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Omaha man keeps late wife's generous spirit alive with donations to Goodfellows

Omaha man keeps late wife's generous spirit alive with donations to Goodfellows

Check out some of Omaha's most jolly scenes this holiday season.

Christine Stavneak’s generous nature was evident year-round, but her giving spirit shone even brighter during Christmastime.

“Christmas was her favorite time of the year,” said her husband, Ray Stavneak of Omaha. “She would decorate the whole house and had a Christmas tree in every room.”

Christine also remembered to reach out to the less fortunate. About five years ago, she began donating $500 every Christmas to The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity.

In 2017, she increased the donation amount to $520. Sadly, it was her last Christmas.

“Her heart gave out, and she died suddenly on New Year’s Eve,” Ray said. “I never got a chance to ask her why she had made (the donation) $520.”

Goodfellows, now administered by the United Way of the Midlands, offers one-time emergency aid to area residents who find themselves in a bind. It also distributes clothing to schoolchildren and holiday meal vouchers.

Since his wife’s death, Ray has tried to do everything just as she would have. Each Christmas, the house is fully decorated, and the donations to the Goodfellows have continued at $520.

The Stavneaks, who were married for more than 47 years, raised six children in their midtown Omaha home near Holy Cross Catholic Church. They enjoyed dancing, especially polkas, and volunteering.

Christine’s volunteer work included the church, Lauritzen Gardens and the Stephen Center homeless shelter. She also doted on the couple’s grandchildren.

“She was a very generous and kind person, always smiling,” Ray said. “I want to continue that spirit of giving.”

Goodfellows donations


Noddle Development CO


West Omaha Sertoma Club


In memory of Bernard Taulborg


In loving memory of Fr. William Kelley, Abbot Raphael Walsh; In loving memory of Paul and Lucille Circo; Kenneth and Edith German; In loving memory of Uncle Otto; In loving memory of Joe Circo Sr. and Joe Circo Jr.; Nancy and Philip Wolf; Gloria and Roy Dinsdale; Clarkson and Emily Lauritzen; anonymous


Steve and Pamela Bottorff


In loving memory of John A. Lammel from his family


In memory of Mary Schoenbohm, Fred and Irene Kemp, Gib and Helen Schoenbohm and Cecelia Crew – The Edwin and Linda Kemp Family Charitable Fund; In memory of Hank Munch – Virginia Munch; In memory of Lucile Siedlyk, loving wife, mother and grandmother – Leon Siedlyk family; anonymous; anonymous


In honor of teachers and health care workers – Jim and Kathy Morley


In memory of Jay Novicki—Larry and Janice Novicki; Mark Schuette; Susan Petersen; Phyllis and Marcia Anderson; Thomas Tryner; In memory of Mike Macrander – Paul and Mary Opocensky; Jeffrey and Karen Berthiaume; Joseph and Patricia Burian; anonymous


Big Dog’s Properties


For Family Members not with us – Betty A. White


Sandra Ihnen; In memory of Adolf Fedde from his family; Michael and Linda Howland


In memory of Anita—Donovan and Heidi Donner


In honor of the volunteers on the Tues/Wed crew for Habitat for Humanities—Melvin and Lois Decker


Remembering Sto


In memory of Mary Ann Maynard and Our sincere sympathy to Scott Hauptman and his family for your loss – from Imperial Tile; Hector and Toni Ogaz; Dan and Rose Vodvarka; Norman and Carol Zantjer; In memory of Janet Balis Adkins, Darrel Kominek, Al and Bert Bauer, Audrey Reding, Art Wise, Winnie Kouba, Mike Nannen, Rev. Jack McCaslin and Lillian Skolnik—Virginia Munch; In honor of all the hard working teachers – Wayne and Judy Fowler; Susan and Leon Phillips; Michael and Bonnie Valasek; Kelly Nalty; In memory of Connie G. and Dee R. – great bridge buddies – Dolores Inman; Leslie and Marlie Broadbent; Elaine and James Meyer; Leo and Betty Mazur; In memory of the S.E. Stewart family (SE, Mary, bill, Dick and Bob) and in honor of the remaining member, Marylin – Connie Stewart


In memory of Paul Erhart, my husband of 64 years – Lyn Erhart


Don and Jackie Wrieth; Margaret Sibbernsen; Karen and Richard Carroll; Ronan and Carol Mickels; Jean Ann Spires; Mary Howell; In loving memory of our son, Matthew – Mary and Gary Grimes; Ed and Linda Napravnik


