6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
Harold E. "Gene" Struble
December 27, 1928 ~ March 1, 2020
Gene was born to Harold and Alvina Struble on December 27, 1928 at the family home on Arapahoe Street in Caldwell. He was the oldest of three children: Gene, Bill and Flora Ann.
He died Sunday, March 1, 2020 at the Kansas Veteran's Home in Winfield, Kansas. Gene was 91 years old.
Gene always worked hard! He dropped out of Caldwell High School at the end of 9th grade to go to work. A few years later, one afternoon in early September 1950, Gene was in Wichita on his motorcycle. He stopped at a red light right beside a city police officer. He asked the officer where he could go to enlist in the Army. The officer quickly pointed him in the direction and Gene went and enlisted in the US Army. Basic Training was at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He served 3 years with the Third Division of the Tenth Army Engineers. During the 3 years Gene served, he spent one year in South Korea. He boarded the Troop Ship at Tacoma Washington and got off near Seoul Korea. The Army Base he was stationed at was near Seoul. He worked in the motor pool as a mechanic. He worked on trucks and jeeps and during that period he crossed the Demilitarized Zone numerous times. Gene would laugh when he’d tell that while he was in Korea, he always thought the sun came up every morning in the west! After three years of service, Staff Sergeant Gene Struble received an Honorable Discharge from the army on 9/11/1953 while he was stationed at Camp Carson Colorado. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with 4 bronze stars and United Nations Service Medal.
Gene came home after he was discharged from the Army and went to work for Merle Lynam Blacksmith doing welding and blacksmith work. He met JoAnne Sinclair Lucas and they were married June 16, 1958. JoAnne's six-year-old daughter Micah Beth lived with them. On August 16, 1958, Gene purchased Merle Lynam Blacksmith and the new Struble Blacksmith & Welding began. JoAnne worked at the Port Café and later at Caldwell Doctor's Clinic. She died of cancer in March 1990.
In 1977, Gene was encouraged by a good friend to run for Caldwell City Commission and he was soon elected Commissioner for the City of Caldwell. His job as Street Commissioner was to oversee the streets, street crew, airport and swimming pool. Gene served the city he loved in many ways unknown to the citizens of Caldwell. He served in the commission position for 36 years.
Gene married Thelma Johnson Nuse on August 11, 1991 at Corbin UMC. Thelma retired from teaching a few years later and Gene continued at Struble Blacksmith & Welding and working on the City Commission. Gene joined the Corbin UMC shortly after marrying Thelma and he became an active member of the church family. During that time, he also started a new project. He fabricated trusses etc and rebuilt the shop building from the inside out. When all was in place, he had the old outside shell removed and a new insulated, tin building was in place. Gene's work in his shop was varied. He did a lot of hard facing of plow shears as well as chisel points. He remarked a year or two before his death that no-till farming sure hurt his business. Besides hard facing, Gene could make anything and just about repair anything. He repaired many, many radiators during his time in his business.
In 1999, Gene was awarded an honorary diploma from Caldwell High School.
Gene taught himself to play the mandolin and for years, he took great pleasure playing. He didn’t play after Thelma’s death in 2013 and years later remarked that his fingers had gotten too stiff to play.
For about sixty years, Gene led local parades and Memorial Day services at local cemeteries with the flag bearers. Being in the honor guard brought great pride and joy to Gene. He was a big supporter of Veterans.
In September 2017, he moved to the Veterans home in Winfield.
Gene is preceded in death by first wife JoAnne Struble, second wife Thelma Struble, and his parents Harold and Alvina Struble, brother Bill Struble and brother-in-law Melvin Johnson.
Gene is survived by sister Flora Ann Webster, Leon Ks; sister-in-law Janice Struble, Branson MO; brother-in-law Clifford (Marty) Johnson, Katy Tx; stepchildren Dale (Joey) Nuse, Caldwell; Derald (Connie) Nuse, Rose Hill; Danita (Shane) Williams, Dodge City. Four grandchildren: Makenzie Nuse, Wichita; Austin (Angela) Nuse, Winfield: Dalton Nuse, Rose Hill: and Braedan Nuse, Wichita. Two great grandchildren Casen and Eli. He will be missed by numerous family members and friends.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 6, 2020 at the Corbin United Methodist Church.
Memorials may be made to the Corbin United Methodist Church or to the Caldwell High School Alumni Association and may be sent in care of the mortuary.