Eugene Arthur Okerlund

December 19, 1942January 2, 2019

Eugene Arthur Okerlund passed away on January 2, 2019 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, FL. Gene was born in Brookings, South Dakota on December 19,1942 to parents Arthur and Helen Okerlund (deceased). Gene grew up in Sisseton, SD and graduated from Sisseton High School in 1960. He was an all-around athlete playing basketball, baseball, football and track. He was also an incredible musician, playing with the Harold Johnson Orchestra and then his own band, Gene Carroll and the Shades. He enrolled at the University of Nebraska to study journalism, and left after his first year to pursue a career in radio broadcasting. He began his working career as a radio disc jockey. He married his wife, Jeanne Okerlund in March of 1964. Gene and Jeanne moved multiple times in the late 60s for DJ gigs all over the country in markets from Flint, MI to Winston-Salem, NC. In 1967 they settled in Minneapolis, MN where they raised their two sons, Todd and Tor.

Gene was driven to succeed and advanced his career by moving into selling advertising for WTCN TV in Golden Valley, MN in the early 1970s. It was at WTCN TV that Gene got his first break as a wrestling announcer when Vern Gagne of the AWA asked him to fill in for a missing announcer. His wrestling career grew from that point on. During his career as a wrestling announcer he also became a partner at Cohen Okerlund Smith Advertising in Minneapolis. Gene worked for the AWA until 1984 when he began working for World Wrestling Federation, which eventually became the WWE. Gene continued to work right up until he became ill. Gene recorded his last show in December of 2018. Gene was recognized for his contributions in creating the industry leading WWE with his induction into WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2006. He truly loved his career!

He had many friends in life and enjoyed spending time and socializing with them. Gene cherished his wife, Jeanne, who was by his side when he passed away. He also loved boating and spending time during the summer at his cabin on Big Sandy Lake in northern Minnesota. He lived a very full and happy life, residing for many years in Sarasota, Florida.

Gene is survived by his wife, Jeanne; sons, Todd (Patricia) of Phoenix, and Tor (Dana) of Hudson, WI; and grandchildren, Henry, Arthur and Brady.

Private family services will take place on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 in Sarasota, FL. Funeral arrangements by Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home at Palms Memorial Park, Sarasota, FL. (941) 371-4962 for information.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are requested to the PKD Foundation - (polycystic kidney disease)1001 E. 101st Terrace, Suite 220, Kansas City, MO 64131.


Eugene Arthur Okerlund

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ron Stump

January 11, 2019

I had the opportunity to meet Mean Gene in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Chatting with him and talking with him about wrestling, he made me feel special like he was interviewing a pro wrestling superstar. It was an honor and a privilege to have met him. RIP.

Scott Lemmer

January 11, 2019

I met Gene twice at Dave Herro's Blizzard Brawls. He made it feel like we were lifelong friends. Being as large of a name he was, if you were in the wrestling business, he treated you as an equal. A man among boys, he will be missed.

Chris williams

January 10, 2019

Thank you Mean Gene Okerlund for all the Great Wrestling Memories.

Gary Koscielniak

January 9, 2019

I always thought he was a great announcer. I will miss him very much. My condolences to his family. and all his friends every where in the world. My prayers are with him and his family. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏.

Troy Heist

January 9, 2019

Gene was a wonderful character on screen. I can only imagine what he was like at home and behind the scenes at AWA/WWF/WCW. Loads of smiles he gave his audience, just a glimpse of what the Real Eugene Okerlund truly was.

My thoughts and prayers go with his family. May the light that was "Mean" Gene live and shine throughout all of your days.
Gene-o-Mania RUNS WILD!

David Taimanglo

January 9, 2019

I'm just a wrestling fan that grew up in a magical time in pro wrestling, and Mean Gene Okerlund was one of many great voices of that time. Such a talented individual, and that talent shined throughout. It is that talent and personality that will be truly missed. There is no one even close to the caliber of announcer that Gene was in this day and age.
To Mean Gene's family: thankyou for sharing us with him, even if it was only a glimpse into the man. My heart is with you, as all of us that grew up during that time are. God bless you, and God Bless Mean Gene Okerlund! -Dave Taimanglo

Chris Tenorio

January 9, 2019

I remember watching the old AWA when I saw Gene interviewing different wrestlers and he was funny and than the old WWF and WCW and to the Okerlund family stay strong and I'll be praying for the family. Let me tell you something "Mean" Gene you were the best commentator and ring announcer and interviewer I have ever seen

Cody Carter-Squire

January 9, 2019

Gene Okerlund is one of the main reasons why I’m now able to talk for a living. Seeing how that man was able to weave gold with his words inspired me to follow that path myself as a radio news reporter, and I am so grateful to him as an inspiration. There will never be another like Mean Gene. Rest In Peace, sir.

Rick Stelma

January 9, 2019

I'm not family or friend of the family I'm a wrestling fan I'm 46 years old I have watched wrestling since I was a kid...."Mean Gene" was and will always be loved by many people he has done so many great interviews with so many superstars in his career superstars I didn't like superstars I loved.... I know that in that big WWE universe in the sky he will do another wonderful job as he had done here on Earth.... My prayers and thoughts are with the family and thank you for sharing a true gentleman and letting him do what he loved most RIP Mean Gene and God Bless

Jan Bury

January 9, 2019

I went to many AWA matches and Gene was always there and was truly the best at what he did. There will never be another Mean Gene. RIP and God Speed.


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