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Obituary for Eugene A. Eckelberg

Eugene “Gene” A. Eckelberg Eugene “Gene” A. Eckelberg, 78, passed away Aug. 20, 2017, at his home with his family by his side, after a long battle with melanoma. Gene was born to Reuben and Celia (Miller) Eckelberg in Wilton, Wis. on April 11, 1939. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church in Ridgeville. Gene graduated from Wilton High School in 1957. On May 28, 1960, Gene was united in marriage to Joann Miller. He joined the Army National Guard while still in high school and was then activated in 1961. Following his departure with the National Guard, Gene held several jobs during his lifetime. Some of his career highlights included farming with his family, working at feed mills, delivering for Home Health Care/Hospice at Mayo Clinic in La Crosse, and working alongside his son, David, at West Salem Auto Repair, where he went on countless wrecker calls. Most recently, Gene worked as a crossing guard for West Salem Schools. He thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with the kids and teachers. Gene was a devoted member of Christ Ev. Lutheran Church in West Salem, where he served as a delegate to Luther High School and head usher. He made friends wherever life took him. Gene loved to help people and always carried a grin. He really appreciated all the kindness shown to him over the past few years by doctors and nurses at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the La Crosse area. Gene is survived by his wife, Joann; and four sons, Doug Eckelberg, Curt (Kim) Eckelberg, Bruce (Dawn) Eckelberg, and David (Nancy) Eckelberg. Gene was a loving grandfather to nine, Josh (Molli) Eckelberg, Dani (Clark) Draxler, Casey (Joe) Vacek, Jonathan (Amy) Eckelberg, Mandi Eckelberg, Sam Eckelberg, Jake Eckelberg, Cassidy Eckelberg and Abigail Eckelberg. Gene was a proud great-grandfather to Gunner Eckelberg, Owen Draxler, Ethan Draxler, Anna Vacek, and Nora Vacek. Gene is further survived by siblings, Reuben (Pat) Eckelberg, Ray Eckelberg, Jerry (Pat) Eckelberg, Ellen (Bill) Reneau, brother-in-law, Stub Harmel, sister-in-law, Jackie Hartmann, and brother-in-law, Conrad Miller. He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant sister, Kathryn; brother, John; siser, Helen Harmel; sister-in-law, Joyce Eckelberg; and brothers-in-law, Jerry Miller and Herman Reback. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Mayo Hospice for the care they provided to Gene during the last days of his life. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Christ Ev. Lutheran Church, 500 Park Street, West Salem. Rev. Galen J. Riediger will officiate. Burial will follow at Christ Ev. Lutheran Cemetery with military honors to be rendered by the Berg-Hemker-Olson American Legion Post 51, of West Salem and the United States Army Funeral Honor Guard. A visitation will be from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Thursday and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Friday, both at the church. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been established.