Gene "The Machine" Maple, aged a youthful 59, embarked on his final journey from Tampa, Florida, on January 30, 2024, leaving a trail of laughter, love, and greasy handprints. Born in Oakley, Illinois, on February 12, 1964, Gene's early life was a prelude to a symphony of helping others, tinkering with anything that had an engine, and spreading joy.
Known for his infectious willingness to lend a hand-or a wrench-Gene never met a problem he couldn't fix or a friend he couldn't cheer. His toolbox was always open, much like his heart, and his mechanical wizardry was matched only by his knack for brightening your day.
Gene's family tree, robust and full of life, includes his mother, Carolyn; his children Missy, Sara, Amanda, and stepson Stephen; his adoring grandchildren, who will miss his playful tickles and tall tales; his fiancée Kathy, whose heart matched his own in kindness; his brothers, Stephen and Bryan (Christina); his niece, Melissa; and an ensemble of cousins. The Maple family roots run deep, and Gene's memory will continue to nourish them.
Saluting his past, Gene was preceded in his grand exit by his father, Ronald Maple; his sister, Misty; and a venerable gathering of grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
Gene's educational march commenced at Cerro Gordo High School, leading to an honorable stint in the Army, where he served with the kind of gusto that made Uncle Sam proud.
In the grand garage of life, Gene was the chief mechanic. His career was a testament to his love for heavy equipment, which he handled as gracefully as a maestro conducts a symphony. His reputation as a top-notch mechanic was rivaled only by his reputation for being an all-around great guy.
The curtain will rise for Gene's encore, a Celebration of Life, on March 2, 2024. This will be no somber affair but a gathering befitting a man who lived life in the fast lane-with plenty of pit stops for love and laughter.
Gene "The Machine" Maple, a man who could fix anything but the hole he's left behind, will be forever remembered for his quick wit, his quicker smile, and his superhuman ability to change a tire faster than you can say "lug nut." Start your engines, folks, and let's keep the spirit of Gene revving in our hearts.