Gene C. Elsasser
July 27, 1933 – September 27, 2020
As one can see by Gene’s “Life in Pictures”, he had a great love for family, friends, and the great outdoors. He spent countless days as a young boy across the street at his grandfather (Charlie Laushman’s) Skelly gas station. The streets of 6th and Center were his playground.
As a boy growing up, he was a ballboy at Rosenblatt Stadium. His sister, Donna shared with us that “with his salary, he purchased the family’s first TV set”. Before that, they would all find someone else in the neighborhood with a TV to visit. He also worked at Sheldon Summer Camp with his uncle Don. This continued to instill his passion for camping, fishing, and hunting that would carry him into his adult life. Again, a way to connect with family and friends…and lead them into the great outdoors.
He met Ruth Riedmann, and a whole new adventure began. She was pretty and knew how to bait a hook, load a shotgun, and understood that going “out to dinner” meant “out to the campground”. Together they started a romance.
First came Love, then Marriage, and then a Family ensued. Debbie, Gary, and Dale. We always had a camera to document our adventures. We took great family vacations and had great experiences with each stop. Always trips to Harold’s Cabin in Okoboji. Often trips to the Panowicz’s home in Olympia. But mostly camping adventures with no particular destination. Just out to explore!
Soon dad started Aspen RV Center at 12606 W. Dodge. Everyone in the family was involved. It pulled us closer to the great outdoors and each other. My dad could pull a truck, followed by a trailer, followed by a boat. More impressive was, he could back them all up. We then added water skiing and then snow skiing to our resume of outdoor activity. Gene was always ready to go!
Husker Football consumed our fall season dad had motorhomes that had more options and appliances than in our home. Adventures got bigger. Dad got motorhomes delivered full of bootlegged Coors beer. It was always family, friends, and fun.
Gene and Ruth found fashion and style. Big lapels, longer hair always perfectly “styled”, his big cowboy hats, even a set of sideburns (chops). Adventure got bigger again, now they had the means to explore far off countries.
Finally, dad’s biggest adventure. Hot Air Ballooning! Started as a small family outing. And grew, and grew,…up, up and away. It gave him a chance to travel the country, being a little eccentric and meeting people with a good blend of craziness and competition. Usually the family was involved, sometimes it was just his sidekick parrot, Harley.
As we immersed ourselves in his Life of Pictures, it was obvious that Gene C. Elsasser led a rich life due to his love of all things in the great outdoors. Through it all, he was driven with his passion to bring family and friends closer together by introducing them to wonderful new and exciting opportunities. His truck and trailer, always at the ready.
I hope you were one of the lucky ones that was able to hold on for the wild ride. Thank you for sharing in his life!
Preceded in death by parents, Mildred and Glenn; wives, Ruth and Jacquie; daughter, Debbie Enholm; and sister, Dee Hiatt (Norm). Survived by sons, Gary Elsasser (Kathy) and Dale Elsasser; son-in-law, Mark Enholm; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; sister, Donna Nimerichter (Ed); and brother, Wayne Elsasser (Kathiey).
VISITATION following CDC guidelines: Wednesday, September 30th from 5pm to 7pm, at the West Center Chapel. FUNERAL SERVICE: Thursday, October 1st, 1pm, West Center Chapel. INTERMENT: Westlawn Hillcrest Cemetery. Reception Thursday from 3pm to 5pm at the German-American Society (3717 S 120th St.) Memorials will be directed by the family.
To view a live broadcast of the Funeral and Graveside Services, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Service” button on the homepage.