Eugene G. “Gene” Zarek, 89, Naples, Fla., formerly of Burlington, died March 21, 2012, at Lakeside Pavilion Care and Rehabilitation Center in Naples. He was born Oct. 8, 1922, in Milwaukee, the youngest son of the late Joseph and Frances (Szwanka) Zarek. He grew up and graduated from Pulaski High School in Milwaukee. He attended Whitewater Teachers College before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II. As a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps he served as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator. On his 26th mission, he was shot down over Germany, and was held as a Prisoner of War for seven months before being liberated by American Troops. He then returned to Whitewater College where he participated in sports and earned his Master’s Degree in education. In his senior year he was named   Whitewater’s Athlete of the Year.

On Aug. 16, 1947, he married Darlene Berkowski. They moved to West Bend, where he taught Commercial Science and coached football at the High School. They moved to Burlington, in 1952 to begin his career in the insurance business. They raised their five children in Burlington. He was very active in the community and served on numerous committees including at St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he was a member. He also was a member and past president of the Burlington Rotary Club, member and past president of the Independent Insurance Agents Association for the state of Wisconsin. He was an avid golfer and member of Tuckaway Country Club for many years. His business, Zarek Insurance in Burlington, continues to operate today under the ownership of his son Paul.

Following the death of Darlene, Gene married Marianne Brechler. They located to Naples where they have enjoyed many happy years and loving friends at the Glades Country Club Community. While in Florida he was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife, Marianne Brechler Zarek; children, Robert Zarek, Marykaye (Daniel) Blott, James (Donna) Zarek, Paul (Joan) Zarek, and Annmarie Wiemer; nine Grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; three stepchildren; eight step grandchildren and 16 step-great-grandchildren.

He was further preceded in death by his brothers, Ervin and Raymond.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 28, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Burlington. A reception will follow immediately in Heim Hall. Visitation was in St. Mary’s Good Shepherd Chapel. Burial with full military honors will take place at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Va.  Schuette-Daniels Family Funeral Home, Burlington, is assisting the family.

Memorials can be made to Catholic Central High School.