Gene Kelly

gene kelly
Gene Kelly, 68, of Fargo, ND, died on August 29, 2019. Gene had been managing several medical conditions for many years. During his hospital and nursing home stays this summer, he was surrounded by family and friends. His wife Eva was with him and held his hand as he peacefully passed away at Essentia Health CCU, Fargo ND. Gene was born on April 4, 1951 at St. John's Hospital in Fargo, ND. The son of Edward and Mary Kelly, he was the youngest of five children. He was baptised at Holy Spirit Church where he later served as an altar boy. He graduated from Holy Spirit Elementary School in 1964 and Shanley High School in 1969. He completed his Business Degree at North Dakota State University in 1973. It was in his 10th grade Spanish class that he met his sweetheart Eva Hilber, and they dated throughout high school and college. They were married at St Anthony of Padua Church in Fargo on August 3, 1974. Gene began his career as a salesman with the 3-M Company in the Twin Cities in 1973. However, he began to look for a new job when he realized stocking corner drug stores with 'Scotch' tape was not his idea of a sales job. Eva saw a job posting in the Fargo Forum for a sales position with the General Electric Company and mailed it to Gene. He called the company, got an interview and was hired. Gene worked as an Area Sales Manager for GE from 1973 to 2002. Gene had a magical Fargo childhood in an era before computers, cell phones and I-pads. He and his Schwin bike traveled with friends all over Fargo's baseball fields, swimming pools, the YMCA and the old Fair Grounds. It was there that he got his first job running a hot dog stand and actually traveled with the carnival when he was only 15. From his antics on the stage as Huck Finn in his 8th grade “Tom Sawyer” play, to his shenanigans on Sid Cichy's football teams, he made us all pause in this hectic world and just laugh! Sports were an important part of Gene's life. In elementary school, boys formed their own baseball teams and managed the games themselves. He played organized school football and basketball from 6th grade to 12th grade. Gene and classmates Bill Hawn and Paul Collins only lost one football game from their 6th grade Rebel's season to their Senior Deacon Championship Game. A Forum staff writer in 1968 noted that the “three Shanley seniors might be excused if they just smile politely at mention of (Shanley Coach) Cichy's accomplishments. They learned a little bit about winning too, in the last seven years.” Gene is also a member of the 1966, 1967, 1968 Shanley High School Hall of Fame Football teams. Gene shared his love of sports with hundreds of area youth and most importantly his own children. Coach Kelly was a volunteer for many years with both FM Soccer and the YMCA Youth Basketball programs. Additionally, he along with other parents, coached two girl's traveling basketball teams. Gene and Eva were blessed with four beautiful children and four awesome grandsons. When the General Electric company gave him a new video camera back in the early 80s he began a lifelong hobby of taping his family life. There were birthdays, and holidays, and family reunions, and first steps, and singing favorite songs. He said all those videos would one day become a gift for his children and grandchildren to look back, on the wonderful life of Gene Kelly. Gene is survived by his wife of 45 years, Eva; daughter, Laura (Mark) Bakken, Grand Forks, ND; daughter, Katherine Kelly, Minneapolis, MN, son, Patrick Kelly, Fargo, and son Tony (Amy) Kelly, Kapolei, Hawaii; grandchildren, Brady & Jake Bakken, Grand Forks, ND; Sean Kelly-Williamson, Minneapolis, MN; and Jack Kelly, Kapolei, Hawaii. He is also survived by his siblings; John (Connie) Kelly, Perham, MN, Richard (Connie)Kelly, Chandler, Arizona; Betty (Steve) Baldwin, Gold Canyon, Arizona; and LuAnn Oakley, Grand Canyon, Arizona; and his brothers and sisters-in-law; Joseph (Nancy) Hilber, Pelican Rapids, MN; Anne (Albert) Nephew, Duluth, MN; Tom (Cheryl) Hilber, St Paul, MN; Tony Hilber, Brighton, CO; Bernard (Stephanie) Hilber, Simi Valley, CA; Richard Hilber, St Paul, MN; Theresa Hilber, Vadnais Heights, MN; Peggy (Peter) Mielke, Mahtomedi, MN; and Jody (Duane) Roman, Osceola, WI. Gene also had numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Edward and Mary Kelly. The family would like to give its heartfelt thanks for the wonderful care Gene received at; Essentia Health, Rosewood on Broadway, Davita Dialysis Center, and 1 Priority Transportation. A celebration of Life for Gene will be held Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Boulger Celebration Center in Fargo, ND at 2pm. Visitation will be held at Boulgers from 1-2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St Francis Thrift Store, Fargo, ND.

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  1. Gene will be missed by so many! He meant so much to me personally. Always chipper and quick witted. He could just make that sly smirk and we would burst into laughter! Eva and Gene are good people! My thoughts to her and her kids and grandkids and their big extended family!

