Eugene “Gene” C. Straub, 83, entered his home with Christ on September 23, 2020. Gene surprised his parents, Edmund Straub, Sr & Anna Richter Straub, and siblings with his birth on April 30, 1937 in Paullina, IA. After high school, Gene attended Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward, NE majoring in Education. There he met Irma Fields, whom he married on June 7, 1958. Together they embarked on a journey of service to the Lord, stopping first in Ponca City, OK where Gene accepted his first call to teach at First Lutheran School. While in Ponca City, the couple welcomed four children, Anna, Rose, Jean and Dean. During his time in Oklahoma, Gene also completed his Master’s Degree in Education Administration at Oklahoma State University. His next call was to the Lutheran school in North Hollywood, CA for two years before accepting the call to be the Principal of Topeka Lutheran School in 1971. Gene left the education field in 1973. In 1974, he was called into the finance & insurance industry joining Aid Associations for Lutherans (Thrivent Financial) where he served the people of Northeast Kansas until his retirement in 1994.
Outside of the office, Gene was active in the community. In high school, he joined Future Farmers of America. Later in life, he was a member of Kiwanis, Civitans, and Lutheran Laymen’s League. Gene & Irma also volunteered as chaperones for the Foster Grandparent’s program for many years. He was quite the competitor in racquetball, playing three days a week at the YMCA until his retirement. Gene also enjoyed bowling and played in various leagues and tournaments all throughout his lifetime.
Calling Gene’s home or office, the answering machine played a message that finished with the words, “You are important to me. Make it a beautiful day.” These two sentences summarized how Gene chose to live his life and bless those around him. Most important was demonstrating the love of Jesus to everyone he encountered in his life and appreciating the Lord’s beauty in his surroundings. His children, 21 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren often heard him cheering loudly at plays, concerts, volleyball, basketball, football games, or cross country meets while he was physically able to attend. It was common to receive a phone call or card in the mail. A longtime member of Faith Lutheran Church, his fellow church members were greeted with eye contact, a firm handshake and often a compliment when Gene was on usher duty. As a Stephen’s Minister, he was a listening ear and comfort for those in crisis. In retirement, Gene volunteered with hospice providing companionship for individuals alone at the end of their lives.
Along with his wife Irma, Gene traveled the globe enjoying the beauty of God’s world. While living on the farm, he was an avid birdwatcher, particularly fond of hummingbirds. He could often be found listening to classical symphony music on his Bose stereo and admitted to finding utter joy in the sounds of Irma’s piano playing floating through the windows to the outdoors.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Irma, and his great-granddaughter, Leah.
Visitation will be at Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, Mid-Town Chapel on Friday, October 2, 2020 from 5pm-7pm. Services will be held at Faith Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 3pm. A private graveside service for family is planned at Mount Hope Cemetery on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 1pm.
Memorials may be made to Topeka Lutheran School, 701 SW Roosevelt Street, Topeka, KS 66606 or the Lutheran Hour Ministries, 660 Mason Ridge Center Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141.
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