STURGIS - Eugene "Gene" Carl Rottenbucher was born January 13, 1935, at 4 a.m. to Jake and Margaret Rottenbucher at Carl Gerber's home on the kitchen table. He died August 20, 2017.
Gene was raised on a ranch in Cedar Canyon, One of his most memorable experiences was breaking a horse his dad gave him named Peco. He was scared to break him but afterwards they were a great team. He attended school in Cedar Canyon, Sulfphur Creek, and St. Martins.
He joined the U.S. Army in 1953 during the Korean War, serving in Germany. Following his honorable discharge in 1955, he worked as a ranch hand. While doing this, he found the love of his life, Lila Richardson. They were married Feb. 4, 1956. Together they had seven children.
In the 60's, Gene entered the heating and air conditioning trade. He later established Gene’s Heating and Air Conditioning in Sturgis. He retired in 1996 after selling his business to Dave Shone.
During his life, Gene was active in the Sturgis American Legion and the VFW, serving as the Commander for a number of years. He also bartended and called bingo for the VFW. He enjoyed the motorcycle rally, which allowed him to meet a lot of people that he became lifelong friends with. Gene owned a Honda Helix that he and Lila drove for over 45,000 miles.
Gene is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lila; two sons, Jake (Murl) Rottenbucher and Jan (Sami) Rottenbucher; five daughters, Donna Baier, Debbie (Mark) Klabenes, Dixie Barnett, Sandy (Blaise) Frost, and LuAnn (Marvin) Kellsy; 15 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joseph Rottenbucher; sister, Katherine Symonds; and grandson, Greg Baier.
Visitation was Tuesday, Aug. 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kinkade Funeral Chapel.
Mass of Christian burial will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, at old St. Martin's Chapel in Sturgis with Father Timothy Castor officiating. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
A memorial has been established to old St. Martin's Chapel in Sturgis.