Rudy STANKO  1918 - 2002  SHS 1936

GORDON, Neb - Funeral services for former Sheridan resident Rudy Stanko, 84, of Gordon, will be conducted at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Gordon.  Interment will be near his parents and brother in Sheridan Municipal Cemetery at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

An informal wake will be at 7 p.m. today at the church.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at Kane Funeral Home in Sheridan.

He died Aug. 26, 2002, at his home of natural  causes.

Born June 4, 1918, in Kleenburn, he learned the meatpacking business from his father, who supplied the ranchers, miners and towns in the Sheridan area.

He was an all-state football tackle for the Sheridan Broncs and an amateur heavyweight boxer while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He beat many notable fighters, including Rocky Marciano, the future world heavyweight champion.  In 1944, he won the heavyweight national AAU title and had more than 100 amateur fights without a loss.

In 1946, he married Elizabeth "Chicky" Stanko.

He founded the Rocky Mountain Packing Co. in Casper in 1952 and delivered fresh meats throughout Wyoming.  During the 1950s and 1960s, it was the largest meat-processing plant in the state.

In 1971, he founded Nebraska Beef Packers in Gordon; by the 1980s, it and sister plants in Scottsbluff, Neb., and Denver were the largest cull cow and bull processors in the United States.  In 1985, the U.S. Department of Agriculture withdrew the meat-processing license and the plant never operated successfully thereafter.  He was involved in a successful alfalfa farming operation from the 1990s to the present time.

In his spare time, he was an avid fly fisherman, hunter, and fan of professional fights on television.  He had been a longtime member of the Elks Lodge in Casper, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Knights of Columbus; and was a member of the American Legion in Gordon.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years of Gordon; two sons, Rudy, Jr. of Gordon and Robert of Fort Collins, Colo.; sister, Helen Burtus of Sheridan; brother, Henry of Casper; six grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Michael and Edward.

Clemanec-Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home in Gordon is in charge of arrangements there.