Le Mars, Iowa, formerly Brunsville, Iowa
Gene Floyd Dickman, 92, of Le Mars, formerly of Brunsville, passed away peacefully Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at the Good Samaritan Society in Le Mars.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville. The Rev. Shawn Brooks will officiate. Burial will be in St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery, with military rites provided by the American Legion Heeren-McHale-Wilkens Post 724 of Brunsville. Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday, with the family present at 5 p.m. and a prayer service at 7 p.m., at Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars. Visitation will continue 9:30 a.m. until service time Friday at the church. Expressions of sympathy can be extended to the family through www.rexwinkelfh.com.
Gene Dickman was born on Sept. 23, 1927, in Brunsville, to Floyd and Katherine (Harms) Dickman. He was given his name by his father, who had said that he would be named after the winner of the famous "long count" fight between then champion Gene Tunney and former heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey, held in Chicago on Sept. 22. Gene attended school in Brunsville through the eighth grade and later attended Le Mars Central High School. He was employed by Jack Reese at the Reese Oil Service and Gas Station and the Brunsville Grain Elevator in his youth.
His was truly a life of service. During World War II, he skipped his senior year of high school to enlist at the age of 17 in the U.S. Navy in May 1945. His official enlistment date was moved back until September of that year, and he was eventually sworn in the day following Japan's surrender to the Allies. He spent three years in the Navy, serving as a machinist mate on the USS War Hawk and the USS Doyle. Those ships were involved in troop transport and in mine sweeping operations. He considered his service in the Navy as one of the highlights of his life and enjoyed attending Navy reunions across the country in the years that followed. After his discharge from the Navy, he drove a redi-mix truck out of Le Mars, and later worked for Fritz Ludwigs at the Merrill Locker Plant.
On April 15, 1950, he was united in marriage to Cheryl Jean Luense in a service held in Brunsville. The couple made their home in Merrill, Iowa, until 1958, when they moved to Brunsville, where Gene opened his own business, Gene's Processing. Gene successfully ran the locker plant in Brunsville until 1990. While in business, he developed a reputation for producing excellent sausage and other smoked meat products, several of which were named best in the state at the annual Meat Processors Association event. Gene's Processing also became synonymous with quality wild game processing, and the plant in Brunsville processed approximately 600-700 white tail deer annually. He was active in the meat industry, serving on the board of directors of the Iowa Meat Processors Association, and was the organization's president in 1976. In 1990, he sold the business to his sons, Steve and Ron Geiger. That operation would become the genesis of the Scooter's Natural Meats that now operates a new plant in Brunsville. In retirement, he worked part-time for Wells Blue Bunny at their milk plant in Le Mars.
Gene was active in his community, serving throughout his adult life as a member of the Brunsville city council. He was also the Brunsville Little League manager for many years. A lifetime member of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville, he served on the church council and as congregational president. He was also a proud and active member of the American Legion Heeren-Wilken-McHale Post 724 in Brunsville. His was certainly a life well lived. His humility, work ethic, love of family, of country and community, the outdoors, and sincere patriotism continue to serve as a shining example to all of us who loved him.
Gene and Cheryl loved music and ballroom dancing. The couple spent much of their shared retirement years traveling to ballrooms across the upper Midwest. They were immediately recognizable with their gliding style across the dance floor and were tagged by many as the Dancing Dickmans.
Survivors include his six children, Steve (Peggy) of Brunsville, Stan (Marsha) of Spearfish, S.D., Scott (Lori) of Rockford, Ill., Susan (Dwayne) Braun of St. Joseph, Mo., Stuart (Donna) of Le Mars, and Stacie (Brett) Faber of Aurora, Neb.; 16 grandchildren, Alex (Toni) of Deadwood, S.D., Nick and Dan Dickman of Brunsville, Joe Dickman of Fort Bridger, Wyo., Anne (Austin) Travis of Sheridan, Wyo., Ryan Nicholson of Minneapolis, Katie (Jeff) Kinsley of Aurora, Jonathan Braun of New York City, Emily Braun of Lincoln, Neb., Maggie Dickman of New York City, Drew and Abbie Dickman of Le Mars, and Aly, Paige, Lexie and Dane, all of Aurora; five great-grandchildren; his sister, Doris Brooks; two brothers-in-law, Ben (VerJean) Luense and Jim (Lorrie) Luense; a sister-in-law, Pat (Denny) Zoerink; along with numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
He was preceded in death by the love of his life, wife, Cheryl in 2008; his parents, Floyd and Katherine Dickman; brother, Don Dickman and his wife, Imogene; and brother-in-law, Dr. Leonard Brooks.
The family asks that memorials be directed to Hospice of Siouxland, 4300 Hamilton Blvd., Sioux City, IA 51104.