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1919 Eugene 2011

Eugene Driessen

December 4, 1919 — September 22, 2011

Eugene F. (Gene) Driessen, age 91, formerly of Waseca, MN and Gull Lake, near Brainerd, MN, passed peacefully on September 22, 2011. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 64 years, Kate, and his large and loving family.

Gene was born December 4, 1919, in Kaukauna, WI, to Regina (Clarke) Driessen and Edward Cornelius (Cy) Driessen. A child of the Great Depression era, Gene learned the value of hard work with many jobs as a youth. A graduate of Kaukauna High School, Gene loved football. In 1942 Gene graduated from Loyola University, New Orleans, with a B.S. in Economics. During WW II, he proudly served as a Naval Aviator in the South Pacific. Following WWII, Gene enjoyed a life-long career with Culligan, Inc., as a Corporate District Manager (1946-1962), and as an independent Culligan dealer (1962-1988). Gene was a pioneer in the water conditioning industry and the Culligan system, helping dozens of returning WWII veterans to open and operate independent Culligan dealerships. He earned numerous awards, and served on regional and national organizations, including the Minnesota Water Quality Association and the National Culligan Dealers Association. A WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award honoree, Gene lived a "service before self" life with numerous civic leadership roles (Rotary International, Sacred Heart Parish, Chamber of Commerce, Waseca Development Corporation, STAR City Task Force, South Central MN Education Association, Waseca Senior Citizens Council, Waseca Hockey Association, Gull Lake Yacht Club/Sailing School, Friendly Sons of St Patrick, University of St. Thomas Gainey Center, Trinity High School, Blue Cross Blue Shield MN, Waseca/Valle de Bravo Mexico Sister City, Eucharistic Minister to the Waseca federal prison population, mentoring Waseca High School students, and Waseca County GOP). Gene was most proud of his service to Rotary International as District Governor in 1989-90, and his 40-year role on the Board of Directors of First National Bank of Waseca. "Love One Another". Gene's civic leadership was surpassed only by his dedication to his family. He married Kate April 12th, 1947 in San Bernardino, CA, and together, they raised and educated nine children, starting in Palo Alto, CA, moving to Hopkins, MN, in 1958, and finally settling in Waseca, MN, in 1962. Up to his last days, Grandpa was able to have a personal relationship with his 35 grandchildren and 13 great-grand children, miraculously remembering each by name, and always a huge supporter of his extended family's academic, athletic, musical, artistic and business achievements. Gene loved his family cabin time, making pancakes, and on-the-water activities on Gull Lake. He loved all types of music, and to sing, and had hobbies of model ship building and stained glass art. At family gatherings his favorite songs were "Oh Lord It's Hard to Be Humble" and "My Wild Irish Rose." When asked what advice he had for his family, he responded, "Love one another."

Gene is survived by his loving and supportive wife of 64 years, Catherine ("Kate") Anne (Culligan) Driessen; by his nine children, Jeannette (Mike) Roach of Randall, MN, Daniel (Joyce) Driessen of Rosemount, MN, Elizabeth Driessen of Minneapolis, MN, Thomas (Karen) Driessen of Homewood, IL, Charles (Kris) Driessen of Owatonna, MN, Catherine (Chuck) Arvesen of Pine Springs, MN, Vincent (Martha) Driessen of Edina, MN, Peter Driessen of Minneapolis, MN, and Gerald (Nancy) Driessen of St. Louis Park, MN; by 35 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; and by his sister Kathryn (Ken) Dickinson of Naples, FL.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, and his siblings Gretchen (Harvey) Doering, Kaukauna, WI, Robert (Margaret) Driessen, Appleton, WI, Dorothy (Robert) Weaver, LaJolla, CA, and Thomas (Iva) Driessen, Silver Springs, MD.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, September 26th, 1:30 PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Waseca with Fr. Kevin Culligan and Fr. Marty Schaefer, Concelebrants. Interment with military honors will follow in Calvary Cemetery.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 25th, 2:00 - 6:00 PM at McRaith Funeral Home & Crematory in Waseca, and will continue on Monday for one hour prior to services at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Sacred Heart Church in Waseca, MN, the Discalced Carmelite Friars, Holy Hill Monastery, Hubertus, WI, or the Catholic Society of Religious and Literary Education, New Orleans, LA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Eugene Driessen, please visit our flower store.


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