Gene Childress, 83

Eugene L. Childress, age 83, of Three Rivers, died Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at his home. He was born in Chicago on Jan. 5, 1928 the son of Paul and Lulu (Lindsay) Childress. Gene graduated from Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, IL and was a 1951 graduate of Kalamazoo College where he met his wife of almost 60 years, Elizabeth Osborn. They were married in Stetson Chapel on June 16, 1951.

During the Korean War, Gene served in the U.S. Army in Fairbanks, Alaska. Gene and Elizabeth moved to Three Rivers in January of 1955 where he worked for Fibre Converters, Inc. retiring as Vice President in 1990.

Gene had been a member of Rotary since 1961 where he was president in 1968-69 and was the proud recipient of the Paul Harris Award. He was a member of the Shrine and the Masonic Lodge. Served as past president of the Jaycees and served many years on the board at Camp Wakeshma and the County Probation Board. He was a volunteer deputy with the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department for over 30 years, and a member of the Three Rivers Hospital Auxiliary.

Gene had many interests and hobbies. He was a Ham Radio operator for over 40 years. He was a licensed pilot, and taught Power Squadron classes. An Eagle Scout, he continued his interest in scouting by serving as finance Chairman of the Newo District and Board of Review. He was a past member of the First Baptist Church where he served on many boards and taught Sunday School. In recent years he has enjoyed the fellowship of the First United Methodist Church in Three Rivers where he sang in the choir.

Gene is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; 2 daughters, Lisa (Craig) Annable of Kalamazoo and Beth Lynn Childress of Grand Haven; 2 grandchildren, Jessica (Ben) Lake of Blue Ridge, VA and Christian James Annable of Kalamazoo.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Eickhoff, Farrand, Halverson Chapel in Three Rivers. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday May 14, 2011 at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Maria Rutland officiating. Military interment will be in Riverside Cemetery by Hice-Shutes American Legion Post #170. Memorials are suggested to the first United Methodist Church. An online register is available at

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