Murl E. Gottula


May 21, 1929 - January 5, 2021

  • Murl E. Gottula
    Murl E. Gottula

Murl E. (Spitser) Gottula was born May 21, 1929, with her twin Pearl on a farm near Pawnee City, Nebraska to Clay and Frances (Snyder) Spitser. There were five other siblings, Albert, Ruth, Elmer, Walt and Cliff.

Murl went to Verdon High School where she and Pearl played volleyball, winning many tournaments. She graduated in 1947. Murl worked as a clerk in Falls City before marrying Glen Hanika in November, 1948. Three children were born to this union: Mike, Linda and Kent. The family moved to Davenport, Iowa. In 1961, Murl and the kids moved to Pawnee City until 1965 when Murl married Lester “Bus” Gottula and the family moved to Elk Creek. She also became a step-mother to Stan Gottula. Murl remained in Elk Creek until her death on January 5, 2021.

She was quite the seamstress who made many outfits for herself, her twin sister Pearl and daughter Linda. Many kids in town had Barbie doll clothes, a costume for the operetta or Halloween costumes that she made. She also made several wedding dresses. Besides sewing, Murl also embroidered, quilted and did crafts and woodworking projects. She liked to cook and loved sharing her cooking with others. Back in the day, you could find Murl and her friend Ev walking the streets of Elk Creek several times a day.

Murl loved being involved with everything in Elk Creek, the coleslaw making parties for the Elk Creek BBQ, joining others on the Road Rally and going to any Elk Creek school event. She had worked for Ab Christensen Auctioneering and Campbell Soup and then took care of her brother Albert till he passed in 2008. She loved 1940’s music and watching ice-skating competitions and game shows on tv. She had a very kind heart and would do anything for anybody. Murl was truly a beautiful lady and will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her daughter Linda Hanika, Elk Creek, NE and sons Mike (Colleen) Hanika, Enterprise, AL and Kent (Pam) Hanika, Lincoln, NE and daughter-in-law Shirley Gottula, Merna, NE; grandchildren: Amy (Skye) McNan, Dothan, AL, Clay (Ryan) Hanika, Prince Frederick, MD, Chelsea (Cody) Waller, Lincoln, NE and Tony (Cassie) Steen, Lincoln, NE; great grandchildren: Jaxson, Jarett, and Jace Waller, Anthony and Madeline Steen, Brennan, Brice, and Amia McNan, Abigail Hanika, Eli and Olivia Smith, and Carissa and Laylah Steen; sister Pearl Schulenberg, Orion, IL; sister-in-law Betty Spitser, Pawnee City, NE, and many nieces and nephews.

Murl was preceded in death by her parents, Clay and Frances Spitser, brothers Albert, Elmer, Walt (Shirley) and Cliff Spitser, sister Ruth Appling (Jerry), brother-in-law Marvin Schulenberg, granddaughter Alisha Steen, nieces Carolyn DeBackere and Evelyn (Randy) Horton, nephew Kevin Spitser, step-son Stan Gottula, and ex-husbands Glen Hanika and Bus Gottula.

Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, January 11, 2021 at the First Presbyterian/Christian Church in Pawnee City, Nebraska with Pastor Connor Barr officiating. Interment was in the Pawnee City Cemetery, Pawnee City, Nebraska. Memorials may go to the family’s choice. Services were entrusted to Wherry Mortuary, Pawnee City, Nebraska.