Leo Patrick “Pat” Engel, 90, of South Sioux City, NE, passed away Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at his home surrounded by his children. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 A.M. Monday, December 12, 2022 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church followed by military graveside honors at St. Michael’s Cemetery, both in South Sioux City, NE. Visitation will be held 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. with a Vigil Service at 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at Mohr & Becker-Hunt Funeral Home. The service will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/o0Wsh6jtm4A.
Pat was a humble man who didn’t like to “toot his own horn,” so we will do it for him. Leo Pat was born at 6:00 A.M. on May 18, 1932 to Catherine “Katie” and John Engel in South Sioux City, Nebraska, the sixth child of eight. He was born early in the day so he could get busy with all of the things he would accomplish, all the people he would meet, and the love he would share. He graduated from South Sioux City public schools and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Nebraska National Guard. Upon graduation, Pat served in the United States Air Force, where he worked as an intelligence officer. He married the love of his life, Donna Dee (Smith) Engel on September 6, 1952 and they were married almost 68 years before she died January 22, 2021. To this union, five favorite children were born; Kathie, Kim, Jeff, Julie, and Mike.
Pat and Dee were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany while on active duty in the Air Force. When his time in the Air Force was coming to a close, he was offered a job in the Central Intelligence Agency, but with three kids in tow, family came first and they moved back to South Sioux City where he began a decades-long career as a State Farm Insurance agent. To say he was successful in this job would be an understatement. His personality, intelligence and ability to connect with every person he met with humor and compassion was legendary. He served his community as a member of both the St. Michael’s and South Sioux City school boards; as a Dakota County Commissioner and in 1993 was appointed to the Nebraska Legislature where he served until 2009. In the Legislature, he served as the Chair of the Executive Board, a member of Appropriations Committee, and a national board member of American Legislative Exchange Council. Pat was also active in Sertoma, Cardinal Foundation, Siouxland National Bank, Knights of Columbus (where he was a Fourth degree Grand Knight), St. Michael’s Catholic Church (as a long-time lector), he also served as a Lector in the Catholic Church of Mesa, Arizona where Dee and Pat spent winters for 14 years, the American Legion and Trinity Heights, and others too numerous to mention. His spirit of adventure was legendary, he parachuted out of a plane in his eighties (forgot to tell Dee beforehand because he didn’t’ want her mad at him). Earlier this Fall, he was the last man to leave his granddaughter Claire’s wedding reception.
Pat lived a remarkable life, was a lifelong learner, and impacted so many. He always said the past is good for two things; good memories and lessons learned. He was a man of great faith and knew who he was and what he stood for. We thank him for the memories, for the fun, and for the love and for the lessons learned.
He is survived by his children: Kathleen (Anders) Backlund, Kimberly (Rich) McLaughlin, Jeffrey Engel, Julia (Jay) Holmquist, Mike (Denise) Engel, and bonus son Bruce (Bridget) Davis and godsons Adam Davis and Nicholas Davis; five grandchildren: Mark (Jena) Meyer, Shelly (Matt) Jordan, David Engel, Claire (Jay) Wiens, Anna Holmquist; two great-grandchildren Austin Patrick and Ryker Michael Jordan; nieces, nephews, and thousands of friends.
He was preceded in Heaven by his beloved wife, Donna Dee; grandsons Patrick Michael McLaughlin and Christopher Michael Engel; brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and beloved friends.
Memorials can be directed to St. Michael’s Catholic School scholarship fund in Pat’s name, Trinity Heights Queen of Peace Shrine, or donor’s choice.
When Irish Eyes are smiling, sure ‘tis like the morn in Spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing…..