On March 4, 1917, Emma was the eighth child born
to John and Christina (Boepple) Ziegler at Bethune, Colorado. She was baptized
at Immanuel Lutheran Church and received her early Christian training from her
parents and the church family. Emma was confirmed at an early age.
After finishing the eighth grade, she worked for
several families in the Bethune and Burlington area doing general housework and
caring for newborn babies. She and her twin sister, Elma, also worked as
housekeepers at Sloans Motel for several years.
On April 11, 1937, Emma Ziegler and Arthur Dobler
were united in marriage. The ceremony took place on a Sunday afternoon at the
Hope Congregational Church parsonage. They left that same afternoon to begin
their life together on an irrigated farm near Proctor, Colorado. It was at this
location, that their first son, Kenneth Lee, was born on March 29, 1938.
After the drought conditions had subsided, in
1940, Art and Emma moved north of Bethune, back to the original family homestead
where Art and his brothers had grown up. On December 1, 1942, a second son,
Charles Leslie, was born.
They moved to a home three miles west of
Burlington in the fall of 1952. They made this move so their sons could attend
school at the Burlington High School. Before this move took place, they began
planting the windbreak around the new farm location. Approximately three years
later, they began building a new house. At the time of the move, they
transferred their church membership to the First Christian Church in Burlington,
During their many years of farming and ranching,
Emma was always willing to lend a helping hand and was ready to do whatever was
Emma enjoyed many years of singing in the church
choir and providing fresh flower arrangements from her yard for the worship
service and other church activities. She and Betty Riemer were relied upon for
decorations at many of the church festivities. Emma was always one of the first
to arrive at the church for cleaning and painting days, as well. She was very
active in the Church Women’s Fellowship group and the Burlington Garden Club.
She loved her yard and willingly shared many lupine and columbine seeds, alum
bulbs, tulips, iris, and other flowers, bushes and trees. She completely wore
out several pairs of gloves, hoes, shovels, scoops, and spray nozzles that fit
on the end of a hose.
Emma loved her great grandchildren, and they
always thought that she should share in their events such as ballgames and 4-H
projects and activities. She attended all that she could, up until the last
couple years. Her love for cats can be seen in her great grandchildren, as well.
She was very proud to be able to take her white cats to the school for show and
Emma had a very close relationship with her twin
sister, Elma Emma. They would visit daily on the telephone, in German of course.
If they were planning on going to the same place, you would usually see them
dressed alike. They continued to do this up until the time they needed more
Emma moved to the Legacy in Burlington in
December 2002. On October 4, 2004, she moved to the Good Samaritan Care Center
in Goodland, Kansas where she resided until the time of her death on May 21,
Emma is survived by her son, Kenneth and wife
Cathy, grandson, Ron Dobler, granddaughter, Luann Nitsch and husband Jeff, and
great grandchildren, Caleb and Caitlyn Nitsch, all of Burlington. Other
survivors are a twin sister Elma Stahlecker of Colorado Springs, brother-in-law,
Elmer Dobler and wife Delores of Burlington, sister-in law, Freda Dobler of
Independence, Missouri, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death was her husband, Art, of
65 years (April of 2002), son Charles (June of 1963), her mother and father,
brothers Richard, Bill, Otto, and Fred Ziegler, and sisters Clara Ziegler, Lena
Strobel, Anna Strobel, and Esther Arends.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, May 25,
2006 at 10:30 AM at the First Christian Church in Burlington, with Pastors Ralph
Datema and Paul Barker officiating. Merna Carlin, a special friend, provided
organ music for the service. Musical selections were provided by Emma’s nephews.
They were accompanied by her granddaughter, Luann Nitsch. Casket Bearers were
grandson, Ron Dobler, Jeff Nitsch and nephews, Leroy Arends, Arnold Strobel,
Leland Strobel and Delmer Ziegler. Honorary Bearers were her great
grandchildren, Caleb and Caitlyn Nitsch and her remaining nieces and nephews.
Burial followed in the Fairview Cemetery in Burlington. Visitation was held on
Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the funeral home.
A memorial fund has been established in her name
for First Christian Church Choir or the Alzheimer’s Foundation and may be left
at the Bank of Burlington in Burlington.