Gene ‘Spike’ Hotchkiss

Gene “Spike” Hotchkiss, 73, a long-time resident of Hertel, died on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, at Spooner Health, Spooner.

Gene was born on July 18, 1947, in Shell Lake to Marshall and Kathleen (Atkinson) Hotchkiss. He attended and graduated from the Shell Lake School District.

After graduation, he moved to the Cities where he worked for Montgomery Ward for two years. While working in the Cities, he met Karen Premo. The couple was married on July 22, 1967, in St. Paul, just a couple of weeks before Gene was drafted into the US Army.

Gene served in US Army B Troop, First of the First Cavalry, American Cavalry Division as an armor intelligence specialist. Gene received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and numerous other citations and medals for his two tours of service in Vietnam.

After his discharge in August of 1968, the couple lived in the Cities for a short time before moving to Hertel. Gene’s work took the couple to Amery for a little over a year, then to Sparta for two years, before moving back to Hertel.

Gene worked for Thorp Finance, Kronlund Motors, and then Barron County Federal Savings and Loan. Towards the end of his working years, he drove truck for Monson Trucking and lastly Reinhart Foods before retiring.

Gene enjoyed hunting and fishing, camping, traveling to the U.P., visiting waterfalls, cheering for the Packers and any team his grandchildren played on. In his later years, he enjoyed travelling to military reunions and seasonal camping where he and Karen made many coffee friends.

Gene is survived by his children, Adriena (David) Molinek of South Carolina, Michael (Lisa) Hotchkiss of Spooner, and Cassandra Hotchkiss of Webster; grandchildren, Logan Melton-Watkins, Alexandria (Brandon) Shutt, Reilly, Andrew, Lilyana, and Kiya; great-granddaughter Luna; many aunts, uncles, and cousins, his B Troop Gang; and his ever-faithful dogs.

Gene is preceded in death by his wife, Karen; and his parents, Marshall and Kathleen Hotchkiss.

Graveside services with Military Honors will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m., at Lakeview Cemetery with Pastor Jean Waldron officiating. Visitation will be held on Monday, Sept. 28, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Spooner Funeral Home. Casket bearers will be Terry Lemke, Ryan Wellvang, Clint Atkinson, Dave Mathiesen, AJ Hotchkiss, and Reilly Hotchkiss.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Spooner Funeral Home. Online condolences may be left for Gene’s family at

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