Gene Robert Kaufman, 85, of Andrews, passed away at 12:41 a.m. on Friday, May 7, 2021 at Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. Gene was born in Huntington, Indiana on February 25, 1936 to Burlin and Josephine (Buse) Kaufman.
Gene graduated from Huntington High School in 1954 where he wrestled, played basketball, football, track, and golf.
Gene graduated from Hanover College in Madison, Indiana with degrees in education and business. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and played on the golf team. While attending Hanover, he met, Joby, his wife of 60 years. He worked as an assistant at Plymouth Country Club the summer after graduation, then returned to Huntington to teach school. Gene taught bookkeeping, accounting, driver's education and started golf in the county schools. Gene, Joby, and his parents designed, built, owned, and operated Etna Acres Golf Course for over 60 years. They created an atmosphere where everyone felt like family.
He was a proud 51-year member of the PGA of America. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Indiana PGA Junior Leader Award and was recently chosen as the 2021 Indiana Section PGA Deacon Palmer Award winner. He was also a Shriner, a member of the Wabash Chapter #90 Eastern Star, and a 50-year member of the Hanna Lodge #61 of Wabash.
His love for the game of golf was infectious! He loved to talk golf with everyone and always found time to help someone with their game. Gene wore many hats at Etna Acres: golf professional, greenskeeper, superintendent, teacher, cook, merchandise salesman, and golf/life therapist...just to name a few. Gene loved the golf course they created and would sometimes drive around looking at the course, having what he called a "religious experience". He also loved following Southwood High School athletics, Purdue basketball and football.
Etna Acres has been the location for numerous golf fundraisers through the years. In lieu of flowers, if you have participated in one of those outings, please consider a donation to one of the charities. A couple that he felt most passionate about included the Shriners Hospital and Folds of Honor.
Joby and Gene raised two daughters at the course; JoDee (Gary) Dale, of Andrews and Jeannie (Bob) Stienke, of Wabash; grandchildren Devin (Kelli) Dale, of Wabash, Dayna Dale, of Andrews, Julia (Andrew) Wegeng, of Indianapolis and Rylan Porter, of Indianapolis. He is preceded in death by his wife, Joby, who passed on April 16, 2020.
A celebration of life will be held for both Gene and Joby at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14, 2021, at the Wabash Friends Church, 3563 South State Road 13, Wabash, Indiana 46992, with Pastor David Phillips officiating.
Calling hours for friends and family will start at 2:00 p.m. and go until the time of the Celebration of Life at Wabash Friends Church.
McDonald Funeral Homes, 231 Falls Avenue, Wabash, Indiana 46992, has been entrusted with Gene Kaufman's arrangements.
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