Eugene J. Serpe, 89, passed away Sunday, July 2

Eugene J. Serpe, age 89, formerly of Benton Harbor, Michigan, passed away Sunday, July 2, 2017 in Venice, Florida.

Born in Coloma, Michigan on November 23, 1927, the son of Frank and Mayme Serpe, he was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-nine years, Elizabeth (Betty) Boyer Serpe.

Gene and Betty relocated to Venice, Florida in 1994, upon his retirement from a thirty-six year career with the Whirlpool Corporation, where he held the position of Director of Telecommunications. During his time at Whirlpool, Gene was a member of the team which developed the first-ever toll-free customer service telephone system, the Whirlpool “Cool Line.”

A World War 2 era veteran, Gene served as a Staff Sergeant with the Eighth Army, which was originally to take part in the invasion of Japan. Instead, the Eighth Army found itself in charge of the U.S. occupation. Throughout his tour of duty, Gene was stationed in Kyoto, Japan.

He was a graduate of the former St. Johns High School. Following military service, he graduated from Benton Harbor Community College (now Lake Michigan College), and attended Executive Graduate programs at the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. A long-time usher at St. John’s Catholic Church in Benton Harbor, he was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Gene is survived by his son, Michael Serpe of New Haven, Connecticut; and daughter Mary Beth Goddard of Sarasota, Florida, who is married to Bradley Goddard. A son, Timothy Boyer Serpe was deceased as an infant in 1954. He is also survived by his grand-children: Timothy Serpe (Bryce) of Hamden, Connecticut; Kate Serpe Besescheck (Karl) of Seymour, Connecticut; Patrick E. Serpe (Amber) of Hamden, Connecticut; and Elizabeth Goddard and William Goddard, both of Sarasota, Florida. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren: Colton and Sidney Besescheck, and Lola and Maya Serpe.

Funeral services will be held at a date yet to be determined, with burial to take place at Calvary Cemetery in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

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