Eugene “Gene” M. Oetting


Eugene “Gene” M. Oetting

Feb. 27, 1932 – May 29, 2019

Eugene “Gene” M. Oetting was born Feb. 27, 1932, in Emma, Missouri, the oldest of eight children to Norbert W. and Lydia M. (Nierman) Oetting and passed away May 29, 2019, in Seward at the age of 87 years, 3 months and 2 days.

Gene grew up on the family acreage on the edge of Emma. He attended Holy Cross Lutheran Elementary School from 1938 to 1946. To continue his education and career goal of becoming a Lutheran teacher, he attended Concordia High School in Seward as a boarding student from 1946 to 1950. Gene then attended Concordia Teachers College in Seward from 1950 to 1954, where he received a bachelor’s degree in education. While in college, he met Harriet “Peg” Martha Pueggel. They were united in marriage on July 19, 1953, at St. John Lutheran Church in Garner, Iowa.

After their marriage, the couple moved to Houston, Texas, where Gene taught and coached at the Lutheran High School for two years. They moved to Los Angeles, California, where he taught, coached and was part of the administration at the Lutheran high school from 1956 until 1967. While there, he received his master of arts degree in religion in 1959 from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1967, Gene received his master of arts degree in education administration from Los Angeles State University.

The couple moved back to Seward in 1967, where Gene was the director of counseling, professor of education and dean of education until 1997 at Concordia University. Gene received his doctorate in secondary education in 1973 from the University of Nebraska. He later attended a sabbatical semester at Concordia in Irvine, California, from 1978 to 1979. He also taught part time at the Teachers College at UNL from 1982 until 1987.

As the eldest child, Gene was always a hero and model for his siblings, providing a path for them. Many in the Oetting clan would follow the example he set in athletics, coaching and teaching.

Gene was active on many boards and committees over the years: the Stewardship Board for the Southern California LCMS District, California Lutheran Hospital Board, Christ College Founder Board of Regents, Nebraska Council of Teacher Education, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Unit Committee, and Board of Finance and Board of Elders at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward. Gene was also an instructor for Prison Ministry and led worship at Brookdale and Ridgewood Care Center. Gene held recognitions from Nebraska High School All State six-man football; athletic awards as a student athlete, including Concordia and Nebraska football halls of fame; Outstanding Teaching award from Concordia University and a 40-year faculty award with the LCMS. Through his years as a dean of education, he would shepherd hundreds of future teachers into their professions.

Gene enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, playing golf, fishing and working with his flowers in his garden. He loved watching and participating in sports and playing pitch with his family and friends. When extended family gathered for meals, his deep-voiced prayers of blessing always expressed joy and thanks, giving glory to God. 

Gene provided loving counsel and support for the several sets of relatives in the area, and he was a grandfather figure for their many children. After Peg passed away, Gene found a renewed enjoyment of cooking and grilling. Gene was a man of God and took every opportunity to show Christ’s love from his giving heart.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Peg (2012); two sisters, Mary Ann Oetting and Lois and husband Gerald Pomerenke; infant brother, Roger Oetting; brothers-in-law, Mike Sherrill and Harold Pueggel; and sisters-in-law, Donna Oetting and Viola Monahan.

Gene is survived by his two children, David and wife Julia Oetting of Sarasota, Florida, and Shauna Oetting of Seward; three grandchildren, Dimitri, Alanna and Quinten; three brothers, Larry and wife Kitty Oetting of Lincoln, Bob and wife Carol Oetting of Charleston, Illinois, and Dennis Oetting of Emma, Missouri; sister, Sharon Sherrill of Farmington, Missouri; sister-in-law, Carol Pueggel of Garner, Iowa; nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and a host of many friends.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019, with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home in Seward. A funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, with the Rev. Scott Bruick and the Rev. David Rempfer officiating. A graveside service and interment will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Concordia University, St. John Lutheran Church or Lincoln Lutheran High School. Condolences may be sent to the family at


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