Eugene Francis (Gene) Ochu, age 100, of Winsted, died peacefully Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, of complications from pneumonia at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.
Gene was born Sept. 20, 1907, in Winsted Township, the son of Theophile “Tuffy” and Lena (Staple) Ochu. As a young boy, he attended school in a one-room schoolhouse, and later earned a diesel engineering certificate from Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.
As a young man, Gene took over the family farm, and he continued farming until the age of 85. In his youth, he also owned a saloon in Young America, worked for the Winsted Telephone Company, and for Pure Milk Products Co.
Gene was joined in holy matrimony with Marie Meuleners Sept. 12, 1945, and together, they formed Ochu Implement Co. Throughout the years, Gene helped many farmers get their start, and was available at all hours of the day and night for parts and service until the age of 98.
Gene was a faithful member of Holy Trinity Catholic Parish and the Knights of Columbus, and he especially enjoyed helping out with the annual fish fry.
He cared for his wife, Marie, during her last years, doing most of the household chores along with gardening and canning, before she passed away in 2001.
After her passing, Gene was befriended by Fred Lukes and spent many hours helping him rebuild concertinas and attending concertina festivals throughout Minnesota and neighboring states.
In April 2006, Gene suffered a fall, injuring his ankle and wrist, and became a resident of St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.
In addition to his wife, Marie, Gene was preceded in death by his parents, “Tuffy” and Lena; half brother, Marcel; and half sister, Leona Hermann.
Gene is survived by his daughter, Jean Ochu; son, Mark Ochu; grandson Theophile Ochu, all of St. Cloud; and other relatives and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted, with an hour visitation prior to the start of Mass. The celebrant was Father Eugene Brown, chaplain at St. Mary’s Care Center. Musicians included Mark Ochu, piano and organ; Marion Judish, violin, vocalist; Debra Leigh; and Fred Lukes, concertina. Readers were Rosie Hertel, Mary Wiemiller, and Mary Jo Meuleners. Pallbearers were Jean Ochu and Jerry Meuleners. There will be spring interment of cremains at Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery.
Visitation took place Friday, Jan. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Care Center of Winsted with a prayer service beginning at 1 p.m. The Knights of Columbus also held visitation with the rosary Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Winsted.
The Chilson Funeral Chapel in Winsted served the family. Online condolences may be made at www.chilsonfuneralhome.com.