Eugene Michael Desch: 1943 – 2011

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Eugene Michael Desch: 1944 – March 3, 2011

Uncle Gene was one of my favorite uncles. Although he wasn’t my uncle until he married my Aunt Susie in 1965. I remember going to their wedding at our church, St. Mark’s, in Butler. It was in August. It was hot. And I think that was the first wedding I had been to where we threw birdseed instead of rice. He was raised a Catholic and we were Lutheran, which meant that he and Aunt Susie ended up as Presbyterians.

Uncle Gene was a great fit into our family. He could tease and joke and make people laugh just like the rest of us. How we are in the Christmas Eve photograph above is how I always remember him being. I think that night he was teasing me mercilessly about being from a school district that just a week before had passed a controversial resolution recognizing the legitimacy of “Ebonics”. Like I had anything to do with it. :)

But Uncle Gene taught Social Studies in New Castle, so whatever was in the news, especially if it was about education, was a topic of discussion with him.

How I remember him: He was smart and bright and funny, and a bit of a perfectionist. He had a great laugh. He liked to sing. If I remember correctly, he went to Germany at least once with his singing group to perform. He always wanted to know what other people were thinking. He had a sort of clarity about him, that whether he was right or wrong or in between, he was true to himself.

From The Villages Daily Sun:

Eugene M. Desch, 67, died Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Mr. Desch was born in Swissvale, Pa., and moved to The Villages from New Castle, Pa., in 2003. He was a retired seventh-grade social studies teacher at Ben Franklin Junior High School in New Castle; member of North Lake Presbyterian Church; the Parkinson Support Group of The Villages; the Eintracht Singing Society of New Castle; and the Eintracht Maennerchor of New Castle; and an avid golfer.

Survivors include his wife, Alberta “Susie”; daughters, Natalie, New York, N.Y, Adrianne, Cranberry Township, Pa. and brother, James, Jeannette, Pa.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, at Beyers Funeral Chapel, Lady Lake, with the Rev. Mike Loudon officiating.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th Ave./Bob Hope Road, Miami, FL 33136.

Whether you are a family member, friend, or student, post your memories of Uncle Gene for the family in the comments.

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Image: Christmas Eve 1996 at Grandma Kradel’s house.

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