Southwestern disease changes Nebraska family

 Posted By: Reid Kilmer

A fungus that lives in the soil and dust in the Southwestern states called “Valley Fever” has changed a Nebraska family forever.

Dan and Kimberlee Loutzenhiser were putting together the perfect life.

They met at a church retreat, were high school sweethearts, went to college at UNL, married and lived in Lincoln, Arizona for a while and then Omaha. They had two beautiful little girls with a baby boy on the way.

In March Kimberlee noticed something was wrong and went to the hospital where the doctors diagnosed her with Valley Fever.

An airborne fungus that people breath in. It creates symptoms similar to the flu and causes fewer than 200 deaths a year.

The fungus had entered Kimberlee’s lungs when she lived in Arizona and remained dormant for years until March when she was pregnant.

Dan Loutzenhiser said, “This valley fever came out of nowhere and attacked her lungs.”

As Kimberlee was monitored by doctors they couldn’t save her baby boy to be.

Jack Michael passed away March 9th.

Five days later 29-year-old Kimberlee passed away.

Loutzenhiser said, “Losing your best friend losing your spouse losing the mom to your two precious little girls, that is just gut wrenching.”

For Dan, he said telling four-year–old Olivia and two–year–old Hannah mom was gone, was terrible.

He says he won’t let them forget what a great mother they had and is doing everything he can to fill the void.

Loutzenhiser said, “I want to provide for them the best possible way i can and my mission and that’s really the thing i’m trying my absolute hardest to continue on.”

Dan said Kimberlee was about soaking in the kids, living in the moment and making their life together a memorable one.

Loutzenhiser said, “She just had this way of making it blossom into this lovely awesome family that we had and i think she was the rock and the inspiration for us all.”

Dan told Channel 8 News he will continue Kimberlee’s mission by raising their daughters in a Christian home and giving them the perfect life.