Eugene Raymond Burkard
1930 - 2020
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Eugene Raymond 'Gene' Burkard
July 7, 1930 - December 11, 2020
San Diego
Eugene Raymond Burkard, founder of one of San Diego's most successful businesses, the International Male catalog and stores, passed away on December 11, 2020. He died at home peacefully, with his closest friends around him. He was 90 years old.Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on July 7, 1930, Eugene {Gene}, one of seven children, attended local schools and upon graduating high school, attended the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. In 1950 Gene was drafted into the United States Air Force and served stateside and in Alaska until honorably discharged in 1953.Back in Milwaukee Gene was employed by the Milwaukee Journal newspaper and discovered he had a talent for writing marketing and sales copy. However, the excitement of travel soon beckoned and he accepted a position with the Milwaukee Schlitz Company to supply US military bases in Europe and the Middle East. Gene spent the next 9 years traveling from base to base while observing the different styles and traditions in his territories.Returning to the U.S. in 1968, he decided to recreate some of the refreshing and exciting clothing he had seen. The result was the hugely successful mail order catalog International Male. The catalog, along with two retail operations in Los Angeles and San Diego, filled a void that had existed in the young men's market for many years.With the advent of the HIV crisis, Gene was instrumental in starting Mamas Kitchen, served on the board of the San Diego LGBT Community Center and was also a supporter of St. Vincent de Paul. A writer and singer of songs with a voice reminiscent of Sinatra, Gene was always happy to host a party mainly because it gave him the opportunity to sing some of the many songs he had written. A designer, composer, singer, and philanthropist Eugene Raymond Burkard spent his life joyfully, Oh, how he will be missed! He is survived by his long-term companion Ron Hicks of San Diego, his dearest friend of 50 years and subject of his deepest affection, Gloria Tomita, his sisters Mary Rouse of Germantown WI and Delores Bykowski of Mequon WI, and brother Carl Burkard of Skokie, IL and their families.A Memorial service will be scheduled post Covid. The family suggests sending memorial contributions to Mama's Kitchen, the San Diego LGBT Community Center and St. Vincent de Paul.

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Dec. 20, 2020.
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10 entries
December 31, 2020
One of the most fabulous men to claim a spot on this earth. I will miss him very much. We traveled the world together, even ran with the Bulls in Pamplona Spain. I can't imagine him being gone from us. One of the most generous people you would ever meet. His talent was second to none. His vision in many areas are still in the hearts and minds of every person he ever met.
Howard Rouse
howard l rouse
December 29, 2020
In March of 1989, at 29 years old, International Male flew me from Atlanta to San Diego to interview for a job as art director. I had never been to San Diego, had never seen an IM catalog and I had no idea who Gene Burkard was. In fact I didn’t know a soul in San Diego. But, it was a trip that changed my life. I was hired as the Junior Art Director and 4 years later I was promoted to Creative Director. For the entire decade of the 90’s I spent every working day designing, art directing, and producing the IM catalog. I had the unique opportunity to go to so many beautiful locations, worked with some incredibly talented photographers and of course spent my days with some of the world’s most handsome men. The other rare opportunity I had years later was to meet and get to know Gene Burkard. Over lunch at Mo’s he and I got to share stories about a time in our life that was very important - our time at International Male. And all though we never worked together and were 3 decades apart in age, I felt he was like a kindred spirit - we both had shared a common dream. I am sad to hear of his passing but I know he touched many, many people in a very special way and he created something that still lives on today. And I was so very lucky to be part of it and to have known him.
Peter Karoll
Peter Karoll
December 27, 2020
He will forever be missed. Such a special, amazing man. He touched many lives and will never eat ne forgotten by this gal. Love you Gene!
India Rayl
December 24, 2020
I've known Gene for some 30 years....we both shared a love of music and performance. He used to come to Number One on Fifth and enjoyed watching us "perform". He was such a visionary....he was ahead of his time. He brought people together and was such a sweet and loving being. He taught us to think big and take risks....he was community! Gene I will miss you dear one but I know you are in Heaven entertaining everyone...without International Male Catalog and the stores I don't think I would have ever "come out".....thanks Gene you had great style and more!
Sammy Gross
December 24, 2020
My condolences to Ron and the rest of Gene's family. He was a good man.
Russell C. Lewis
December 21, 2020
Had the pleasure of caring for Gene for many years as his primary care doctor. A truly wonderful human being. My condolences to his loved ones.
December 20, 2020
I loved him dearly, he was a good caring human being with a big heart. He surely will be missed by so many. I am proud to have been among his closest friends. Sad but Loving thoughts to his family. Sweet dreams my dear Boss. God Bless.
Ida Merino
December 20, 2020
Gene was truly a good friend. He was always willing to help when needed. I will miss him terribly. He was a gem of a human being!
Rich Glover
December 20, 2020
Gene was truly a good friend and I will miss him a great deal. I will miss our “ old man’ s “ lunch every Saturday. Truly a gem of a human being. He will be missed by many.
Rich Glover
December 19, 2020
To Gene's family I send my deepest sympathies. He was an amazing man and friend. I'm adding my favorite picture I took of him. He looks so suave and just like an international man. He made working at International Male fun and helped us all to grow. I am so sorry for your loss. Dennis
Dennis Mori
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