Eugene “Gene” Ralph Francke Jr. of Chesterfield passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2023.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents Eugene Sr. and Almeda Dyke Francke and his wife Mary Eileen Gillis “Meg” Francke of 54 years. Surviving are his three children, Christopher Francke, Elizabeth Wells (Jeff), and Patrick Francke (Nicole); five grandchildren, Madison and Emily Wells, Colin, Kevin, and Brendon Francke; sister-in-law Margie Gillis of Wallingford PA; three nieces Kathleen Swartz, Marnie Deboer, and Eileen Morgan and two nephews, Rob and Jim Gillis.
Gene attended grammar school and high school in Austin, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington and was president of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE). After school, Gene served his country in the U.S. Army with the 902nd Counterintelligence Corr. (CIC) in Washington D.C. during the Cold War era. During the first 20 years of Gene’s sales career, he worked in Lancaster PA, Oklahoma City OK, and Houston TX. Later he moved to Richmond VA where he retired from Diamond Hill Plywood. During that time, he received numerous awards in sales and marketing.
Gene was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. One of his greatest joys in life was watching his three children grow into caring, compassionate, successful adults with families of their own.
He will be remembered as an accepting person with a quick-witted sense of humor and a devoted friend.
Gene enjoyed traveling the world, the arts, and volunteering at local musical and performing arts theaters. Throughout his retirement years, Gene said “I am busier now than when I was working.” He volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, McGuire Veterans Hospital, the Virginia Repertory Theatre, the Folk Festival, and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. Gene was a member and volunteer at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church. He traveled the world with his
great friend, Curtis Tyndall. Together they crawled through the pyramids, went falconing in the deserts of Egypt and spent time in Dubai.
Gene passed after a diagnosis of congestive heart failure five years ago. He will be entombed alongside his wife in the Hollywood Cemetery Mausoleum overlooking the James River.
A Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 16 at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church 2700 Dolfield Dr. North Chesterfield, VA 23235. Internment will be private in Hollywood Cemetery, 412 S. Cherry St., Richmond, VA 23220. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out shouting “man what a ride”