Samuel Reed Branstetter

July 30, 1930November 23, 2021

Samuel (Sam) Reed Branstetter, Sr. (91) was born July 30, 1930, on the family farm, four miles south of Curryville, Missouri to Frank T. Branstetter and Bertha M. Henderson. The youngest and last surviving child of 12, died November 23, 2021, resulting from complications of end-stage metastatic prostate cancer.

He received excellent palliative and supportive end-of-life care from physicians, nurses, and staff of Lincoln’s Bryan West Hospital, for which he and his family are eternally grateful. He was surrounded by close family daily while hospitalized, until he transitioned peacefully from this life to a “big jam session in the sky” as he’d say.

He grew up on a small farm south of Curryville, MO, until the family relocated to Bowling Green, MO, during The Great Depression. Sam returned to live and work on neighboring farms as a farmhand, until leaving high school. He enlisted in the United States Army, serving from 1952-1954 during the Korean War, remaining stateside. Post military service, he relocated to Nebraska, working in Omaha, NE and Lincoln, NE where he was employed 20 years (1965 – 1985) with the State of Nebraska’s Department of Roads as Road Maintenance Supervisor. He returned to MO in 1985 and moved back to NE in 2020.

To know Sam, is to know his passion for music and family. Sam was a gifted musician, playing acoustic guitar and bass for nearly 75 years. He was also an accomplished country music singer, with a passion for Western Swing. His prolific musical talent led him to form several bands, including Nebraska’s ‘Prairie Sons’ and Missouri’s ‘Swinging Strings,’ as well as many coveted spots in touring groups and opry venues across the Midwest.

He was inducted into both the Cowtown Society of Western Swing, and the International Country Music Hall of Fame. When interviewed by the Courier Post on his induction, Sam expressed his gratitude humbly, “Well for an old poor country boy like me, it was quite an honor,” he said, “I appreciate them asking me to be here.”

Sam needed little arm-twisting for a performance. He continued to sing and play guitar and bass on stage until a few weeks prior to hospitalization, last performing a brief impromptu set at the Beatrice Senior Center, where he was “pressured” by an enthusiastic crowd into performing - all too willingly, one last time. He even cooed or hummed favorite songs while strumming an invisible guitar or tapping his toes to a country tune while he slept.

He took pleasure in simple gifts like a hot homecooked meal, a good song, or a game of Pitch. He didn’t take much pleasure in losing anything, especially a game of Pitch. He often joined family in Lincoln for holidays or special occasions, where he was routinely the ‘life of the party,’ as a gifted storyteller with a booming laugh. He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by four children, Ronald “Ronnie” E. McBride (Chris) of Middleton, MO, Margie L. Kadavy (Mike), Sherla M. Post (Greg), and Samuel R. Branstetter, Jr (Teri), of Lincoln, NE; 10 grandchildren, Lisa Shimp (Scott Chamberlain), Regina Cover (Bill), and Melissa Basket (Jared), of Missouri. George D. Neberman, Deacon B. Neberman, both of Lincoln, JohnCarl Denkovich (Ryan Rehder) of Omaha, Zach R. Branstetter (Lindsey), Eric C. Post (Emily), and Stasa M. Denkovich-Becker (Shane) of Lincoln, Carl M. Post of Portland, OR; 12 great-grandchildren; and longtime companion, Neoma M. Patterson of Weatherford, TX.

He is preceded in death by late wife, Virginia (Ankrom) McBride, died January 30, 1995; infant son Frank A. Branstetter, April 15, 1959; son Emmett P. Branstetter, July 8, 1989; and Karen Bornemeier, May 7, 1998. He is also preceded in death by parents, eight sisters, and three brothers.

A visitation with family will be held Tuesday, November 30, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home, 6800 S. 14th St, Lincoln, NE. Private family interment to be held at a later date.

Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation.


30 November


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home

6800 S. 14th St
Lincoln, NE


Samuel Reed Branstetter

have a memory or condolence to add?

Virgil Watts

November 29, 2021

I sure will miss Sam , one of my best buddies we played a lot of music together. Sam was a great singer & musician & a good person
he sure had a lot of friends . He played music in Nebraska , Texas & Mo . He received several awards for his music . Great loss

Fred Hall

November 28, 2021

I worked many a night in bars and clubs around Lincoln NE as a drummer/singer while Sam played bass and also sang in the bands. You could count on Sam singing a few songs by his favorite country artists Ernest Tubb and Hank Thompson. Better yet he was fun to be around

Bill & Shirley Sproull

November 28, 2021

Our sincerest sympathies go out to the family of Sam. He was a wonderful man and dear friend to our family. Rest assured that he is now walking and singing with the Angels in the kingdom of our lord.