Funeral services for Gene Denler of Morris, MN will be held Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at Evangelical Free Church in Morris. Visitation will be Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris and for one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday. Burial will be a private family burial.
Gene Edward Denler and his identical twin were born on March 1, 1928 in Normal, IL, sons of Claude and Frances (Ropp) Denler. Both brothers loved music, playing coronet (Gene) and trombone (Dean) at Youth for Christ rallies when they were teenagers. After high school, they went to Moody Bible Institute and then with the encouragement of Billy Graham enrolled at Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis. While at Northwestern Gene and Dean became interested in the Barnett sisters, Mary and Ruth. They proposed on the same night, in the same place at the same time -- with the same result!
In 1951 the twins joined the Navigators as missionaries and were assigned to be musical guests for the Billy Graham Crusades. Then the Navigators sent them to Taiwan. Two years later Mary and Ruth joined the Denler twins in Taiwan and were married in a double wedding on December 20, 1952, in General Chiang Kai-shek's private chapel. Gene and Mary then served with the Navigators in the Philippines and Hong Kong from 1953 to 1975 along with a brief stint for Gene in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising in 1957.
Gene worked in real estate, financial planning and project management until retiring in 1992. He and Mary then moved to Morris in 2004. Until her death in 2008 after 12 years of Alzheimer's, he cared for his beloved Mary. After her death, the Common Cup was a favorite spot for Gene catching up with others along with reading books, studying his Bible and memorizing scripture. He loved a good conversation whether it was about sports, what was happening in the other person's life or sharing some of his thoughts. He was a kid at heart and his friends treasured the glimpses they got of that.
Gene died on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at his home near Morris, MN. He was 88 years old.
He is survived by his daughter: Connie (Paul) Hendricks of Morris; three sons: Gordon Denler of Morris, Ron (Mary) Denler of Champlin and Norman (Tina) Denler of Midlothian, TX; eight granddaughters: Susie (Kris) Hanson, Joy (Seth) Baker, Melissa, Carly and Elizabeth Denler, Hannah (Kyle) Kirkman, Kaitlyn (Austin) Terry and Rebekah Denler; nine great-grandsons: Elliot and Nathaniel Hanson, Aaron, George and Henry Baker, Bowen and Shepherd Kirkman and Eli and Burke Terry; one great-granddaughter: Lilly Hanson and one sister: Lucille Crone of Rockford, IL. He was preceded in death by his wife; one great-grandson: Michael Baker; his parents and one brother: Dean Denler.