Mary Cabela, co-founder of Cabela’s, passes away

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 12:01 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Mary Cabela, one of the co-founders of the multi-billion dollar longtime Nebraska-based retail brand, Cabela’s, died this past Tuesday at the age of 86, according to the Cabela family.

Born in Casper, Wyo. on May 4, 1937, Mary Cabela hunted since she was a young girl. She hunted birds and rabbits since she was 10, and big game since 1987. The mother of nine used the Cabela Family Foundation to spearhead conservation projects across the world. She was recognized in 2021 with the NRA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mary and her late husband, Dick Cabela, founded their name-sake, Cabela’s, in 1961 when they filled fly fishing mail orders from their kitchen table in their home in Chappell, Neb. The business grew from classified ads in magazines and newspapers to a busy direct-mail fishing supply company. Dick Cabela convinced his younger brother, Jim, to join the new company at their new headquarters in Sidney in 1963. Dick passed away in Feb. 2014 at the age of 77.

Cabela’s business grew as a catalog business, producing nearly 50 catalogs annually, and shipping affordable high-quality outdoor equipment to all 50 states and 125 countries. Cabela’s retail division quickly flourished, with locations throughout the United States and Canada, providing a truly unique shopping experience for outdoor enthusiasts and their families.

Cabela’s was acquired by Bass Pro Shops in 2017. A Wake Service for Mary Cabela will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Both services will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sidney with Father C.P. Varghese and Father Bryan Ernest officiating. Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Monday from 1-4 p.m.