Eugene Joseph Bertsch, 70, ended a 13-year battle with cancer on Sept. 11, 2020.
He passed peacefully at the Spirit Mountain Hospice House surrounded by his loving family.
“Gene” was born June 21, 1950, in Rugby, N.D., and was the fifth of seven children born to George and Lena Bertsch.
Gene’s education and faith were extremely important to him. As an 11-year-old boy, he took a job to pay his way through Catholic school, and was the first child of his siblings to graduate from high school. At 19, Gene was drafted into the Army where he proudly and honorably served his country during the Vietnam War. He served as a member of the prestigious Blackhorse Unit and earned the Army Commendation Medal. He was proud to be a veteran.
After Gene was honorably discharged from the Army, he secured a job as an inspector, for the Corps of Engineers, with the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, where he stayed and enjoyed a long career. This job took him to North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
From the early ’80s, Gene made Cody his home, and served his community in many ways. He was a faithful member of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, a dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus as a 3rd degree for many years before becoming a fourth degree for the rest of his life. Gene was also a committed member of the American Legion and the VFW.
In April 2009, he married his beloved wife Debbie Hicks, who loved, cherished and cared for Gene for the rest of his life.
It is a difficult task, seemingly impossible, to try and describe a life truly well-lived in a few paragraphs. Gene lived his life with integrity, honor and was dearly loved by many. He was a gentle soul – very thoughtful, considerate, proper and rather meticulous. Oh, and he loved his Broncos. Gene’s kindness and genuine smile will be missed tremendously.
Gene is survived by his wife Debbie Bertsch; children Shawn Korner, Troy Bertsch, Tiffany (Cody) Jerry; stepdaughters Brandi (Todd) Shepard, Ashle (Tom) Stroble; eight grandchildren including Trevor Korner; siblings James (Rikki) Bertsch, David (Gail) Bertsch, Ron Bertsch, Marge Hoffer, Donna Mathiason, and Sandra (David) Eshenko; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents and Louise Bertsch.
A vigil and rosary will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 at 6 p.m., with Mass of Catholic Burial to follow on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery with veteran honors provided.
An online guestbook is available at BallardFH.com.