Cover photo for Eugene "Gene" Edward Knelange's Obituary
Eugene "Gene" Edward Knelange Profile Photo

Eugene "Gene" Edward Knelange

April 28, 1939 — June 23, 2013

Eugene "Gene" Edward Knelange

Our beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, and friend, Eugene "Gene" Edward Knelange, 74, died surrounded by his loved ones on Sunday, June 23, 2013 in Mesa, Arizona. Baby Eugene was born on April 28, 1939 (the youngest of six children) in St. Louis, Missouri to the late Frederick Herman and Katherine Barbara (Linde) Knelange. Family folklore says Gene's brothers and sisters were sorely disappointed the day his parents brought him home from the hospital - they were expecting ice cream but only got little Eugene. Gene met and married his sweetheart (and consummate tomboy), Maryjane (Priniski) Knelange in Miami, Arizona on December 28, 1965. Gene served honorably in the U.S. Army from 1958-1960. He later earned a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Education, and a second Master's in Counseling. He taught Men's Studies at Scottsdale Community College and Central Arizona College and officially retired as a high school guidance counselor after 20+ years in the public school system. Post-retirement, Gene absolutely adored being an ESL instructor at Rio Salado College and spoke often and fondly of his students. He had an undeniable way about him and could make anyone feel comfortable in his presence. He could make you feel special, no matter your circumstance. Everyone who knew him loved him and loved being around him. Gene had a passion for reading, studying history and art (he was slightly obsessed with the Germans), and loved nothing more than spending his free time playing with his granddaughter and watching her blossom into a beautiful young lady (both inside and out). A soccer enthusiast and avid film buff, Gene was considered by most to have a fun-at-heart spirit and a wonderful (if not painful) sense of humor. Gene loved telling corny jokes, labeling miscellaneous objects and leaving random notes throughout his home, microwaving various instant coffees repeatedly, and telling everyone and anyone who entered his home what food items were in the refrigerator and where they could be found - even if you lived with him in said house and were the person who initially put them there. He was greatly admired for his power-napping and Airedale wrangling abilities. And let's not forget Gene's infamous speeches! The man had a way of capturing someone's soul - the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it didn't matter because he did it in a way that was honest, always hilarious, and somehow inoffensive. Most importantly, Gene was a loving husband, wonderful father and grandfather, and was always loyal to family and friends. As a family member recently put it, "He will become star stuff again, as will we all". And in his star stuff state, he is romping through the fields with his Airedales towards the world's most comfortable recliner where he will sit down to watch the greatest soccer match of all time (with a slightly lukewarm cup of re-heated coffee). Words cannot adequately capture how much he will be missed. Eugene is survived by his wife and children, John Knelange of Gilbert, Arizona and Marie (Nate) Naidas of Herndon, Virginia, his granddaughter, Adara Knelange of Gilbert, Arizona, his brother, Fred (Patricia) Knelange of St. Louis, Missouri, and Tosha Knelange of Gilbert, Arizona. A special thank you to Banner Gateway Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center and to all the family and friends who have shown their support during this time of grief. Arrangements made by SereniCare Funeral Home, Tempe, Arizona.
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