Eugene DeRubeis

Eugene DeRubeis

Friday, August 7th, 2020
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Eugene “Tuna” J. DeRubeis, age 79, of Janesville, died on Friday, August 7, 2020, at home. He was born in Ironwood, MI on December 5, 1940, the son of Zenda and Dorothy (Scavarda) DeRubeis. After graduating from J.E Murphy High School in Hurley, he attended UW Superior, graduating with a BS in Biology and Physical Education. He taught for 3 years in Williams Bay and spent the next 30 years teaching Biology at Craig High School before retiring in 1999. He also spent many years coaching football. He married Paula L. Kuhlman on February 2, 1974 in Elkhorn. He was a member of Blackhawk Golden Kiwanis and Trinity Episcopal Church. At Trinity he served as head of Building and Grounds, as an usher, and for many years shared his cooking expertise as Chef Extraordinaire of the Wednesday School. He was a former member of the Wisconsin National Guard serving from February 1960 to August of 1960, and June of 1961 to November of 1961. He loved referring to himself as “Hero of the Berlin Crisis.” He bartended his way through college and for many more years. He was later asked to help design the bar, Traxx. He loved teaching his bartending class at Blackhawk Tech. He was an excellent Biology teacher who spent countless hours planning and creating innovative, relevant lessons. Many students told him that he was the reason they pursued a science related college degree. He loved jazz, playing trombone, cooking fabulous meals for friends and family and enjoyed continuing the family tradition of salami making. More than anything he loved his family. Some of the best memories were made at the family cottage on Pine Lake.

Tuna loved telling stories! Instead of reading books at bedtime, his kids were captivated with lesson-filled “Joe” stories (2 pounds of pork chops!). Whenever asked how he got the nickname Tuna, he would launch into a more detailed explanation than was probably needed. His Hurley stories were legendary. ”Pino, the Ball Chopper,” Sister Giles reminding him that he should behave because he was “living in the shadow of the Catholic Church,” and the first time he tried pizza were some favorites. The kids loved that he met an Italian woman on the internet, befriended her because they shared a love of salami, and ultimately was invited to her villa in Villanova, Italy. He and Paula spent an amazing week with Claudia and Pippo being escorted around the countryside and eating Claudia’s fabulous cooking. He signed all his messages “EyeTalian hugs and kisses! Tuna.” He also had the self-proclaimed “lowest threshold of pain in the world.” As his dementia took his memories, his family was there to fill in the blanks.

Gene is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Paula; 3 children: Daniel (Jamie) DeRubeis of Middleton, Michael (Michelle) DeRubeis of Janesville and Catharine DeRubeis of Madison; 3 grandchildren: Ellary (Nate), Ali Jo and Evan; 3 siblings: James (Ann) DeRubeis of Marysville, WA, Lucia DeRubeis of Issaquah, WA and Peter (Carole) DeRubeis of Anoka, MN; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brother, Bernard (Greta) DeRubeis.

A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at a later date. Memorials may be made in Gene’s name to Trinity Episcopal Church, 409 E. Court St. The WHITCOMB-LYNCH FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 21 S. Austin Rd, Janesville is assisting the family. The family would like friends, family and former students to leave a memory or story of Gene at:
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Mary McKilligin

Posted at 10:46am
I was a student of his when I was in the 10th grade in 1985. I remember that he suggested that I switch to a different session of his class because the other class had more serious students and might be a better environment for me. I'm pretty sure it may have had to do with the fact that I sat behind a classmate who had a pink mohawk at that time, which makes me laugh even now when I think about it. I don't recall what sparked a certain comment that he made during class, but it's always stuck with me. I may not be quoting him exactly, but he told us that he hoped when a person died, all the answers to all of the questions they ever had would be answered. I hope that was true for him. Sending my best to his wonderful family. - Mary McKilligin

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Posted at 08:03pm
In Memory of Gene.
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Mark Karrels

Posted at 02:00pm
Dear Paula, Dan, Mike & Catherine,
Linda and I are saddened at your loss of Tuna but thankful for the 35 years we shared as friends and as members of Trinity. I will always remember the early years when you & our kids were young and we lived two blocks from each other - watching the kids grow, sharing fabulous dinners cooked by Gene at your house, and "starring" in Trinity's summer production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' as one of the Apostles. I also will never forget his nervous habit of picking at his teeth. Tuna's the only patient I ever had that picked off a new crown before he made it past the reception desk after I had just cemented it. We did have a good laugh about that! I'll find that picture of us both as Apostles. We were both a lot younger and a whole lot skinnier back then. Please know that my world was more interesting with Tuna in it and the last five difficult years proved it. May you all find some closure in his passing and know Gene was loved and will be remembered fondly by many. I will miss him.
:'-( Mark Karrels

Donald Casanova

Posted at 08:30pm
Great to be part of the Science Department with "Tuna". Deepest sympathy Paula and family.
Don and Pearl (Schilling) Casanova

Bud Nichols

Posted at 12:43pm
The Nichols Family's (Bud-Paula's first cousin, wife-Peggy and children-Andrew, John & Christy & Paula's first cousin Ann) fondest memories of "Tuna Time" were centered around spending many Thanksgivings at the DeRubeis home in Janesville. We always enjoyed the conversation, comradery, and the amazing teamwork between Paula and Gene sharing the cooking duties, but of course the highlight of the day was eating the amazing food that Paula and Tuna prepared for us! After several years, we discovered Tuna's secret for cooking melt- in- your- mouth turkey was using copious amounts of butter when basting the bird. In fact, Tuna's use of butter when cooking meat was not restricted to Turkey as we learned when the DeRubeis Family visited our house and we were grilling steaks. Tuna observed my grilling process and immediately went into the kitchen and asked Peggy for the missing ingredient, melted butter, to brush onto both sides of the steaks. They were the most tender steaks that the Nichols had ever eaten! Tuna was passionate about his cooking, his family and fully embraced the moment during good times with family and friends. We enjoyed Tuna's spirit, fun- loving nature and know that he is in a better place now.

Love from all of the Nichols' Family to Paula, Dan & Jamie, Michael & Michelle and Catharine and our condolences.

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