Gene F. Uehling
LA CROSSE â€“ Gene Franklin (Geno) Uehling, 77, of La Crosse died Saturday, March 22, 2014 at Gundersen Lutheran Health Center, La Crosse, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in La Crosse on January 27, 1937, to Franklin and Eleanora (Kranc) Uehling.
He married Judith A. Uehling on June 13, 1959, and they later divorced. He married Rose Bouzek on May 25, 2004.
Gene was innovative, industrious, and entrepreneurial. He always made time for family and friends, and loved to help others. His creativity and resourcefulness started early. While attending Aquinas High School, he won a Young Inventors contest, for the television he built from scratch. He earned an FCC Class III Radiotelephone License while still in high school (and was the youngest Wisconsin resident at the time to earn that license) and opened a radio repair business from his family home. This became his passion, and he pursued radio and electrical engineering degrees from Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).
Uehling began his professional radio and television career at WICD/Channel 15 in Champaign, Ill. He also worked with several radio stations in Champaign and Urbana, Ill. While in Illinois, Gene developed advancements with language laboratory technology, and with hearing aid miniaturization. His patents were first implemented in language labs at both the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, and at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Gene later moved back home to La Crosse with his young family, in the early 1970s, to help with the launch of WXOW/Channel 19. Gene was instrumental in getting WXOW back on the air, in record time of less than 72 hours, by constructing a replacement antenna on a much shorter temporary tower, after vandals cut down Channel 19â€™s tower on July 4, 1973 â€“ forcing the station off the air. He later was Chief Engineer at WIZM AM-FM, in La Crosse, where he oversaw the switch from live broadcast to full broadcast automation at the new â€œZ-93â€ in the late 1970s. After retirement, Gene kept busy with maintenance and security positions at a number of Coulee Region businesses, including Gundersen-Lutheran, The Trane Company, and Festival Foods. He enjoyed work for the challenges it brought and for the people he met.
Geneâ€™s free time was filled with family, and with the animals he loved. He loved fishing and bird-watching. He, and his cat, Sweetie, enjoyed watching and listening to the birds year-round.
He is survived by his wife, Rose, and two daughters, Jenny (Tom Neary) Uehling of Godley, Ill., and Joanne Uehling, of DeSoto, Wis.; two sons, John (Katherine) Uehling of La Crosse, and Eugene (Cherie) Uehling of Shullsburg, Wis.; one stepdaughter, Marsha Anderson of Haltom City, Texas; two stepsons, Charles (Laurie) Bouzek of Appleton, Wis., and Alan Bouzek, of La Crosse; five grandchildren, Robert, Theodore, Andrew, Samuel, and Sadie Uehling; and five step-grandchildren, Ashley and Andrew Anderson, and Nikki, Katie, and Timothy Bouzek.
Uehling was preceded in death by his parents, his uncle Edmund Kranc; his aunt Irene (Sister Judine) Kranc; his former wife Judith Uehling; one grandson, John Roman Uehling; and stepson Edwin Bouzek.
Given Geneâ€™s love of animals, and especially cats, it would be fitting for any memorials to be given to Tabby Town USA (TabbyTownUSA.org).
A Funeral Mass will be held at Blaschke and Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. S., La Crosse, at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. Father Peter Raj will officiate. Family and friends may call from 11:30 am until the time of the Funeral Mass, at the funeral home. Interment will follow, at La Crosse Catholic Cemetery, 519 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse.