Gene Westphal, age 82, of Alexandria, MN, passed away at Grand Arbor Memory Care facility in Alexandria on June 19, 2019, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body dementia.
His memorial services will be held at First Lutheran Church, 822 Douglas Street in Alexandria at 11 am Monday, June 24th, 2019. Visitation will be held from 10-11 am at the church. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery, Clintonville, WI.
Gene grew up on a dairy farm near Marion, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point; majoring in English, with minors in math and physics. He taught high school for three years and was then employed by the IBM Corporation as a Systems Engineer for 32 years, in Green Bay WI, Bismarck ND, and Fargo ND.
Gene married Carol Miller in Clintonville, WI on November 19, 1960. Two children, Wendy and Jeff, were born in the following years. Gene loved water-skiing, to the point that a used boat was purchased before a clothes washer and dryer. He patiently taught Carol, Wendy, Jeff, and many other people how to water-ski, including all four grandchildren at very young ages. Gene taught himself trick water-skiing, and enjoyed performing tricks (like skiing backwards) for any audience. His last time water-skiing occurred when he was 79 years old. As a farm kid in rural Wisconsin, Gene knew how to entertain himself with the finer things in life, like making fancy paper airplanes and origami birds, making whistles from blades of grass, yo-yo tricks, etc. He very much enjoyed sharing these pastimes with his children and grandchildren. He was a huge Green Bay Packer fan all his life, and later followed the Minnesota Twins closely.
Gene was a reluctant traveler, but always had a great time on the trips he took with Carol and his children. Gene and Carol had many adventures in Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and all 50 states. Gene and Carol moved to Alexandria for retirement in 1996.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Erna Westphal, three brothers-in-law Patrick O’Connell, Ron Lowdermilk, and Robert Miller. Survivors include his wife, Carol; children, Wendy Blair, Moorhead MN, and Jeff (Jenny) Westphal, Urbandale, IA; a brother, Dale (Carol) Westphal, Appleton, WI; and two sisters-in-law, Gloria Miller, Andover MN; and Marilyn Lowdermilk, Stowe, OH. Gene and Carol have four grandchildren, Samantha and Michael Westphal, and Marissa (fiancé Eric Walls) and Ian Blair.
Gene was blessed with a brilliant brain, which he chose to donate to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body research.
The family wishes to thank the kind and caring staff at First Lutheran Church, Grand Arbor, and Douglas County Hospice for their support. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the First Lutheran Building Fund, Habitat for Humanity – Douglas County, or the Douglas County Food Pantry are preferred.