Eugene (Gene) Gullickson
Eugene (Gene) Gullickson, 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, surrounded by loved ones.
Gene was born on February 17, 1934, in River Falls, WI, to Lloyd and Esther Gullickson; he was the oldest of four children, growing up in the Clear Lake, WI area. When Gene was in the seventh grade, he moved to Iowa to live with his grandparents and worked at a local café. Gene moved back to Clear Lake when he was a sophomore, where he was active in Future Farmers of America, played basketball and graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1952.
Gene proudly served his country in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1956, in Casablanca, Africa as an Air Policeman during the Korean Conflict Era and Peacetime. During his time in the service, he raced motorcycle and was the President of that club and enjoyed playing volleyball. While in the service, Gene, befriended Kenny Pawlowski who remained a special friend throughout his life and later was the best man in his wedding.
In 1956, Gene enrolled into UW River Falls. While in River Falls, Gene met his forever soulmate, LaVonne Haglund and married August 24, 1957. In 1958, Gene and LaVonne moved to rural Plum City, WI and started dairy farming, later switching to hogs. Together, they built a reputation of producing quality pork that have been on a number of families tables and even spanning to the Twin Cities by supplying the mascot pig for the Saint Paul Saints baseball team. People would also say Gene and LaVonne had an “Old McDonald Farm” that included horses, sheep, chickens, and rabbits. And one cannot forget his love for the International Farmall tractors. Farming brought joy to Gene, and he enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren participate in 4-H at County Fairs. In addition to farming, Gene also drove semi, seeing much of the United States.
Gene was extremely proud of his 66 years of marriage to LaVonne, his children and grandchildren. The greatest joy for Gene was when the family was all together. He adored his children and was a pillar to the family. All three of Gene’s children were active in sporting events and school activities where he and LaVonne were fixtures, never missing any event. During his children’s high school events, students would reference Gene as “big red” and made sure he always had a bag of popcorn. He was elected and served as the President of the Pepin Booster Club. He also talked often of how proud he was that each of his three children went on to graduate with higher-education degrees.
Gene’s grandkids will forever remember him as a fun-loving grandpa and attending their school events. The memory the grandkids will never forget is Gene clicking his fingernails in their ears telling them there are bugs in their hair and all the adventures on the farm.
One cannot think of Gene without remembering his “gift of gab” with anyone, including strangers. When Gene would get to talking with anyone for an extended period, LaVonne would need to find a place to sit down. When he found another person with that same gift, it was not unusual for Gene to talk for an hour about farming, his wife, and children. He would also love to interact with the little ones in the stores, making them giggle.
Gene leaves behind a loving family, including his wife of 66 years, LaVonne; his sons Larry (Susanna) of Galesville, WI, Allen (Pauline) of Plum City, WI, and daughter Jamie (Joel) of Hudson, WI; his grandchildren Jodi (Austin), Mike, and Phil (Ashley); and one great-grandson, Casen. Gene is also survived by siblings Allen (Carol), Lois, and Eileen, sister-in-law Bonnie, and several nieces and nephews.
He is proceeded in death by his daughter, Jodi; parents, Lloyd and Esther Gullickson; father/mother-in-law Harry and Lila Haglund; sister-in-law Marilyn Laramy; brothers-in-law Cap Gilles, Dick Laramy, Bill Lang, and Earl Persson.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to St. Croix Hospice and The Neighbors of Dunn County memory care.
A burial service will be held, November 10, 2023 at 9:00am, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, followed by a private celebration of life. If you would like to honor Gene’s memory, please consider doing an act of kindness for someone and making them laugh.
Chippewa Valley Cremation Services – Celebration of Life Center is serving the family.