Man who built Nebraska trucking firm, backed GOP has died

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A prominent Nebraska businessman who built Crete Carrier into one of the nation's largest privately owned trucking companies and played a significant role in the state's Republican party has died.

Duane Acklie was 84 when he died Saturday. His son-in-law, Tonn Ostergard, who is Crete Carrier's CEO, said Acklie's funeral will be held Thursday at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln.

Acklie was a key fundraiser for Republican candidates and served in behind-the-scenes roles in the party. He also led state and national business organizations.

Crete Carrier began in 1966 with six leased trucks hauling dog food from a plant in Crete, Nebraska. Initially, Acklie was a lawyer advising the company's founder, but he later bought the trucking firm in the early 1970s.

Today, Crete has 5,000 trucks and 13,000 trailers