Eugene Gustof Strutzenberg, 97, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family in his home on July 10, 2020.
Eugene was born on March 16, 1923, in Blue Island, Illinois, Township of Worth. The farmhouse where he was born was on 127th Street (one block east of Harlem Avenue).
His parents were Gustof Herman and Emma (Ramp) Strutzenberg. At the age of 7 his parents moved to Omro, WI. Eugene graduated from eighth grade in a one-room schoolhouse (Delhi School) right across the road from the farm.
At the age of 13, he began working for different farmers in the neighborhood. With his earnings he brought his first car, a 1930 Model A Ford. He paid $45 for it. At the age of 14, he also worked in the wheat and flax fields in South Dakota and grain fields in Oklahoma. Bought his second car, a 1935 Model T Ford, at age 16. He paid $300 for it.
He enlisted in the Army on Feb. 12, 1943. He was part of the original 82nd Airborne Division Company E, 2nd Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Participated in the major battles of World War II — Battle of the Bulge, Normandy, Siegfried Line, behind enemy lines for 54 days. He developed gangrene in his feet fighting in the mountains of Italy. When the war was over, he stayed for five more months during the occupation of Berlin. For his bravery in combat he received many medals and ribbons (Silver Star, Bronze Star, Parachute Wings, Combat Infantry Man Badge, etc.) He was discharged from service on Nov. 26, 1945.
He used his GI Bill to attend Northwestern University to get a master’s in theory, thus giving him his title as “master mechanic.”
He worked at Worth Auto Parts, Suburban Auto, Litzsinger Lincoln-Mercury, Deel Lincoln-Mercury, Hawkinson Lincoln-Mercury, Marathon Gas Station and retired from the City of Palos Hills, IL, as head maintenance, maintaining 154 city units (police cars, ambulance, heavy equipment). He retired in 1988.
Eugene was a Sunday school superintendent at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Palos Park.
He was an avid golfer and loved to dance.
He loved the Lord, Jesus Christ, and showed that through his action and his love for people.
Eugene married Laura Olmsted on Dec. 18, 1945. Living in Worth, IL, they raised nine children: Lauren Hoytt of TN; Sally (Jeff) Ebel and Lavon (Ed) Compton, both of Nashville; Reed (Sharon) and Marlene (Bellettini), both of Rockford, IL; Armin (Cheri) of Crest Hill, IL; Lind of Freeport, IL; Neal (Donna) of Worth, IL, and Vern (Jan) of Austin, TX.
Later, Eugene married Donna Olmstead-Olson on July 3, 1986, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Palos Park, IL.
With this union, Eugene inherited five more children: Hayley (Kevin) Martin of Winona, MN, Wendy (Russ) Bantz of Wisconsin Dells, WI, DeLon (Normina) of Soldiers Grove, WI, Andy of Tampa FL, and Gretchen of Woodville, WI; 43 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.
Eugene and Donna moved to Brodhead in 1996 on Decatur Lake. There he belonged to the 82nd Airborne Chapter of Southern Wisconsin and member of Hilltop Community Church for many years.
Eugene is survived by his wife, Donna, of 34 years and children.
His first wife, Laura, son Vern, two great grandchildren, Ethan and Bronwyn, his parents and three brothers and two sisters preceded Eugene in death.
A visitation will be held at the DL Newcomer Funeral Home, 1105 E. Ninth Ave. in Brodhead, on Thursday, July 16, from 9 to 11 a.m. Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m., also at the funeral home. Graveside services with military honors will be held after services at the Greenwood Cemetery. Because of COVID-19, the family has taken special care to protect everyone. Please bring a lawn chair; an outdoor luncheon, set up and provided by Piggly Wiggly, will be provided at the funeral home parking lot immediately after military honors.