Gene had a great intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge. He was fascinated by the lives of all people. He was an avid reader and inspired in his children and grandchildren, the importance of education, an interest in the arts and a passion for travel. Gene’s name was his reputation and his legacy is immeasurable.
Obituary, Jewish Post & News, May 25, 2005
Born Eugene Louis Telpner in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 1, 1920, and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Gene Telpner led a varied life indicative of numerous interests and crammed with experiences that gave him the opportunity to meet people of all walks of life.
Gene Telpner studied journalism at the University of Nebraska and began his long and illustrious career as a writer beginning with the Omaha World Herald.
During World War II, Gene Telpner flew overseas assignments to Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Brazil, England, and North Africa and participated in combat missions over Nazi – occupied Europe. He was shot down over Germany but was able to jump from his burning plane. Reported Missing in Action, he was imprisoned by the Germans in Stalag Luft One, during which time he was able to keep a diary describing his imprisonment and state of mind including ruminations on the future and the state of humanity. After his release he was the recipient of numerous recognitions including the Purple Heart, and European Campaign Medal with Bronze Stars, to name a few.
On November 13, 1945, Telpner wed Fritzi Shuckett who he met in Winnipeg a few years earlier while visiting relatives. His marriage resulted in three children, Terri Lee, Ron, and Wendy. Gene and Fritzi settled in Omaha but returned to Winnipeg a few years later where he became co-proprietor of the Bowl – Arena Alleys at 309 Edmonton Street with Dave Shuckett.
Best known for his career in journalism, Gene Telpner spent fourteen years with the Winnipeg Free Press, followed by a thirteen-year stint with the Winnipeg Tribune. After the Tribune ceased operations, he was hired by the Winnipeg Sun as an associate editor and columnist. He also contributed articles to the Jewish Post and News which included a “People” column on local, national, and international personalities. He wrote for various medical, film and entertainment publications in Canada and the United States, authored travel articles about Africa and Taiwan and took numerous trips to Hollywood where he attended movie premieres and interviewed countless celebrities.
Gene Telpner also made his mark on television and radio. He appeared as a panelist on CBC’s Front Page Challenge on eighteen occasions. His other credits include writing, entertainment coordinator, and panelist on various programs on CKND and CTV.
Gene Telpner was involved with various community organizations. These included Variety Club of Manitoba, the Canadian Sports Writers Association, the Winnipeg Press Club, American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Canadian Press Bowling Association. He sat on the Board of the Manitoba Heart Foundation, the CJOB Shut – Ins Fund, the Victorian Order of Nurses, Canada Centennial, Rheumatism and Arthritis Society, the Manitoba Film Classification Board, was Deputy Governor, Toastmasters International and Honorary Ringmaster Shrine Circus.
For his contributions, Gene Telpner was the recipient of several awards and honours including the City of Winnipeg Humanitarian Award, City of Winnipeg Community Service Award, the Variety Club International Presidential Citation, the Variety Club Hall of Fame, Abraham Lincoln High School Hall of Fame, and Bowling Hall of Fame of Manitoba.
Gene Telpner passed away in Winnipeg in 2005. Funeral services were held at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue with interment at the Rosh Pina Memorial Park.