Eugene "Gene" Alexander, age 90, of Yankton, SD passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at Avera Sister James Care Center in Yankton.
A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at 10:30 AM, on Friday, January 22, 2016 at First United Methodist Church in Yankton with Reverend Ron Johnson officiating. Burial will be at approximately 3:30 PM, on Friday, at the Holman Township Cemetery in Sibley, Iowa with military honors provided by the George E. Mudge American Legion Post 324 and William F. Allard VFW Post 7373 of Sibley. Visitation is from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, on Thursday, January 21 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton and will continue one hour prior to the funeral on Friday at the church.
Gene was born on June 9, 1925 to Emerson B. and Freda (Winkel) Alexander near Ashton, Iowa. He graduated from Sibley High School in 1944 and from Iowa State University in 1950 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. In 1968 he earned a Master of Education Degree from South Dakota State University.
Gene enlisted in the Army while still in high school during WWII. After graduation, he served as a combat infantryman with the 34th Infantry Division during the North Apennines Campaign and the Po Valley Campaign in northern Italy. Gene was awarded the Bronze Star medal during mountain warfare against German forces during the winter of 1945. After WWII ended, Gene was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and transferred to the 88th Division where he helped defend the Italian border against Yugoslavian communist forces during the beginning of the Cold War. Gene was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served in the Air Force as a small arms instructor and gunnery instructor for B-29 bomber crews. He remained in the Air Force Reserves after the war, received a direct commission to Second Lieutenant, and retired at the rank of Major after 26 years of military service.
All of Gene's civilian occupations were related to farming, including manager of the Osceola County Fair, and as an instructor in the Veterans Farm Training Program for World War II and Korean War Veterans at Sibley, Iowa. Gene was a county extension agent with Iowa State University at Primghar, Iowa. His final career was with the Farm Credit System at the Production Credit Association in Yankton, SD. Gene also owned and managed a successful farm management service in Iowa for nearly fifty years.
Gene was a lifetime member of the American Legion, VFW, Reserve Officers, 34th Division, 88th Division, and the Iowa State Alumni Associations. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge at Sibley, Iowa and the Consistory at Yankton, SD. He was a long-time active member of the Yankton Lions Club where he held several offices, including that of President and Treasurer. He was a member of the Methodist Church at Yankton, and served on several boards over the years. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America. Gene enjoyed the outdoors - hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing, backpacking and visiting with farmers.
Gene married Marlys Joy Dorman on June 22, 1958 in Bismarck, ND. Gene and Marlys moved to a farmstead west of Yankton in 1989 where they enjoyed watching wildlife and planting trees, native grass and wild flowers.
He is survived by his son, Mark (Michele Mooney) Alexander and granddaughter, Meghan Alexander of Columbia, Missouri and son, Glenn Alexander of Winnemucca, Nevada. He leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Marlys on January 18, 2003; his brother, Ray Alexander of Sibley, and his sister, Ruth Dwyer of Los Angeles.
The family would like to thank the staff at Majestic Bluffs and Sister James Care Center for the care and friendship they showed Gene during his final years.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
I have very nice memories of both Gene and Marlys. They were active vibrant people who were an inspiration. I feel blessed to have known them both.
Gene was a very caring and all around nice person. Marlys was my 7th & 8th grade English teacher in Sibley, Iowa .
Mark, Glenn and family,
Your Dad and Mom have been a true blessing to my family, especially my pop Earl and my mom Diane. I am sorry to hear about the passing of your Dad and Grandpa but please know, that he made a true difference during his life's journey. I know I speak for my Pop, Earl Reese, that Gene will be missed. I wish you nothing but the best as you remember the good times with him. Thanks for sharing your Dad and Grandpa with the Huether and Reese family.
Mike Huether, Sioux Falls
My sincere sympathy to Gene's family. His mother and my mother were sisters. We have lots of fond memories of our family get-togethers as children. God Bless you all.
Wanda (Taylor) Eninger
We met your father through sq. dancing. You must be very proud of your father with all his accomplishments. He certainly had a very full life. He was always a very quiet and kind person. I always enjoyed visiting with your Mom.Our prayers and thoughts are with you at this sad time. God Bless you.
Richard and Rosie Wootton
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. May his memory stay in your heart and make you smile.
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