Eugene W. Gillespie
Eugene “Gene” Wilhelm Gillespie, of Wheelersburg, died peacefully at his home Dec. 18, 2012, after a 13-year battle with cancer. Born Dec. 23, 1942,in Lorsch, Hessen Germany, he was the son of Oskar and Anna Hafele. Gene moved to the United States at the age of 13, and was adopted by his stepfather, Nathan Gillespie. After graduating from Killeen High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country in Germany as a translator and member of a heavy artillery unit. He completed his military service in Alaska.
Gene worked as an orderly and respiratory therapist at Riverside Methodist Hospital. While working and attending college, he met and married the love of his life, his wife of 47 years, Drusella B. DeHart. They were married Dec. 31, 1965. Having graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s degree in History, Gene went on to receive his Master’s degree in History from the University of Illinois. He worked as a Contract Negotiator for the U.S. Army’s Missile Command and Computer Systems Support and Evaluation Agency in Huntsville, Alabama. He later became Chief of Procurement for the Department of Agriculture’s Stabilization and Conservation Services in Washington D.C. In 1979 Gene moved back to Ohio and worked as Chief of Procurement for the Department of Energy at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (GDP).
He went on to serve as the Site Manager for the Portsmouth GDP for 15 years. After retiring in 1999, he worked as a Technical Service Manager for Jacobs Engineering Group and a Contract Administrator for Diaz Construction Inc. He was a devoted family man who was very involved in the lives of his two daughters, Chris and Julie. He enjoyed spending time with them and could always be found at their musical and sports activities. Having played soccer throughout his childhood, he was one of three founding members of the Scioto Soccer League. He served as a coach and referee for both the league and later the high schools. He coached the first officially sanctioned Wheelersburg High School soccer team - taking his girls to the district championships in their first year. He later was an assistant coach for the Wheelersburg High School boy’s team.
Gene was preceded in death by his daughter, Julie Gillespie, his parents, and an older brother Hans Dieter who died as a child while still in Germany. He is survived by his wife Dru; his daughter Chris of New Albany, OH; sisters Elke (Don) McCoy, and Barbara (Jerry) Price of Panama City, FL; several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by the two bright lights in his life, his godchild, Marci McHenry and her sister Ellie. Gene was a member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. Per Gene’s request, there will be no visitation A mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Holy Redeemer with Reverend Joseph Yokum presiding. Interment will follow in Memorial Burial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to SOMC Hospice Center, 2203 25th St., Portsmouth, OH 45662. WOLFE-NELSON FUNERAL HOME in Sciotoville is handling the arrangements. Online condolences may be made to www.WolfeNelsonFuneralHome.com.