Eugene D. “Gene” Starmer

Eugene D. “Gene” Starmer

June 18, 1948 – October 4, 2020


Eugene “Gene” Dale Starmer was born on June 18, 1948 in Fremont, NE to Dale and Geraldine (Shriver) Starmer.  He was also welcomed into the family by his big sister Pat.  Growing up in Fremont Gene was involved in Boy Scouts, baseball, basketball, football, Methodist Youth Fellowship, and a member of DeMolay.  He was a newspaper carrier for the Fremont Tribune, and also worked at Hinky Dinky grocery store.  Every summer the Starmer family made the trek to Lake Okoboji where they enjoyed some cabin living and fishing.

Gene taught himself to play the guitar, and was a proud member of the “The Six Wild Brakmen”.  In 2001 he was very proud to be inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame with the rest of the members who are also some of his closest friends.  He graduated from Fremont High School in 1966, and went on to attend Midland Lutheran College.

While in college Gene was part of the Warrior football team and tennis team as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Lambda fraternity.  He also worked at Kavish’s Furniture.  Gene did his student teaching at Boys Town High School in Omaha, and graduated from Midland Lutheran College in 1970……but the most memorable part of his college years was meeting his future wife Barb.

Gene married Barb Johnson on August 15, 1970 in Wausa, NE.  The couple made their home in Millard, NE (yes it was not Omaha yet), and started their careers in the rapidly growing Millard Public School District.  In August of 1975 they welcomed their daughter Jenna, and in November of 1978 they welcomed their son Jeff.

Gene began his career in Millard in 1970.  He taught math at Central Junior High for eight years and at Millard/Millard South High School for twenty-five.  Gene was listed three times in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers”.  In 1970, Gene started the Boys Tennis team, and on year later, the Girls Tennis team.  Those teams combined for a total of 381 dual wins along with numerous conference and invitation championships.  The Boys team earned two State Championships and nine State Runner Up titles.  Gene received several coaching honors including NCA and OTA Tennis Coach of the Year, NCA Level 4 and 25 Year awards.  Gene is a three-time Top 8 Finalist for the National Coach of the Year, and has been inducted into the Metro Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  In 2006, he established the criteria for the Nebraska All-State Tennis teams.  In 2015 Gene was inducted into the Millard South Hall of Fame, and in 2016 he was inducted into the Nebraska Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

Gene enjoyed attending his children’s activities over the years, and then his grandchildren’s.  Spending time with his furry grandchildren was also very important to him.  Lunches with friends may have seemed a simple thing, but those meant so very much to him.  Reconnecting with former tennis players also brought great joy to his life.  Golfing with friends was something he looked forward to, and he pushed to keep doing that until he wasn’t able to anymore.  He will be missed by many, but we are blessed to have had him in our lives.  Gene, Dad, Grandpa………we love you so very much.

Preceded in death by parents, Dale and Geraldine Starmer, and granddaughter, Lyla Michelle Erb.  Survived by wife, Barb Starmer; daughter, Jenna (Adam) Erb; son, Jeff Starmer; grandchildren: Ava, Bennett, Brady, Ellie and Lillian; sister, Pat (Tom) Runge; brother-in-law, Dennis Johnson; niece, Jill (Brian) Gable; nephew, Jay Runge; great-nephew, Alex Gable; and great-niece, Ali Gable.

Family will receive friends Friday, October 9th from 5pm to 7pm, at the West Center Chapel.  FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, October 10th, 10:30am, West Center Chapel.  INTERMENT: Mt Auburn Cemetery.  Memorials to be directed by the family.

To view a live broadcast of the Funeral Service, go to and click the “View Live Service” button on the homepage.

In memory of Gene we invite people to wear red or sport their Millard South attire at the Service.




  • Larry & Judy Carlson Posted October 6, 2020 12:14 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. May God comfort you during this difficult time. You have the memories. Treasure them. Share them.

    • Paul & Helen (Helm) Riley Posted October 7, 2020 5:30 pm

      Barb and family, so sorry to learn of Gene’s death. We send prayers and hugs your way. Keep those wonderful memories alive in your hearts forever.

  • Phyllis Nyberg Chapin Posted October 6, 2020 12:25 pm

    For Barb & family, May your memories bring you peace. Gene was the first person who encouraged me to play tennis. One of those very old memories.

  • Richard ‘Noogs’ Harrison Posted October 6, 2020 1:00 pm

    We will keep Gene, and the entire family, in our thoughts and prayers! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  • Danna Becerra Posted October 6, 2020 1:08 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Prayers to the family.
    Danna (Clopper) Becerra

  • June Westphal Posted October 6, 2020 1:15 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Gene
    .He inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame the same time my husband Steve was. Please accept my condolences.

  • Linda & Larry Finigan Posted October 6, 2020 1:42 pm

    So sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. Our condolances & prayers.

