Eugene H. Milewsky

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Eugene Henry Milewsky passed away peacefully at the Great River Care Center on April 21, 2024.  Born in McGregor on Aug. 6, 1929, Gene lived a life marked by hard work, devotion and a love for his family.


Gene grew up in rural Clayton, attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School and graduated from Garnavillo High School in 1947. Following graduation, he served in the Army Reserve, worked briefly as a core picker at Farley & Loetscher Manufacturing in Dubuque and for REC setting some of the first rural power lines in northeast Iowa. 


He married Kathleen Carroll on Oct. 22, 1955, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and they joined his parents on their dairy farm west of McGregor, across the ridge from the land cleared by his Moody ancestors in the 1850s. Gene and Kathleen were side by side raising livestock, planting crops and expanding the farm with much attention to soil conservation. Gene relied on his children (and many local teens during hay season) as his farmhands, leading by demonstration and setting the pace. In later years, many of those local teens gave appreciation for lessons and values of hard work learned.


Gene was very involved in his community. He was a township trustee, Mar-Mac school board member - serving one term as president, was instrumental in the revival of the Mendon Hustlers 4-H Club and was on the Mar-Mac Rescue Squad Board. He bowled weekly for 49 years in PdC (detouring through Lansing during the 1965 flood) and bought his first snowmobile in the early 70s, enjoying trips with family and friends. He followed the Cubs, his children/grandchildren’s activities and met regularly with the locals for coffee or a beer. When he had a chance to sit down, Gene was rarely without a magazine or newspaper within his reach. He continued reading several daily newspapers on his laptop at GRCC. 


As farming responsibilities lessened, Gene was able to enjoy more of the good things in life. He and Kathleen traveled more and even took golf lessons. They enjoyed walking the Barnyard 9 as part of their morning routine. They would drop a car in town on their way to the course so they could walk to town later in the day for happy hour with their crew.  One of their greatest joys was rounding up the grandkids and taking them on various adventures, including bike rides, volksmarches, ballgames, shuffleboard and initiating them to the much loved family card games. 


No longer actively farming and not used to being idle, Gene sought out a part time job. Since Walmart deemed him unworthy due to his “lack of work experience,” he found great satisfaction working at Wonder Wash, visiting with people and handing out treats to children and dogs. 


Kathleen was diagnosed with melanoma in 2011. Gene became her number one caregiver, allowing her to remain on the farm, almost until her last days. 


Gene was blessed to find love again and married Barbara Yates in 2013. Their years together were filled with travel, time with family and friends, quiet days at their home on Jade Avenue, laughs and love. The affection they shared was inspiring. As Gene’s health began to decline, Barb was a patient and loving spouse. 


Gene always had a knack for striking up conversations with strangers that often led to unexpected friendships and memorable experiences. Even in his final days, Gene’s mind remained sharp, a testament to his strength and resilience. A faithful Catholic, he found solace and guidance in his faith, which sustained him throughout his journey.


Gene is survived by his wife, Barb, and his children Mark (Wendy) Milewsky of McGregor, Terri (Craig) Strutt of McGregor, Mary (Jim Ranum) Milewsky of Waukon, Dan (Elaine) Milewsky of Watertown, Wis., and Jane (Jim) Mason of Onalaska, Wis. His legacy extends to his eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, who will forever treasure memories with Gene. He is also survived by his brother, Stan (Sharlene) Milewsky, and sister, Jan Froehle, many nieces and nephews and Barb’s family. In addition to Kathleen, he was preceded in death by his parents, Realto and Helen (Moody) Milewsky, brother, Donald (in infancy), and brother-in-law, Robert Froehle. 


In the hearts of all who knew him, Gene will be remembered for his hard work ethic, sharp wit and strong love for his family. May he rest in eternal peace.


Funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, with visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. Gene donated his body to the University of Iowa Deeded Body Program. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to St. Mary’s, Mar-Mac Rescue Squad or  MFL MarMac Dollars for Scholars - Milewsky/Miller fund.


Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in McGregor assisted the family with arrangements.

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