OBITUARY

Gene Kwas

October 14, 1922November 16, 2012
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“Gene Kwas” to all who knew and loved him was born Eugene Stanley Kwasniewski on October 14, 1922, the middle of 7 boys.

Though he couldn’t speak fluent English until 2nd Grade, athletic ability earned him 10 sports letters in posh Evanston High School. His strength was speed, breaking the 100-yard dash time in high school under 10 seconds, bettering Jim Thorpe’s record. He attended a special State dinner with the Governor, unheard of for an immigrants’ son, and received a football scholarship to the University of Illinois. He did not become an opera singer, as encouraged by the Choir Mistress of Evanston HS Elite Concert Choir.

WW II interrupted sophomore year sending him to the Air Force, a “90 day Wonder,” drafted and “instantly” made an officer. A Bombardier at age 19, he was taught how to fly a B-17 bomber, and was off to Bari, Italy.

The War over, he resumed his career as a football half-back hero and decorated war veteran, with a win against UCLA Rose Bowl of 1947.

Playing poker nights, he was able to fund his law degree in 1950; then practicing in Peru, IL, to be close to his college sweetheart. Gene married Lillian Marie Forcht in 1950, a happy 63 year union.

Gene joined the FBI assigned to San Mateo, CA, where daughter Anne was born. He was a Special Agent for 5 years during the turbulent McCarthy era.

Gene accepted a claims position with Allstate Insurance in Houston, TX. He retired 28 years later as a Vice President with a 6th floor corner office overlooking Northbrook, IL.

He missed Texas, retiring in Austin in 1984. He passed the Texas Bar first in the class over recent UT graduates and hoped to set up shop, then decided a better goal was to play a few rounds of golf with friends. He belonged to: KC, American Legion Post 326, Insurance Security Assn., American Soc. of Industrial Security, Ex- Special FBI Agents, Austin Diocesan Forum, Barton Creek Duplicate Bridge, Fairways Poker, IL and TX Bar Assns., and Onion and Barton Creeks Men’s’ Golf Associations. This year, his college fraternity, Psi Upsilon, honored Gene in their “Men of the Century” with a football photo on its cover.

Gene made others feel good about them with his sense of humor. The days before cancer took him; he sang or hummed melodies true to his operatic soul but most at peace with his faithful life.

He is survived by his wife Lillian; daughter, Anne and husband Ron Gentuso; grandson, Joseph; and many nieces and nephews and children.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., Tuesday, November 20, 2012 with a Recitation of the Rosary beginning at 7:00 P.M. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5455 Bee Cave Road. A Mass of Celebration will be at 10:00 A.M., Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at St. John Neumann Catholic Church.

Services

  • Visitation Tuesday, November 20, 2012
  • Rosary Service Tuesday, November 20, 2012
  • Funeral Mass Wednesday, November 21, 2012
REMEMBERING

Gene Kwas

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Jim Casey

December 3, 2012

To the Kwas family: I knew Gene for many years at Barton Creek Country Club and at St. John Neumann. He was a man's man and a gentle man. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. I knew he was seriously ill since I had run into him a couple of times recently.
Lillian, I'll try to catch you at church to give personal condolences.

Louise Hansen

December 2, 2012

Dear Lillian,

Ann Steiner forwarded your message to all of HAHEHC and please accept our sympathy for your loss, Gene truly sounds like he was a great and accomplished man. Louise Hansen

Col George O Lewis, USAF (Ret)

November 22, 2012

Thank you, Gene, for your service to our country.

Joshua Kwas

November 21, 2012

My condolences. May he rest in peace.

Gary & Rita - Ruth & Helen Borri

November 20, 2012

Anne and Lillian, Gene was certainly remarkable!! Our hearts are broken and wish we were there with you now. Mom and Aunt Helen are so sorry to hear the sad news. Mom always told me that Lillian is like a sister. We share many fond memories that will be cherished forever. God Bless! Rita & Gary Borri, Ruth Colby & Helen Henning.

Sean Gaughan

November 20, 2012

Anne and Lillian,
I am sorry for your loss. They talk about men from "the greatest generation" and Gene certainly personified it. We will miss his company during the holidays, and never forget his warmth and kindness.
Sincerely,
Sean

Adrian Gaughan

November 20, 2012

Gene, You are an exceptional and unforgettable human being. You will forever leave an imprint in our hearts and in our lives. It was an honor to have known you and to spend holidays together with you and your family in Arizona. We will never forget you. Keep smiling down on us from heaven above. May Our Creator keep you happy, safe, and healthy as you begin your new eternal life. We will miss you.

Greg & Carrie Nelson

November 19, 2012

Gene was a man of many impressive accomplishments but more than that he was a truly wonderful human being, someone everyone seemed to love, respect and look up to - a true Gentleman in every sense of the word. He enriched our lives with his charm and kindness. We will miss him and cherish the many fond memories of the times we spent with him.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Lillian and his family.
Greg & Carrie Nelson

John Nicholson

November 19, 2012

Mr. Kwas played poker with my Dad for years. I played with them a few times and Mr. Kwas was kind enough to leave me some of my money and even laugh at my poor jokes. I recall seeing him wearing his Rose Bowl Ring at the games and being stunned upon hearing just how much he had really lived. I am sorry for his passing and am glad to have known him.

November 19, 2012

My Uncle Gene was my favorite of a large gaggle of colorful Polish uncles known as "the boys." Kindly, he was also one of my very first artistic patrons, purchasing a little still life drawing I made in my teens and there by encouraging my talent and career. My thoughts and best wishes are with you all.
Sincerely,
Susan Estelle Kwas