There is a bronzed tree that greets guests and Associates who walk through the front doors of SilverStone Group‘s Omaha headquarters. This stunning figure stems out of the middle of a fountain, creating soothing sounds as water pours into a pool with scattered bronzed leaves. What many don’t know as they pass by this tranquil scene is that this figure stands to commemorate the valuable employees who have faithfully served this company and have unfortunately passed on.
David R. Pray
January 27, 1925 – March 6, 2011
Dave joined the Property and Casualty division of SilverStone Group in 1985 as the Commercial Underwriting Manager. He was a Certified Insurance Counselor, possessing 25 years of business insurance experience with the Safeco Insurance Company. During his years of service, Dave developed programs for municipalities, universities, multi-state companies and manufacturers.
In his day-to-day work, Dave would analyze client exposures and recommend coverages. He assisted management and agents in placing client accounts with the proper insurance companies, always aiming to find the most competitive pricing for the necessary coverages. Dave would also go on client calls, whether it was with another agent or by himself, to work on new or renewal accounts and to discuss service needs. Dave was excellent at training new agents and educating them on policy coverages. He was often looked to as a mentor. He was even given the responsibility of presenting classes on various insurance matters for the staff and agents. He retired in 1995 following 48 years in the insurance industry.
Dave served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Regimental Ammunition Transportation Sergeant, and served in the Philippines during World War II. In addition to his years spent serving his country, Dave had a passion for music and theater. His stage talents were evident throughout his life and were a great source of enjoyment for those around him.
Dave is survived by 2 daughters, a son-in-law, 6 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives. He was an outstanding employee and excellent human being, and he will be missed greatly by all who knew him. Dave survived with Alzheimer’s for 8 years, living to the age of 86.
G. Arthur (Art) Bartel, Jr.
January 15, 1923 – September 2, 2010
Art began his insurance career with the Travelers Insurance Company in 1955. In 1956 he joined H. H. “Red” Nelson & Associates (an independent insurance agency that represented Travelers) as Life Manager. In 1968 he was promoted to Vice President. Art exhibited outstanding performance in writing health and accident, group and employee benefit plans.
In 1959 he wrote in excess of $1 million in life insurance through Travelers Insurance Company, thereby qualifying him for membership in The Travelers exclusive Order of the Tower. In 1971 his achievements earned him membership in The Travelers National Leaders Club. Art also received his CLU (Certified Life Underwriter) designation.
Art served his country during WWII. He was wounded twice while serving with the Fifth Ranger Battalion in Europe. He received the Silver and Bronze Stars, as well as the Purple Heart.
Art was a great humanitarian and active in many civic organizations. He was a recipient of the Heritage Award for Business from Alegent Health Foundation. In addition to Art’s commitment to serve his country and his community, he also possessed a talent for writing. He authored three fictional western books during his retirement.
Art is survived by his wife, Colleen (Connie), 3 sons and daughters-in-law, 6 grandchildren and a multitude of extended relatives and friends. Art will be remembered for his extraordinary sense of humor and his friendship for all. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Art lived to the age of 87.
H.H. “Red” Nelson
June 2, 1912 – February 21, 2007
“Red” and his wife Ruth started Nelson Insurance Agency in 1945 in a one-room office located in the First National Bank building in downtown Council Bluffs. The two were equal partners as Ruth handled the office duties and kept the books, while Red visited prospects and clients across the city. Red sold policies door-to-door for a commission of $1 per policy.
Over 65 years later, after mergers and acquisitions in 1967, 1968, 1978, and 1991, Red’s and Ruth’s business, now known as SilverStone Group, has prospered. From the humble, one-room, two-employee beginning, the firm now employs over 185 Associates and has five offices in the Midwest, with headquarters located in Omaha, Nebraska. The scope of services has expanded to include group benefits, retirement and pension plans, executive benefits, wealth transfer and human resource consulting.
During his long life, Red earned a multitude of awards and titles. A few of his accolades include the Rotary Club of Omaha’s Free Enterprise award, the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Distinguished Alumnus award, the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver award and the Mercy (Hospital) Heritage award. He was recognized as an Outstanding Citizen of Iowa, U.S.A. Insurance Man of the Year in 1965 and Omaha Businessmen’s Association Man of the Year.
Red is survived by sons, John P. Nelson and wife, Anne, Stephen H. Nelson, Sr. and wife, Judy; five grandchildren, John H. Nelson, Katherine Staker, Mary “Molly” Leonetti, Stephen Nelson, Jr. and Christian Nelson; and seven great-grandchildren. Both Red and Ruth led by example and through that example their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue their legacy of service to the community. Red lived to the age of 94.