NICKERSON, Neb. -- A former state senator from eastern Nebraska has died.

Ray Janssen passed away at an assisted living facility in Fremont on Saturday. He was 85.

Janssen served as a state senator from Nickerson in the Nebraska Legislature from 1993 to 2009. He also worked as a grocer.

Janssen graduated from Hooper Public School and later served in the U.S. Army. He was the president of both the Nickerson and Logan View school boards.

He was originally elected to the Legislature in 1992 to represent the 15th district. He was reelected in 1996, 200 and 2004. Janssen sat on the Revenue, Urban Affairs, and Building Maintenance committees and chaired the Revenue committee.

Janssen's funeral will be held at 10:30am on Wednesday at Salem Lutheran Church in Fontanelle. Burial will follow in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery. 

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, who served with Janssen in the Legislature, issued a statement Monday evening.

“During the four years I served with Ray in the Nebraska Legislature, I appreciated his steady, thoughtful approach to public service," Fischer said. "An excellent listener, he always took time to hear from people with different viewpoints and was a pleasure to be around. My thoughts are with the entire Janssen family as they navigate this challenging time.”