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Fair with Haze 31°
S 8 mph
Eugene Potente Jr., 90, died Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, at United Hospital Systems KMCC.
He was born July 24, 1921, in Kenosha to Eugene Sr. and Suzanne (Schmit) Potente.
On Jan. 29, 1946, he married Joan Cioffe in New York City.
He attended St. James School and became a life-long member of the parish. As a young man he raced bicycles and was the 1936 junior national champion as well as the silver medalist at the junior nationals in St. Louis of that year.
He was later a competitive handball player, the city doubles champ as well as runner -up three times for the city singles championship.
He graduated from St. Catherine's High school in Racine and later from the Marquette University School of journalism where he was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper and a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society.
During World War II he served in the U.S. Army, studying German at Stanford University and then assigned as an investigator with a combat military government detachment overseas. While in England, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria he worked with the police and civil authorities in those countries in the effort to put civil economies back in order. While in France he worked with the French underground, a work that later earned him an award from the French government of Normandy.
He also edited several newspapers while in Germany and also directed a radio program from a Bremen radio station intended to persuade displaced person to return to their native countries.
After the war he returned home to Kenosha and worked at Snap-on Tools Corporation in producing sales training films and acting as a public relations representative.
He studied interior design in New York and then developed the family business into the interiors firm that was responsible for over 3000 projects of various types, churches, museums, restaurants and commercial interiors.
He was widely known as an interior designer with hundreds of projects, primarily ecclesiastical, throughout 25 states and particularly in lighting, furniture design, sculpture and the restoration of landmark structures.
He was a graduate of Marquette University and the New York School of Interior Design with additional graduate work at Stanford University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of letters from Concordia University, Austin Texas and an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from Carthage college for his contribution to religious structures throughout the U.S. He received the Marquette University Alumni Award in 1999.
He was registered as an interior designer in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, Texas and California and held an NCIDQ certificate.
He served as the Wisconsin president of the American Society of Interior Designers for two terms and was the National Public Service director of that organization. He was awarded a national presidential citation for his work with the ASID as well as the ASID design award for his work for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Largo, Fla.
He was a corporate, professional member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, a professional member of the international Interior Design Association and an allied member of the American Institute of Architects. He was also lighting certified by the National Council of Qualifications for the Lighting Professions.
He wrote a number of articles dealing with his profession for trade and professional journals.
He recently was a member of the Wisconsin State Capitol and Executive Residence Board charged with the oversight of the renovations and improvements to the state capitol building and the governor's residence.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; children, Eugene J. and John of Kenosha, Peter of Palm Springs, Calif., and Suzanne Potente Huddleston of Middlebury VT., seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Eugene will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at St. James Catholic Church (5804 - Sheridan Road) with interment to follow in St. James Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. James Catholic Church would be greatly appreciated.