Eugene J. Kocer

Eugene J. Kocer, age 78, of Yankton, South Dakota, died Saturday, December 19, 2020, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Yankton with Reverend Larry Regynski officiating.  The Mass will be live streamed on Eugene’s obituary page at  Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery with military honors provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791.  Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with a rosary and vigil service at 7:00 PM.  Face coverings will be required for those attending the services.

Pallbearers are Eugene’s grandsons: Nate Kocer, Seth Kocer, Jonah Kocer, Ethan Fortner, Gavin Fortner and Cody Leyden.  Honorary pallbearers are Ron and Barb Suess, Joe and Diane Janssen and Allen and Doris Schoeberl.

Eugene J. Kocer was born June 4, 1942, in Wagner, South Dakota, to Wesly and Elsie (Carda) Kocer.  He grew up on the farm near Dante, South Dakota, where he attended country school.  He graduated valedictorian of Wagner High School in 1960 and taught country school for two years.  He then started working for his uncles on the farm and joined the Army National Guard.  He married Karon Steele on July 1, 1967 in Wagner, South Dakota.  After their marriage they moved to Scotland, South Dakota, for a short time before moving to Tripp, South Dakota, where Eugene worked for Standard Feed Company which he continued for 22 years.  They moved to Yankton, South Dakota, in 1989 and Eugene started working for American Family Insurance until retiring in 2018.

Eugene was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Yankton, the Knights of Columbus and was active in the Jaycees.  He enjoyed camping in his RV, bowling and the Minnesota Vikings.  He especially loved his grandchildren and attending their events.  He was a loyal, faithful, hardworking family man.  His strong Catholic Faith was very important to him and he showed it by his generosity, kindness and always making sure everyone had what they needed.

Survivors include his wife, Karon Kocer of Yankton; two children: Brian (Machelle) Kocer of Tea, South Dakota and Tonya (Brian) Leyden of Yankton; seven grandchildren: Nate, Seth, Jonah, Moriah, Ethan, Gavin and Cody; two brothers: Ernest (Theresa) Kocer of Dante, South Dakota and Leo Kocer of Avon, South Dakota; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Alvin.





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12 response to "Eugene J. Kocer"

  1. By: Laurie & Ben Morrison & family Posted: December 21, 2020

    Tonya, our continued thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this most difficult time. From all accounts, your dad was a great man, and our hope for you all is that those cherished memories will carry you through your grief. God bless.

  2. By: Dale and Glenda Bakke Posted: December 21, 2020

    So sorry for your loss. Eugene was such a nice man and we’re all going to miss him. He was one of the kindest and most patient people we know. We enjoyed doing business with Eugene and Karen for many years and appreciated them giving us our office location in Tripp when their building became available there. Our expression of sympathy goes out to the entire family..

  3. By: Katie and John Baldwin Posted: December 21, 2020

    Dear Karon, Tonya, Brian and families: John and I are so very, very sorry for your loss of Eugene. The time to say goodbye was far too short for all of you, especially during this Covid pandemic. Such a tragic situation but I know that God will hold you close and comfort you as time goes by. For now, be assured that we are praying for all of you and for your peace. Eugene was such a wonderful, loving, God connected man that I am sure he was taken right into Heaven and is watching over all of you. God bless each one of you. I am so sorry that because of our underlying conditions we will not be able to attend any of the services. We will, however, be watching the Mass for him on Wednesday. love to all. Katie and John Baldwin

  4. By: Susan Pederson Posted: December 22, 2020

    Karon and family, so sorry for your loss. It is a rough time. I just lost Ted 7 weeks ago of a massive heart attach. It is overwhelming, and my heart goes out to you. God bless! Thinking of you.

  5. By: Jill Stanage Posted: December 22, 2020

    Tonya & family, my heart goes out to you all. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Sending love your way my dear friend.

  6. By: Leon Cantin Posted: December 22, 2020

    Condolences, prayers, and blessings to Karon and Eugene’s family. Judy and I will not be able to be with you for the celebration of Eugene’s life because of COVID and Leon’s illness. We have had wonderful times with Karon and Eugene over the many years–socially and through the Cursillo. Now Eugene is a heavenly Advocate and he knows where the angels live.

  7. By: Kristi and Rocky Schultz Posted: December 22, 2020

    Dear Karon, Tonya, Brian and families,

    We have known Eugene and Karon for years through their insurance business. They were always so kind, friendly and helpful. Eugene was so proud of his children and grandchildren, they were his pride and joy. My heart goes out to all of his family and many friends who will miss him dearly. I am so sorry for your loss, Eugene was a very special soul who touched many lives and will be sorely missed. God bless you and your family, we will keep all of you in our prayers.

  8. By: Mick Breske Posted: December 22, 2020

    Karon and the rest of the Kocer Family. So very sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. He was a good man and was always there to listen. (and express an opinion if the opportunity presented itself). We spent many hours discussing and or helping each other through different AmFam issues or classes or meetings.
    May he rest in Peace and the Lord be with all of the Family.

  9. By: Belva Mikuska Posted: December 22, 2020

    So very sorry to hear of Eugene’s passing. He was a super guy as you Karon and your family are too. Mel and I enjoyed the house we bought from you in Tripp. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with you and your family at this time. God Bless.

  10. By: Tom and Dorothea Merrill Posted: December 22, 2020

    So sorry for your loss. Eugene was always a kind and gentle soul. He will be missed.

  11. By: Janelle Tacke Posted: December 23, 2020

    Thoughts and prayers to the family! Eugene was always so kind and helpful. He always did his best to help find better insurance that was affordable to us.

  12. By: Mary Katherine Koch Posted: December 23, 2020

    Karen and family….my heart trully aches to hear of the loss of Gene…it has not ‘sunk in’ yet…..saw it only yesterday…such a loss of a beautiful human being and a beautiful man!…as my insurance agent…along with Karon…I always knew that his advice and care…and follow-up….was what I could trust…to be able to trully trust someone…especially with the very complex insurance arena is equal to it’s weight in gold!…my sympathy comes your way and you are so in my thoughts…a wonderful man has left this earth…will never forget him!

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