Marvin Richter




In loving memory of our parents—Stacie and Ren Smith


Carol and Dick Behrens


In memory of our godchild, Abby Behr Hogen – Loren and Pam Johnson




In memory of my parents Mabel and Fred Lofdahl—Anna Carlson; In memory of Ray Villarreal from Bob and Ann Crabtree; In memory of Doris Buford from Creighton, Anderson, Ainsley, Ty and Adley; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Schmit; Richard Lewis; John and Rebecca Dietle; In honor of all the nurses treating COVID and other hospital patients—Anonymous; Charles and Karen Tichy; In memory of: Husband Stephen, Daughter Deborah Chilcott, great granddaughter Autumn Grace Buckingham – Lois Buckingham; Ramona Swett; In honor of grandchildren Lucy, Owen, Lane, Townes, Rold, Bella, Will; In memory of my wife, Mary Ellen Roberts by Howard Roberts; Wesley and Louise Doerr; Jamie Tarkowski; Helen Petrow; Grant and Sunny Everett; In memory of Dale Harris—Ed and Sandy Trandahl; In memory and in honor of my family – Gretchen and Nicholas Vondrak; Cindy and Rod Phipps; Lorraine Godbersen; Gregory and Julie Classen; Sandra Wilcox; Leon and Georgann Komar; Vincent and Carol Caraway; In memory of Dale Filkins by Don & Carolyn Bukowski; Mary Cave; Natan and Hannah Schwalb; Richard and Catherine Ramage; Dolores Somer; Carol Houchin; Stephen and Mary Brocky; John and Carol Hoffman; Ramona Jacob; In lieu of gifts for Diane Smith, owner of Divine Lighting and Electric, Brighton, CO – Kenneth Smith; In honor of all those that died of COVID 19 – Russell Blankenfeld; Nanette and Curtis Johnson; Karen Clark; D. L. and Overta Gillespie; anonymous; anonymous; anonymous




In memory of ELR – Janis Reynolds


In memory of a generous husband and “paps” John Gubbels – Judith Gubbels


Balus Family Cousins


Gordon and Dallas Wellensiek; In memory of Donald Wells, Ken and Dorothy Wells, Alan Bridge, Lloyd and Cleta ridge, Rollin and JoAnn Bridge, Pat Dasher from Carolyn Bridge Wells


In memory of Anita Finch, we were married 70 years – Burt Finch


Remembering the love of my life of 67 years, Jean Shavlik (passed in 2018), Phyllis Shavlik, sister-in-law (passed in 2018), George Vanis, brother-in-law (passed in 1992), cousin Adolf Shavlik (passed in 2020) and his former wife, Joanie (passed in 2018). Also commemorating my uncle Jacob Blatony (KIA WWI) died Oct 16, 1918 and is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery near Romagne, France. You are all missed and kept in our prayers – Stan Shavlik


In memory of my love, parents Rudy C. Larsen and Antonette D. Larsen from the Larsen Family


For our granddaughters Annalysa and Ava Barrera Lubman – Stephen and Doris Lubman


From Pat Graeve – Mr. Steam Carpet Cleaning


Omaha Area Chapter Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.; Gordon and Sharon McDonald; Rodney and Gemma Smyser; In memory of Patricia Comte – Mike and Karen Johnson; In memory of Jerry Coyne—Joel and Lisa Long; Donald and Dawn Malene; Mervin and Diann Vannier; Alberta Hartline; In loving memory of Carl Boyer from Evelyn Boyer; In honor of Hudson, Harrison and Lily – Granny A.; In memory of Lloyd and Ruth Chapman, Vene and Francis Clark – Steve and Judy Clark; Marilyn Seidel; Donald and Bonita Daubman; Margaret and Glen Clatanoff; Michael Hoyle; Connie Adams; Joel and Deborah Wilson; Sylvia Pelzer; Scott Carne; On behalf of grandchildren Ivan and Abby – Sheryl Aksamit; Johnnie Carter; In memory of Norman Stoakes and son, Eric Stoakes to help our struggling neighbors—Ken and Janet Emken; R.J. and S.L Sandquist; David White; Diane Powers; James and Linda Havelka; Thomas and Kathleen Skinner, Jr.; Martin and Vicki Timmerwilke; Sharon and Nelson Newman; Tommie and Melodee Thompson; Warren and Diane Snyder; In memory of Virginia and Barry Kuhl from the Stessmans; Ruth and John Szarad; Gerald and Nancy Koster; anonymous; anonymous


James McDowell; In honor of Shyanna and Jemels’ sons – William Sullivan; In honor of Braylon Anderson and Tyson, Jaden, Taryn and Jaxon Harney by great grandma Frelon Danielson – Oakland


In memory of husband “Smitty” and daughter Carole – Jane Smith; anonymous


In memory of Myron Juilfs – Sandy Juilfs


Richard and Mary Walch; Marcel and Ilse Kahn; Alice and Keith Holmes; William and Ann Herek Jr.; Ila Horn


Rosalie Downing; Judy and Terry Johns; Richard Petersen; Connie and Ken Lemke; Richard and Louise Webb; In memory of Michael Epstein—Arnold and Helen Epstein; In memory of Jim Vankat – Mary and Michelle Vankat; In memory of my wife – Edgar Aldrich; In memory of Betty Guilfoyle – Karen Guilfoyle; Lonnie and Lucretia Younie; John and Linda McPhail; Janice Fowler; Dennis and Norma Kathman; Dale and Beth Van Gent; Fremont Pathfinder Cancelled Concert Donation—Michael and Claire Eason; Emmett and Phyllis Smith; Barbara White; anonymous; anonymous; anonymous; anonymous


In memory of Gene Miller from Arnold and Karleen and family; Claudia Lucas; Nancie Balkovic


In memory of grandparents Arthur and Noemi Simeoni, parents John and Dena Giachino and sister Jane Dimon by Jim and Linda Petersen, LaVista


Rosa Mora

Daily Total: $36,153.74

Campaign Total: $300,518.41

Photos: The Goodfellows fund through the years, 402-444-1272

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  • Updated

There’s no question that The World Herald’s Goodfellows charity is needed more than ever, said Shawna Forsberg of the United Way of the Midlands. Calls to her agency's helpline were up 105% from 2019.

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