Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Eugene Thomas Brodeur

September 14, 1938 ~ January 13, 2019

Eugene Thomas Brodeur began his adventure with life on September 14, 1938, in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. His parents were Eugene and Lillian Brodeur whom he shared with his siblings, Joan and Donald.

Guided by an early physical challenge, he learned the rewards of persistence and commitment which helped when he discovered horses. As a stable boy he attended events at Madison Square Garden where he was able to meet great riders and horses of that era.  Growing up at a local stable, Gene became a skilled horseman, loved horses and that never changed.  

After college and being influenced by the Beat Poets, Gene headed for California and was hired as a radio DJ. This led to a career spanning 50 years in broadcast journalism.  Some of the highlights of those years include interviews with James Brown, Mohammed Ali, Desmond Tutu, Katharine Hepburn, and Fred Astaire to drop a few names. The 1965 Watts riots spurred him to the inner city to teach journalism to high school students in Watts.

As a radio and TV correspondent for NBC Network News, he was based in Paris during the eighties and covered world events in Europe and Russia. As a White House Correspondent for Golden West Broadcasters in Los Angeles, he covered the Nixon administration including the summit leading up to the China visit. As a foreign correspondent for GWB, he covered stories in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Australia, the U.K., and France. Print experience included articles for the American Cetacean Society as a delegate to the International Whaling Conference in London. He was a co-producer along with Scott Sterling of the award-winning series, Montana Focus, in which they covered stories ranging from homeless students, Montana’s pine beetle epidemic, and the history of Fort Peck Dam. Gene worked for KUSM-TV MontanaPBS for more than 20 years as a talented news and public affairs producer, journalist, and the voice of MontanaPBS.  Gene’s resonant and comforting voice can still be heard on many of the on-air station identification spots. 

During the span of his career in Paris, he made a trans-Atlantic phone call to propose to Jerolyn Dirks with the NBC staff serenading in the background. She said yes. They were married upon his return in December 1986.

A small farm in Montana became their home in 1988 where Jerolyn painted the landscapes and Gene continued his journalistic adventures. Gene described himself as a “hack reporter hanging out in Montana” while others described him as “the definition of a gentleman.”

The neighborhood kids would often come to the door to ask if he could come out to play. This legacy began years earlier with his nieces and nephews. When Uncle Gene arrived, they knew there would be an adventure.

Gene passed away on January 13, 2019, from the effects of Lewy Body Dementia. He spent his final days on the farm surrounded by the family he loved and the animals he enjoyed. Hospice of Bozeman Health, neighbors, friends, and his family made this possible. For this his family is very grateful.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents; his brother; and step-mother. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Jerolyn Dirks-Brodeur; his sister, Joan Liebhauser; and his cherished nieces and nephews.

A Memorial service is scheduled for March 1, 2019, 1:00 P.M. at Springhill Presbyterian Church, 4769 West Babcock in Bozeman. Please direct memorials to the Department of Native American Studies at Montana State University or a charity of your choice.