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Gene Birkholz, 68

Gene Birkholz, age 68, of Howard Lake, passed away peacefully Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at The Good Samaritan Society of Howard Lake.

Gene’s funeral service will take place Tuesday, May 17 at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church of Howard Lake. Interment will be at St. Paul’s Cemetery of Lester Prairie.

There will be visitation Monday, May 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake, which is handling the arrangements; www.swansonpeterson.com.

Gene was born Nov. 10, 1947, at home in Lester Prairie during an early winter snowstorm, to Herman and Esther Birkholz.

He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Lester Prairie, and graduated from Lester Prairie High School in 1965.

After graduation, Gene proudly served his country in the United States Army. He was stationed in Germany, where he attained the rank of SP5 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

Gene had many occupations from mechanic, to inside sales, to bookkeeping, but his most rewarding occupation was as a van driver for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools, where he transported his special students with kindness and compassion.

Gene loved all sports. He was a four-sport athlete in high school, playing football, basketball, baseball, and track. He then played basketball and baseball for the US Army in Germany.

After returning from the service, he played on many amateur baseball and softball teams. He was also an avid golfer, and coached several softball and baseball teams, the most recent being the Winsted Wildcats.

Gene also loved watching sports; his favorite teams being the Gophers, Twins, Yankees, Vikings, and Wild. He was a walking, talking sports encyclopedia. Gene always wished he could have been a sports announcer, but his aversion to pronouncing names correctly may have gotten him in trouble.

He was an active member of American Legion Post 145, where he served in various capacities

Gene was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents; sister Marjal Prehn; and niece Tricia Dammann.

He is survived by: his loving wife of 17 years, Teri Doering; children: Terrese (Chad) Norman, Rebecca Birkholz, Tammy (Wayne) Thompson, Jessica (Joe) Keating, and Josh Doering; and grandchildren Jessica (Karl), Jordan, Joscelyn, DeJuan, Courtney, Mason, Olivia, Ivy, Arianna, and Noah.

Gene is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Betty (Lowell) Wolff, Gordon (Doreen) Birkholz, Doris (Chester) Dammann, Joyce (Larry) Heuer, and Robert (Nancy) Birkholz; and brother-in-law Glenn Prehn; as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.

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