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Eugene Lloyd Zunker was called to his Heavenly Home on April 2, 2019. Eugene was the oldest of three children of Harry F. and Lillian A. (Stubbe) Zunker. He was born at home in Wausau on June 13, 1926. A short time after his birth, Eugene was baptized in the Lutheran faith. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to a small farm in the Township of Texas in exchange for their city home. Low employment due to the Great Depression, exceptional hot, dry summers and the very cold, snowy winters of the 1930s made for austere living conditions. Those austere conditions influenced Eugene’s attitude for the rest of his life.
He attended Marshall Elementary in the Township of Texas. While living there, his sister, Dorothy and brother, Harry, Jr., were born. As a teenager, he was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Salem Lutheran Church in Wausau. He remained faithful to his confirmation vows throughout his life.
In 1940, his family moved to a larger farm in the Township of Easton. The family joined St. John Lutheran Church congregation in the Township of Easton. Eugene was elected to all positions on the St. John Lutheran Church Council several times, and at various times, throughout his life; he also served in other positions, such as elder and usher, even as his mobility weakened.
Living in the country without transportation, Eugene was unable to attend high school. He worked with his Dad at mason work and on his parents’ farm. In 1948, Eugene enlisted in the Army. His service included a tour of duty at Naha, Okinawa. Additional service consisted of: Army of Occupation Far East Command; National Defense Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with gold hourglass device; Army Reserve Components medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; NCO Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 4; Army Service Ribbon; Sharpshooter Badge with Pistol Bar and Rifle Bar; and the Army Retired Lapel Button.
Upon release from active military duty, Eugene purchased his parents’ farm. On September 1, 1956, Eugene married Anna (Prohebny) Blus and became stepfather to Theodore (Ted), Capatola (Cappie) and Richard (Rick). They were blessed with a daughter, Julianna, on February 10, 1961. Anna unexpectedly passed away from complications from rheumatic fever on January 11, 1963.
On October 10, 1964, Eugene married Nancy J. Zastrow. They were blessed with a son, Andrew Gene, on November 19, 1965. Nancy preceded him in death on March 23, 2016 after 51 years of marriage.
In addition to farming and continued service in the Army Ready Reserve, Eugene was a brick mason throughout his life. He also did custom combining. He obtained a GED High School level by examination from the University of Wisconsin while serving in the Army Ready Reserve. He served in the Army and the Army Ready Reserve until 1986.
Eugene retired from farming in 1988 after which he and Nancy moved to Weston, WI. He worked a number of years at Farm & Home in Weston, concurrently working at United Cerebral Palsy providing in-home care for people with disabilities, often ending a shift at one job to work a shift at the other. He later changed employment, driving school bus for the D.C. Everest School District for ten years, finally retiring at the age of 82. However, even in his last years, he said his job was to pray so he never truly retired.
Eugene enjoyed life with devotion to family, church, country and employment. He was a master gardener; he had special expertise in growing blueberries and meticulously tended to over 100 blueberry bushes in his yard. He was a compassionate, kind, generous, tenacious, intelligent and humble man with an incomparable sense of humor. He will be deeply missed.
He was preceded in death by parents, Harry and Lillian Zunker; first wife, Anna; second wife, Nancy; and sister, Dorothy Stefanski and her husband, Walter. Survivors include: daughter, Julianna; son, Andrew (Valerie); grandchildren, Tricia, Joshua, Alexandria, and Dallas; great-grandsons, Jacob and Timothy; stepchildren, Theodore (Judy) Blus; Richard (Donna) Blus; and Capatola Douglas; nieces, Jane, Dolores, Cheryl, Bonnie, Nancy, Linda, Amy; nephew, Eugene; and brother, Harry, Jr.
A celebration of Eugene’s life will be held at St. John Lutheran Church, E10723 County Rd Z, Town of Easton on April 8, 2019 at 11 a.m. The Reverend John Stransky will officiate. Visitation will immediately precede the service starting at 9 a.m. Burial will take place at St. John Cemetery, followed by a luncheon at the church.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff at Rennes Nursing Home and Aspirus Hospice Care for their compassionate care of Eugene.
Eugene practiced charitable giving throughout his life, serving as an example to his family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. John Lutheran Church in the Township of Easton in Eugene’s name.