December 5, 1940 - August 7, 2020
Janesville, WI -- 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; three children: Daniel (Jamie) DeRubeis of Middleton, Michael (Michelle) DeRubeis of Janesville and Catharine DeRubeis of Madison; three grandchildren: Ellary (Nate), Ali Jo and Evan; three 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: whitcomb-lynch.com
Whitcomb-Lynch Funeral Home & Cremation Service
21 S. Austin Rd. Janesville 608-752-2444