  2. Gene Kelly was the best brother in law a guy could have. From day one he opened his home to me and my family. He was may Fargo Uber before there was an Uber. He would pick me up at the airort, give me a bed, the the keys to a car. He kept track of my Fargo friends and all their well being. When my girls came along he took them in as his own. When we adopted three boys they were welcomed with open arms. When his son Tony came to California along with Amy we welcomed them in kind. Most of all he loved my sister Eva. We’ll miss you Gene, there will all way be place in our heart for you and your family. You have lots of stories for heaven, rest in peace.

  3. So sorry to hear about Gene’s passing. Rocky & I got to know Gene through GE days. He was always so happy & fun to visit with when he was in Thief River Falls (& our few GE trips). Our thoughts & prayers are with you, Eva & family. Rocky & Barb Ammerman

  4. I have so many wonderful memories of Gene (and Eva!) cheering Laura and me on at basketball games at Fargo South! I am so sorry for your loss, thinking of all of you and sending love from Colorado.

  5. Dear Eva and family. We are all so sad to hear of Gene’s passing. Our hearts are heavy. We keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you as you grieve, but also celebrate who he was.

  6. Our sympathy to all. Will always remember my cousin Gene as “Gee Gee”. I remember when we would come to Fargo and playing with the girls and Gene. Good memories. God Bless him.

  7. Gene was an integral part of my life growing up. He coached me in youth basketball and his oldest child Laura was my teammate and later in my life would become one of best friends. Gene would see me later in life and always call me by my nickname (Boogie) with long drawn out ooooo’s that I will never forget. Gene will be missed, prayers to the Kelly family!

  8. My condolences to all the bereaved family members. I deeply regret the passing of my #1 cousin. He, of course, proclaimed himself my #1 cousin. I am glad I got to visit with him at my last Fargo VA appointment. It was definitely a good time. I always enjoyed the back and forth banter. We did finally decide that cousin Mike was my #2 cousin, due to all the trouble he would get us into when we were young.
    Requiescet In Pace #1. May your soul regale the angels and make them laugh. I really regret not being able to attend your Celebration of Life.


  10. My thoughts and prayers are for your family as you go through this difficult time.
    Kathy Lynch Ashe from Shanley

  11. The best brother in law ever! He came into my life when he showed up at our home for a date with Eva Whalen I was 9 and all men had to compare to Gene Kelly,from that point on! Gene had away of making every person he met or was talking to or working with or coaching feel like they were special! He had the best sense of humor ad loved to tell stories and jokes! His illnesses made his last years very difficult but thru it all he loved his family above all things! His grandsons were his bride and joy. His Eva was the love of his life, best friend, and soul mate and his best target for teasing! We love you Kelly and I am so blessed to have had you in my life and for always welcoming me into your home and making me feel accepted and loved!

  12. To Eva, Laura, Katie, Patrick, Tony and the grandkids, We send our love and support at this difficult time. You were blessed to have Gene as your spouse, father, grandfather. I have fond memories of Gene honking from his car while exiting Blue Candle Haven. He would bring Eva so she and my dad, Al Nephew, could race horses and ride in the pasture. Gene was kind to everyone and knew how to welcome new family members (and there have been many given the size of the extended family!). Eva and Gene share their wedding anniversary, August 3, with my parents, Anne and Al. Theirs was the first wedding I remember attending and it was huge! It was the event of the year in Fargo. Gene was a special person and his dedication to Eva and their family was a wonderful example to us all. Rest in peace and know we will never forget you.

  13. Eva, family, and extended family…prayers and love to all of you. May Gene have a peaceful journey and may he rest in peace.

  14. My sister’s married really cool guys. They knew that being nice to their girlfriends little sister’s was a winner thing to do. If the little sisters liked the guy then he must be alright. I loved getting to go on dates with Eva and Gene. One of the last things I said to Gene was “thank you for letting me go on all those dates with you and Eva”. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to have a boyfriend too. Gene always had a keen sense of humor that kept our Hilber frowns at a minimum. Our two families have enjoyed many good times together. Their youngest son Tony was right between my two children’s ages and I considered him my second son. Our oldest daughter Was also close in age to their older three children and she has fond memories of times with all her Kelly cousins. We will still always have those times and when we do we will always remember Gene. Uncle Gene was always the guy who made a Carmel roll run on Sunday mornings. May he Rest In Peace and look over our families from his heavenly home.

  15. My condolences to everyone. I had sent this message 10 days ago & last night I realized it hadn’t gone through. I have great memories of Geon (as Edward called him). He was always witty & upbeat. Two of my most memorable childhood memories were with Gene. The night I ran through the huge window at Williams Hamburger Stand & when we (I) started a big fire in the woods that almost took out Nana’s shed. Other memories of Gene & the whole Kelly bunch.

  16. Years ago I kept up on Kelly events through my parents. Then I would visit with Rick summers at Pelican Lake.
    I have not seen Rick in awhile and I did not know Gene was not well. We wish your entire family our
    deepest sympathy on the loss of Gene. He will be in our prayers.

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