Eugene J. Kocer, age 78, of Yankton, South Dakota, died Saturday, December 19, 2020, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Yankton with Reverend Larry Regynski officiating. The Mass will be live streamed on Eugene’s obituary page at www.wintzrayfuneralhome.com. Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery with military honors provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791. Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with a rosary and vigil service at 7:00 PM. Face coverings will be required for those attending the services.
Pallbearers are Eugene’s grandsons: Nate Kocer, Seth Kocer, Jonah Kocer, Ethan Fortner, Gavin Fortner and Cody Leyden. Honorary pallbearers are Ron and Barb Suess, Joe and Diane Janssen and Allen and Doris Schoeberl.
Eugene J. Kocer was born June 4, 1942, in Wagner, South Dakota, to Wesly and Elsie (Carda) Kocer. He grew up on the farm near Dante, South Dakota, where he attended country school. He graduated valedictorian of Wagner High School in 1960 and taught country school for two years. He then started working for his uncles on the farm and joined the Army National Guard. He married Karon Steele on July 1, 1967 in Wagner, South Dakota. After their marriage they moved to Scotland, South Dakota, for a short time before moving to Tripp, South Dakota, where Eugene worked for Standard Feed Company which he continued for 22 years. They moved to Yankton, South Dakota, in 1989 and Eugene started working for American Family Insurance until retiring in 2018.
Eugene was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Yankton, the Knights of Columbus and was active in the Jaycees. He enjoyed camping in his RV, bowling and the Minnesota Vikings. He especially loved his grandchildren and attending their events. He was a loyal, faithful, hardworking family man. His strong Catholic Faith was very important to him and he showed it by his generosity, kindness and always making sure everyone had what they needed.
Survivors include his wife, Karon Kocer of Yankton; two children: Brian (Machelle) Kocer of Tea, South Dakota and Tonya (Brian) Leyden of Yankton; seven grandchildren: Nate, Seth, Jonah, Moriah, Ethan, Gavin and Cody; two brothers: Ernest (Theresa) Kocer of Dante, South Dakota and Leo Kocer of Avon, South Dakota; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Alvin.