Nelda 'Rae' (Wightman) Kugler


A Celebration of the Life of Nelda “Rae” (Wightman) Kugler will be held Thursday, July 1 at 11 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne. Memorial visitation with the family will be held Wednesday, June 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne. Masks are required. Interment will be at a future date at Greenwood Cemetery in Wayne.

She died March 8, 2020 in Wayne.

Streaming of the service will be at

Memorials may be directed to Our Savior Lutheran Church, the Nelda Rae Kugler Friends of Music Scholarship – Wayne State College or The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

Arrangements are with Hasemann Funeral Home in Wayne

Nelda Rae (Wightman) Kugler was born Dec. 10, 1933 in Oakland, Iowa to Leland and Ruth (Maskell) Wightman. She attended elementary school in Oakland, Iowa through the fifth grade. In 1952, she graduated from Mapleton, Iowa Consolidated School and attended Wayne State College from 1953-1955. Nelda Rae married William “Bill” Kugler on Oct. 2, 1955 at St. John’s Methodist-Episcopal Church in Mapleton, Iowa. She was employed as the Deputy County Recorder in Onawa, Iowa, and later as the Secretary to the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Wayne State College until retiring in 1994. During that time, Rae attained her Certified Educational Office Employee Certification. Rae was a past member of Rainbow Girls (received Grand Cross of Color) and Kappa Pi Honorary. She was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church where she served on WELCA (past Officer), as a Luther League Sponsor, Easter Pageant Director, Organist, Pianist, and Choir member. Rae served on the Lutheran Campus Ministry Board, Live and Learn Extension Club (local and county office), PEO Chapter AZ (past officer), WEOPA/NEOPA (Professional Office Personnel Association) past local President, State Officer, and National member, and the Genealogy Society of Wayne County (past President and Officer).

Survivors include her husband, William “Bill”; daughters, Kim (Scott) Kraemaer of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Kara (Melanie) Kugler-Wright of Lincoln; granddaughter, Lauren Rae Kraemaer; brothers Rodney Wightman, Richard (Virginia) Wightman; sister, Logene (Ray) Anderson; sister-in-law, Irma Jean Wightman; nieces and nephews.

Nelda Rae was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Charles Wightman and Bruce Wightman; in-laws, Henry and Margaret Kugler, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Bonnie & Robert Panter, Marian and Eugene Perry, Dorothy Wightman; daughter-in-law, Kelly Erisman.

Rae’s smile was her trademark.