This year’s Arapahoe Prairie Pioneer Day’s Grand Marshals will be Lorris and Ruth Haarberg, Arapahoe residents since 1969.
Lorris was a 1957 Wauneta graduate while Ruth graduated from Arapahoe High School in 1960, they both went on to college before they met at Lorris’s roommates wedding. Each were in the wedding and walked down the isle together. In 1962 they were married. In 1969 opportunities brought the couple back to Ruth’s hometown of Arapahoe. Lorris was working with the USDA, and his job would require him to travel to cities around Lincoln.
The couple had the opportunity to buy Wagner’s Supermarket from Ruth’s father, Jack, a WWII Veteran, in 1982 and they are still the current owners and operators. In 1999 Ruth opened Wagner’Quilt Shop in the balcony of the store; which then led to the opening of Wagner’s Quilts and Conversations building in 2009. Lorris commented that they have really put their life and hearts into their business over they years and enjoy the people, he also said they have attended a lot of soup suppers and enjoy them all.
Lorris and Ruth both enjoy all of their children and grandchildren. The couple had three daughters, the late Shelli Wendland and husband Dave Wendland who lives in Holbrook, Gretchen and Mike Kubik of Cambridge and Steph and Scott Davis of Wahoo. The couple is also proud grandparents to Julie and Jordan Thies of Doniphan, Andy and Molly Wendland of Arapahoe, Taylor Kubik and Travis Kubik of Cambridge, Zach Davis of Kansas City, Nathan Davis of Lincoln and Faith Davis of Wahoo.
Over the years both Lorris and Ruth have been involved in many activities. Lorris has been a Lions Club member for over 45 years and has served on the Trinity Lutheran Church board in various positions. Lorris has been on the International Board of Governer’s and a Past Chamber President. He commented he has most enjoyed leading the adult bible study over the years when they had an absence of a pastor at church. Ruth has been a former church organist for over 30 years has also been a Chamber President and has helped with Holiday Highlights. She’s been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and LWML and currently helps with the sewing classes at the quilt shop.
Even though the couple has a busy life they still find time for themselves and for the hobbies they enjoy. Ruth enjoys to garden and loves her quilting, which her mother, Ellen, taught her. Lorris enjoys all the church work he does and enjoys reading magazines and newspapers and Ruth commented he’s also pretty “tech savvy.”
When they think of Prairie Pioneer Days they sometimes get a little stressed, as it is one of their busiest times of years. They used to always stress over making a float for the parade until one year they decided to make a permanent one but it ended up in a ditch south of Arapahoe. They then bought their little truck and have been to over 100 parades and thrown out over 1000 pounds of candy. Lorris and Ruth both agreed they love to live in Arapahoe and it is such a great place to raise a family. Lorris commented, “We have lived our whole life sliding into home plate,” but they have enjoyed every moment of it. The couple is very thankful and appreciates being named Grand Marshals and they look forward to seeing everyone for the Prairie Pioneer Days!