MONONA—Eugene “Gene” Zeman, of Monona passed away peacefully in Phoenix, Ariz., on Monday, Dec. 24, 2018, at the age of 83 surrounded by his loving family. Gene was born June 29, 1935, in Sun Prairie. He graduated from Lodi High School and served in the U.S. Army.
Gene was an elevator representative extraordinaire in the Madison area for decades, primarily with Armor/Kone, and a longtime member of IUEC Local No. 132. He was a teacher and mentor to many during his career.
Gene was the beloved husband of Nancy Drunasky Zeman for 46 years; loving dad of Suzanne Moe, Laura (Doug) Zeman-Mullen, Jill (David) Korfmacher, and Joy (Chris) Haese; cherished grandpa of Anne Goff, Nicole Moe, Holly and Emmery Korfmacher, and Herbert, Oliver, and Joseph Haese; and great-grandpa of Porter Groh. He is also survived by his sister, Judy (Doug) Omata; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family. He was preceded in death by his son, Jeffrey Zeman; brother, Wayne Zeman; parents, Elmer and Dora Zeman; and his dog, Jake.
Gene raised his family in Monona where he resided for over 60 years. He loved spending his summers at his cabin on Ike Walton Lake in the Lac Du Flambeau community. Gene and Nancy would spend much of the winter traveling—first it was road trips in their Volkswagen van (with Jake) through southern states, then extended stays in Hawaii or trips to Central America, and more recently wintering in Arizona.
Gene treasured spending time with his family. His favorite activities were fishing, hosting fish frys, tinkering with all things mechanical and electrical (even when he shouldn’t), rooting for the Packers and Badgers, and playing cards. His kids and grandkids share these passions in large part because of Gene. Gene would rally up family members young and old to play cards. Cribbage was his favorite. And he always played to win. He had a perfect cribbage hand once in his life, in 2013, but ultimately lost that game.
Nancy, his kids, and his grandkids were Gene’s priority. He viewed everyone he met as a potential friend, genuinely interested in who they were and in establishing a connection with them. Gene was an authentic man. The bedrock of his family. His love of life will be remembered and carried on by all who knew him.
Funeral services will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 9 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. A luncheon and Celebration of Life will begin immediately following the service at THE EAST SIDE CLUB, 3735 Monona Drive, Madison.
Memorial Contributions may be made in Gene’s honor to United Animal Friends or Freedom House.
United Animal Friends: http://www.unitedanimalfriends.org/ or PO Box 11133, Prescott, AZ 86304.
Gene and Nancy “fostered” several dogs the last few years. Shortly after arriving in Arizona each winter they would take a dog into their home and care for it until United Animal Friends was able to place the pup in its forever home. They would then take in another foster dog, and so on until returning to Wisconsin in the spring. Gene and Nancy decided theirs would be Cheeto’s forever home shortly after meeting Cheeto a year ago. Gene’s daughter, Laura and her husband, Doug are each Members of the United Animal Friends Board of Directors.
Freedom House: http://www.freedomhouseministries.org/
Gene’s daughter Joy, her husband, Chris and their boys Herbie, Oliver, and JJ regularly volunteer to assist Freedom House in offering education, support, and hope to homeless families. The Haese family’s contributions to Freedom House include organizing donations, managing the garden in the summer, sorting at the food pantry, helping parents with childcare, chipping in on fundraising projects, and lending a hand in relocating the children’s library at the Freedom House.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.