  • Jo Pugsley Fortkamp Posted October 6, 2020 2:38 pm

    I’m so sorry to learn of Gene’s passing. He was such a nice man and he will be missed. Prayers to the entire family.

  • Douglas E. Ohm Posted October 6, 2020 2:51 pm

    We’re so sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. He was so much like a true brother to me through all the years we knew each other. Our prayers are with your family. Doug and Helen Ohm

  • Susan and Scott Boege Posted October 6, 2020 2:57 pm

    We were sad to hear about Gene. We shared many of our grandsons games talking with him over the years. We are thinking of you, Barb, Jeff, Jenna and Denny.

  • Sandra Drummond Jahn Posted October 6, 2020 5:08 pm

    I worked with Gene for many years at Millard South. He was kind, generous, and friendly. Rest In Peace , Gene!

  • Maximilian Kurz and Janice Posted October 6, 2020 5:51 pm

    Very sorry to hear about Genes passing. He was a great coach and teacher. He was a big part of Millard South golden years.

  • Chris Meyer & Jan Jorgensen Posted October 6, 2020 7:08 pm

    Jan and I were both saddened to hear of Gene’s passing. We send our sincere condolences to your family during this time of grief and loss.

  • Terry Spurling Posted October 6, 2020 9:57 pm

    I went to high school with Gene years ago but that doesnt mean I dont feel bad about his passing. Read some news about him and it sounds like he was a great inspiration to all who knew him. My heart goes out to you Barb and all the family members who are having a hard time right now. God bless you all. Terry Spurling.

  • Cheryl Mathis Zumwalde Posted October 7, 2020 6:21 am

    I am so very, very sorry to hear this. Mr. Starmer was a great teacher to me in so many math subjects. It is probably why I am a Controller in my career. I also remember babysitting for Jenna and Jeff. Barbara, may all your great memories bring you comfort and peace during this time.

  • Abby Saunders Posted October 7, 2020 6:28 am

    My heart is breaking for all of you. I will continue to pray for peace and comfort for your family. Sending hugs and support!

  • Michelle Muirhead Posted October 7, 2020 8:56 am

    I was very sorry to learn of Mr. Starmer’s passing. He was my high school tennis coach and taught me my slice serve (which still comes in quite handy on the tennis court today!) We had some really great times during my four years on his team. My condolences to the Starmer family.

  • Marleen Evans Posted October 7, 2020 9:45 am

    I was sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. I have very good memories of working with Gene in the 70’s at Millard Central Junior High. Those were the days!!

  • Mike Ritter Posted October 7, 2020 10:41 am

    Im sorry for your loss! Gene was a great man and my best golf buddie. We have shared a lot of comments, laughs, and beers thru these last 8 years. I will miss him greatly come golf season next year. He always considered me his Hero, but really he was my Hero and very good friend.RIP my friend and hit those big drives now that you liked watching me hit.

  • Phil and Linda Koch Posted October 7, 2020 11:20 am

    So sorry to hear about Gene. Gene was my “Big Brother” when I started teaching math at Central Jr High in 1973. He helped me get started with my teaching career. What a great guy. We became friends and Linda and I used to play cards with Gene and Barb. Rest In Peace “Big Brother”.

  • Kellie Jensen Kopecky Posted October 7, 2020 11:42 am

    So sorry to hear of Mr. Starmer’s passing, he was my math teacher in high school and I learned alot from him. Prayers to your family.

  • Jay Bemis Posted October 7, 2020 11:45 am

    I am saddened to hear of Gene’s passing. Gene was the definition of a teacher and coach. He always pushed you to do your best and to do it the right way. He was the first one there to celebrate your achievements and successes and the first one there to console you in defeat. Rest in Peace Coach, you were a great one!

  • Heidi Block Posted October 7, 2020 12:03 pm

    Mr. Starmer was my high school tennis coach. He had a lot of patience for us girls!
    I’m very sorry for your loss and offer my sincere condolences. He was a wonderful man, teacher and coach.

  • Verna Jensen Homa Posted October 7, 2020 12:33 pm

    I was so sorry to hear about Gene’s passing. I knew Gene at FHS in the 60’s. He taught me to play tennis. I should say tried, I wasn’t the best on the courts.. Gene played tennis for FHS and my husband Russ was his coach. They later became very good friends and would spend time together for many years until my husbands passing. I know Russ is welcoming his pal Gene “Home” with open arms. I am sure they will enjoy watching tennis matches together again. My sincere sympathy to the Starmer family in these difficult times.

