious love of friends and family.
One of those friends, Jay Hochstein, also spoke at Thursday’s sevice.
Hochstein was a high school friend. The pair also roomed together in college in Norfolk. Hochstein said they had a lot of fun during their college years. Once Dan met Deb Potts, though, everything changed for him.
“From then on, it was all about Deb.” Hochstein then told a story about how the old friends had reminisced one day.
“Are you still having fun,” he had asked Leise. “‘Yeah. I’m still having fun, but it’s a different kind of fun, now. Now, it’s all about fun with my family.’”