September 14, 2019
- 2:00 PM
September 14, 2019
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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.