  • Lynn Bluml Posted October 7, 2020 12:46 pm

    Barb& Family
    I had the pleasure of playing with and competing with Gene on the tennis court
    In addition my 3 kids were all taught math by Gene@ Millard South
    Thoughts and prayers

  • Laura Feld Posted October 7, 2020 1:14 pm

    I started teaching at Millard Central Junior High in 74. Gene was very helpful to a beginning teacher. I appreciated his kindness and patience. I am sure he is having a grand reunion with all the Millard teachers and admin who have gone before him.

  • Gordon Kruse Posted October 7, 2020 3:08 pm

    I was totally taken aback when I heard of Gene’s passing. My heart and prayers goes out to Barn and the rest of the family. Our friendship went back to the early days of The Brakmen when Gene played bass for us. He was such a super nice guy and will greatly be missed. Gene was a fellow brother in the band, and truly enjoyed his comradery on breaks after band practices and during our gigs will always be remembered. I am so pleased that he did not let the world get in his way for his love of God and his family. A true friend and great man. Love ya, Bro. Gordon, Susan and Adam Kruse

  • Jeri Jensen Hieb Posted October 8, 2020 8:07 am

    I was startled to read of Gene’s passing. Barb, even though our paths have not crossed often since we taught together at Cody Elementary, I have considered you and your family to be special. Please accept my heartfelt wishes for your peace and comfort at this time.

  • Chris Oltmans and Family Posted October 8, 2020 8:13 pm

    Prayers and love to the family. Grew up at Millard South playing basketball with Jeff. Coach was awesome and big part of my high school experience. Barb, Jeff and Jenna – thinking of you all.

  • Robeert Krafka Posted October 8, 2020 8:13 pm

    I have been friends with Gene since grade school. He was a great person and a very well rounded individual. He was one of the best athletes and finest scholars ever graduated from Fremont High. Gene will be deeply missed by all who were blessed to know him. My deepest sympathies to his family and fellow friends.

  • Jane and Bob Patterson Posted October 8, 2020 8:35 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. We are sorry for your loss.

  • Kirk Peterson Posted October 9, 2020 8:20 am

    Always enjoyed talking with Gene whenever we crossed paths after Jeff’s football or basketball games at Millard West. Never too high or never too low – he did it right.

  • Sue and Dick Spangler Posted October 9, 2020 12:41 pm

    Sue and I were sorry to hear about Gene’s passing. He arrived in Millard Schools the same year we did. He was a friendly guy and well liked by everyone. He was a great teacher and coach and respected by the students he came into contact with. He will be missed by all of us.

  • Dennis Brislen Posted October 9, 2020 4:21 pm

    I first knew Gene when he was a Jr High kid hustling newspaper subscriptions at our college dorm. He was smart, outgoing and had a great sense of humor. And he made darn sure we paid our bills on time. It came as no surprise that he went on to be a successful, teacher, coach and all around good guy. He touched a lot of lives and will be missed.

  • Diane Handley Posted October 9, 2020 6:48 pm

    Paul and I are so sorry to hear of Gene’s death. We always enjoyed spending time with you while watching our kids play sports. Gene was a very popular and favorite teacher at Millard South – and by our boys. Our prayers go out to you Barb and your family during this sad and difficult time.
    With our deepest sympathy,
    Paul & Diane Handley

  • Jerry Ladd Posted October 9, 2020 7:14 pm

    My Brother Jim and myself Jerry will miss your Dad Greatly!! He was our Brother and fellow Brakmen in the band!! Our saddness is loosing Gene so quickly and not being their to confort him!! Peace, our Brother!!! We will miss you ALWAYS. TILL WE MEET AGAIN ON THAT ALMIGHTY STAGE AND ON THOSE ALMIGHTY TENNIS COURTS IN HEAVEN!!! RIP GENE AND OUR HEARTS WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU!!😪😇😇😇😇😇 Jim and Jerry Ladd

  • Richard Snyder Posted October 9, 2020 8:57 pm

    So sad to hear of Gene’s passing. Gene and I grew up in the same area of Fremont, Nebr as young kids. I remember asking my mom for permission to go to Gene’s house to play and ride our bikes. That was always a special occasion to be with Gene and watch him excel at just about every sport he tried! So long my friend. Richard Snyder

  • Cathi and Gene Arnold Posted October 9, 2020 9:24 pm

    Our heartfelt sympathy Barb, Jenna, Jeff and families in your great loss!!
    So many fun memories with you all!
    Cathi and Gene

  • Cathi and Gene Arnold Posted October 9, 2020 9:28 pm

    Our heartfelt sympathy Barb, Jenna, Jeff and families in your great loss!!
    So many fun memories with you all!
    Certainly a life well lived!!
    Cathi and Gene

  • Gary Darling Posted October 10, 2020 9:16 am

    Gene and his golf wit will be missed on the Messiah golf league.

  • Carol Ott Posted October 10, 2020 10:33 am

    It was such a lovely service Barb! Be gentle with yourself as you walk the mourner’s path.
    Lovingly, Carol

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