Eugene “Gene” J. Brownell, 75, of Bangor, died Monday, April 18, 2022, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He was born on January 1, 1947, in Sparta to Walter and Erma (Schwandt) Brownell. He grew up in the Big Creek area and graduated from Bangor High School.
Gene was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He served two years, with one year of combat in the 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning with airborne certification. He returned to the area after his honorable discharge from the service.
Gene married Karen Johnson on April 12, 1969, at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Sparta. They lived in the Big Creek area their entire married lives.
Gene was a carpenter his entire life. He also worked on local farms and Sparta Manufacturing in his earlier years. He enjoyed woodworking and donated many of the things he built to the Rod and Gun Club in Bangor. He loved to build things and always kept busy. He finished construction on his last house this past year even with his health issues. He also enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing, and trips up north to Hayward. Gene was also a member of the Bangor VFW Anderson-Leis Post 8278 and St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Sparta. He was always proud of his big garden every summer. Gene’s beloved pets Perci, Findley, and Benny Bunny will miss Gene dearly. He enjoyed going to his grandkids sporting events and serving in the Honor Guard at Bangor High School football games.
Gene is survived by his wife of 53 years of marriage, Karen, of Bangor; children, Todd (Tami) Brownell of Bangor, and Eric (Ellen) Brownell of La Crosse; grandchildren, Brandon, Madison, Nicholas, and Cole Brownell, and Caleb Freybler; siblings, Roger Brownell of Bangor, Duane (Cindy) Brownell of Bangor, Stan (Kathy) Brownell of Sparta, and Joyce (Tim) Schaller of Bangor; and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Nancy Brownell; and infant sister, Arldene Brownell.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022, at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Sparta, with Reverend James Korthals officiating. Burial will be in the First Portland German Cemetery, Portland, WI. Brandon Brownell, Nicholas Brownell, Cole Brownell, Dale Johnson, Tim Schaller, and Caleb Freybler are active pallbearers and Gordy Isensee, Gary Oswald, Bryan Jandt, Don Ruedy, Steve Evans, and Tom Vieth are honorary pallbearers.
Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, and from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Monday at the church.
Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com.
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.