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GENE TELPNER (published on May 14, 2005)

GENE TELPNER With deep sadness, the family announces the passing of Eugene (Gene) Louis Telpner on Monday, May 9, 2005. Gene was predeceased by his parents Ben and Sylvia Telpner. He will be lovingly missed by his devoted wife of 60 years, Fritzi; his three children, Terri Lee (John Farber), Ron (Patsy) and Wendy (Harry Stryer); five grandchildren, Jordan Farber, Michael (Carly) and Meghan Telpner, Lauren and Cara Jane Stryer; his brothers, Maynard (Sally), Zeph (Flora); sister Audrey (Morrie Shapiro); sisters and brothers-in-law, Esther and Manuel Lecker, Morley and Sally Shuckett, Bert Shuckett; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Gene was born in Omaha, Nebraska on June 1, 1920 and grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He studied Journalism at the University of Nebraska and joined the Omaha World Herald as feature writer. This was the beginning of a successful journalism career that spanned over 60 years. Gene served with the U.S. Air Force as a Captain. He flew numerous combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe and was shot down over Brunswick, Germany. He was forced to jump from a burning plane in combat and was seriously injured on his 18th mission. He was reported Missing in Action and was held Prisoner of War for 13 months in Stalag Luft One. During this time, he kept a secret diary recounting the details of his imprisonment and his dreams for the future. His military awards are numerous including a Purple Heart and Order of the Caterpillar. Upon his return from service, Gene married Fritzi Shuckett, the love of his life, on November 13, 1945. After living in Omaha for a few years, they returned to Winnipeg where Gene became a partner of the Bowl-Arena. At the same time, he joined the Winnipeg Free Press and wrote a weekly bowling column called It Strikes Me . During his career in journalism, Gene was a lecturer, world traveller, syndicated columnist, author, news analyst, television and radio personality. Gene was fascinated by the lives of all people and developed a diverse and loyal readership throughout his career. He spent 14 years with the Winnipeg Free Press. This was followed by 13 years at The Winnipeg Tribune as entertainment editor, columnist and feature writer. After the closure of The Tribune, Gene joined The Winnipeg Sun as Associate Editor and daily columnist. Throughout his career, he was a contributing writer to numerous medical, film and entertainment magazines and wrote for many weekly and monthly publications throughout Canada and the U.S. His journalism awards included a National Newspaper Award for a series on corneal transplants. Gene was involved in setting up the first eye bank in Manitoba. His television and radio credits as writer, host, entertainment commentator and panellist on CBC, CKND and CTV were extensive. His travels as Entertainment Editor took him around the world including over 100 hundred overseas assignments and more than 250 assignments to cover Hollywood premieres and stories about the stars. He counted many of his special subject interviews among his friends and his reputation as a seasoned professional was widely recognized in Hollywood circles. As a travel writer, his series of articles covered every country and included the publication of booklets on Africa and Taiwan. Gene lectured extensively on the subject of journalism at over 20 universities in the U.S. Gene was the driving force in the inception of Variety Club of Manitoba Tent 58 and was its first Chief Barker. He served as President of numerous organizations including Canadian Sports Writers Association, Winnipeg Press Club, American Ex-Prisoners of War, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Canadian Press Bowling Association, which he also founded. He was Deputy Governor, Toastmasters International and Honorary Ringmaster, Shrine Circus. He was also appointed as Director on many Boards: Manitoba Heart Foundation, Rheumatism and Arthritis Society; Canada Centennial; CJOB Shut-Ins Fund, Victorian Order of Nurses and Manitoba Film Classification Board. Gene's contributions have been recognized far and wide. He was honoured with the City of Winnipeg Humanitarian Award, City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, Variety Club International Presidential Citation, Variety Club Hall of Fame, Abraham Lincoln High School Hall of Fame and Bowling Hall of Fame of Manitoba. Gene had a great intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge. He was fascinated by the lives of all people. He was an avid reader and inspired in his children and grandchildren the importance of education, an interest in the arts and a passion for travel. Gene's name was his reputation and his legacy is immeasurable. As a husband, father and grandfather, his gentle nature, sense of humour and unconditional love will never be forgotten. A special note of gratitude is extended to the caring staff of the Simkin Centre for providing an atmosphere of compassion and dignity throughout his residence. Many thanks to his personal caregiver Marta Rivera, Dr. Jack Rusen and to family and friends for their loyalty and devotion. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gene's memory to Variety Club of Manitoba or to the charity of your choice. Funeral services were held on Thursday, May 12 at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue with interment at the Rosh Pina Memorial Park.

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