Gene East

East-Ronnie

Gene East, 83, of Quincy, passed away at 5:40 am Saturday, May 4, 2024 at Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, IL.
Born on April 17, 1941, in La Grange, MO, Gene was the cherished son of Bill and Wilma (Tuttle) East. His life was a testament to his strong work ethic, his unwavering faith, and his deep love for his family and country.
Gene’s journey through life was marked by his dedication to his loved ones. He was a devoted husband to his late wife, Norma (Couch) East, whom he married on March 18, 2006, and who preceded him in death on October 25, 2017. His legacy continues through his four children, Eric East (Dayna) of Greenwood, AR, Darin East of Quincy, IL, Joshua East (Marcia) of Kansas City, MO, and Emily East of Pekin, IL. His six grandchildren, Aaron, Jacob, McKenna, Hunter, Jemma Gepford, and Noella Gepford, will remember him for his playful spirit and the wisdom he imparted. Gene is also survived by his two brothers, Floyd East and Steven East; one sister, Nancy Richards; and a host of nieces and nephews who will miss his guidance and humor.
Before his retirement, Gene proudly served his country as a Shipfitter in the United States Navy. His civilian career was equally impressive, as he began his career as a welder and machinist at Quincy Welding. Most of his career was spent in safety management where he worked for BFI, Laidlaw, Waste Management and Gully Transportation. He later shared his kindness and patience as a bus driver for Quincy Public Schools, where he was a beloved figure among students and staff alike.
Gene’s interests were as diverse as they were passionate. A proud American and a man of God, he was a dedicated member of Bethel Assembly of God, where his faith was a cornerstone of his life. His adventurous spirit shone through in his love for boat racing, where he competed on the National level, winning multiple championships as part of the Legendary Quincy Welding and Machine team and their iconic racing engines in the 1960s. Gene’s ingenuity as a welder gained him notoriety for his exhaust system that revolutionized racing engines, Gene was a proud member of the American Power Boat Association and often referred to as one of the most beloved and respected boat racers in history.
Fishing was another of Gene’s joys. Whether casting a line in the tranquility of nature, watching fishing shows on TV, or savoring the catch at one of his famous fish fries, he found happiness in the simple pleasures of life. His culinary skills were particularly renowned when it came to preparing his favorite dish, catfish.
Music filled Gene’s home and heart, with the sounds of the Statler Bros and Johnny Cash often playing in the background. His love for these artists was highlighted by personal meetings with them, memories he treasured deeply. A loyal fan of Cardinals baseball, Gene could often be found cheering on his favorite team, sharing the highs and lows with fellow fans.
Gene’s life was a rich tapestry woven with the love of his family, the respect of his peers, and the admiration of all who knew him. He was preceded in death by his wife, Norma; his parents; two sons, Erin East and Derek East; and four sisters, Janie Job, Sandy Simmons, Judy East, and Georgette VanTress. His presence will be profoundly missed, but his spirit will continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Friends and Family are invited to Gene’s Life Celebration at a visitation that will be Friday, May 10, 2024, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at O’Donnell-Cookson Life Celebration Home in Quincy, IL.
A Memorial Service will be at 10:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2024, at the Bethel Assembly of God in Quincy. Pastor Todd Hastings will officiate. Burial will follow at Quincy Memorial Park in Quincy, IL with full Military Honors by the United States Navy Funeral Honors Detail and the Quincy American Legion Post # 37.
Online condolences may be shared and video tribute may be viewed at www.ODonnellCookson.com.

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