Cover photo for Eugene "Gene" J. Bertacchini's Obituary
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1927 Eugene "Gene" 2024

Eugene "Gene" J. Bertacchini

June 16, 1927 — May 24, 2024

Waukesha

Eugene "Gene" J. Bertacchini, age 96, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 24, 2024, at AngelsGrace Hospice in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He was a resident of Waukesha, Wisconsin and Oro Valley, Arizona.

Gene was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 16, 1927, and was the beloved only child of Anton and Diana (née Corsini) Bertacchini. Gene was drafted while in college to serve in the U.S. Army. Due in part to the G.I. Bill, Gene returned to Carroll College in Waukesha, where he earned his degree in Business Administration. While at Carroll, Gene was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (secretary) and Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, was Chair of the Student Senate, and was honored with Carroll’s “Junior Award” and was named to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”

Thanks to sponsorship by his father, Gene was an Illinois Freemason which further instilled his dedication to friendship and family, values that were manifest throughout his life. Gene’s 35+ year professional career was spent with Simplex Time Recorder Company in sales management. Additionally, he remained active with his church community, including being a charter member and deacon of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Waukesha, and chair of the church’s original building committee.

Gene found joy in golf, tennis, and watching old Westerns. He sang-along with gusto with Willie, Tony, and Pavarotti—although not necessarily on key or with the correct lyrics. Gene owned the fine art of car-ride karaoke, particularly on long road trips. He was an avid angler and hunter, and cherished time spent with close friends and family on his numerous trips in search of the big catch or the memorable chase in varied locations in the U.S. and Canada. Gene’s grandson, Jacob, to this day holds a special memory of fishing in Canada with four generations of Bertacchini men. 

Gene enjoyed many summers on Columbia Lake in Waupaca, and Papoose Lake in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, and RVing throughout the West. He was blessed to have visited his family’s ancestral home in Italy with his loving wife, Wendy, where la famiglia went out of their way to welcome them with open arms. The greatest thrill for Gene was not only the hugs and kisses from his 100+ cousins, but that he was able to meet the oldest remaining member of the Bertacchini family, his grandfather’s youngest brother who at the time was 95-years old.

Above all else, Gene treasured his family, and will be forever cherished as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, cousin, and friend. His zest for life and keen sense of humor was a continuous companion until his last day. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 31 years, Wendy Barber Bertacchini; and his children: Sandra Bertacchini Henke of Waukesha; Tom Bertacchini (Nancy Hetzer) of Waupaca; and Jeff Bertacchini of New Berlin. Gene is also survived by his two grandchildren: Jacob Woyahn-Henke and Elizabeth Bertacchini; sister-in-law Linda Pike; nephew Dallis Pike; grandnephew Sean Pike; as well as other relatives and dear friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, grandson Matthew Woyahn-Henke, son-in-law James A. Henke, daughter-in-law Debra Bertacchini, and Roberta (née Anderson) Bertacchini, the mother of his children.

The family wishes to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Thomas Cantieri and Dr. Andrew McGown of ProHealth, and the dedicated teams with ProHealth Palliative Care, Home Hospice Care, and AngelsGrace Hospice for the exceptional care and support provided to Gene and his family.

A private interment service will take place at Northshore Garden of Memories in North Chicago, Illinois. For those wishing to honor Gene with a memorial contribution, donations to Carroll University (100 N East Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186) or Southminster Presbyterian Church (200 Richard St., Waukesha, WI 53189) are appreciated.

May Gene’s legacy of love for his family and friends, his sense of humor, and his passion for life continue to inspire all who were fortunate to have known him.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way”. Unknown 

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