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Gene Lee Delzer, age 71, of Lake Geneva, WI, passed away on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at Clement J. Zablocki Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. Son of the late Melvin and Edith (Daley) Delzer, Gene was born on May 4, 1952, in San Bernadino, CA. He grew up on the West Coast with two siblings, where he enjoyed surfing and eating “California tamales,” which he insisted were far superior to tamales found in the Midwest. As a young teen, Gene and his family moved to Wisconsin. Just a few years later, in June of 1969, Gene enlisted in the United States Navy. He served honorably in the Vietnam War, and completed tours in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia. Following his time in the service, Gene returned home to Wisconsin and began working as a sous chef for the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva. He was united in marriage to Kathleen A. Howen, and the couple raised their two children in the Pell Lake and Genoa City areas. Gene and Kathleen divorced in the 1990’s, and Gene was later united in marriage to Mary Beth Plakut at an intimate, backyard wedding on July 5, 2005. Gene spent much of his career working his way up the ranks at Morton Chemical Company, and spent his final working years as a steelworker at Plymouth Tube Company.
In his free time, Gene loved to cook. When his children were young, he called himself “Chef Boyar-Delzer,” and later in life, he went by “Chef Delzario.” He was mechanically minded and rebuilt several cars including a Firebird for his son. Gene also enjoyed boating, fishing, and watching football—especially the Green Bay Packers. Gene was an avid Beatles fan, and music held a special place in his heart throughout his entire life. His family fondly recalls a favorite song he sang and played on guitar called “The Cat Came Back.” Gene also enjoyed scuba diving and motorcycles. He had a red Kawasaki motorcycle and would jokingly remark, “it’s not a Harley, but it’s paid for.” Gene and Mary Beth took many beautiful road trips on his bike. When the internet became popular and easily accessible, Gene revealed a penchant for online shopping on sites like eBay and Amazon. He was a generous and thoughtful gift-giver who would do his Christmas shopping months in advance and delight in answering family members’ phone calls with the phrase, “I know what you got for Christmas!”
Gene was a very active member of the McHenry Moose Lodge who participated in countless events, involving his children whenever possible. He was also a member of the Bloomfield Volunteer Fire Department and the Water Safety Patrol of Powers Lake. Gene lived his life fully and joyfully, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Gene is survived by his loving wife, Mary Beth Delzer; children, Jessica (Chadwick) Hove and Joshua (Leslie Woodard) Delzer; grandchildren, Liam Delzer, Logan Woodard, and Landon Woodard; and former wife, Kathleen Howen. He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Edith Delzer; and siblings, Chris and Pamela Delzer.
Friends and family are invited to a visitation on Friday, November 17, 2023, from 10:00AM until 11:00AM at Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Home, 113 Freeman St., Genoa City, WI, 53128. A funeral service will be held at 11:00AM with Pastor Sara VanDeBerg presiding. Burial with military honors to follow at Bloomfield Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Gene’s family. Online guestbook at haaselockwoodfhs.com. Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Home and Crematory of Genoa City is honored to serve the Delzer family. Gene’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the wonderful care staff at Zablocki VA hospital for providing exceptional, compassionate care to Gene in his final days.