Eugene “Gene” Albert Illies, age 81, of Elrosa, passed away December 19, 2020 at the St. Cloud Hospital due to COVID-19. There will be no visitation. Graveside services will be held at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Sauk Centre on December 24 at 12:00 pm. Father Joseph Korf will officiate. Social distancing and properly worn masks are required.
Gene was born in Elrosa on January 17, 1939 to John C. and Gertrude S. (Lesser) Illies. Gene graduated from Belgrade High School in 1956.
Gene was united in marriage to Donna Nathe on February 22, 1966 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre. This union was blessed with five children.
After graduation, Gene went to Minneapolis and was a security guard driver for Brinks for a short time. In 1962, he moved back home to work with his dad in the shop. He also worked part time for Macey’s Construction in West Union. He then went to work as a mechanic for Tom Blais Ford in Long Prairie and Dan Welle Motors in Sauk Centre.
Shortly after marriage, Gene bought the family auto repair business where he worked until retirement in 2010. He continued to work part-time with his son, Gregory, who took over Illies Motor Company.
At the age of 13, Gene worked on his 1st transmission (it worked when he finished) and was very proud of his accomplishment. He was also very proud of his 45 years of sobriety.
He had a smile that could light up a room. He really enjoyed family get-togethers (both Illies and Nathe). Both families were big, so there were always new family members to meet.
His hobbies were stock car races, fishing, watching baseball and football, playing cards and board games, crossword puzzles and reading.
His favorite food was chicken chow mein and fried chicken. He loved cooking on Sundays or going to a KFC buffet.
He leaves behind his wife of over 54 years, 4 children, 5 grandchildren and 6 siblings. Children include Georgina Illies, Belgrade; Gerald (Shane) Illies, Edgewood, Washington; Gregory Illies, Belgrade; Jennifer Heath, Waterford, Wisconsin. Grandchildren include Brendan (Victoria) Illies, Los Angeles, California; Amelia Heath, Waterford, Wisconsin; Dorothy Illies, Belgrade; Timothy Illies, Belgrade; and Callie Heath, Waterford, Wisconsin. Siblings include Cyril Illies, Elrosa; Mary Emslander, Sauk Centre; Ruth (Gerald) Wischnefski, Champlin; Thomas (Alyce) Illies, Andover; Kathleen (Ronald) Wischnefski, Sartell; and Elizabeth Freihammer, Sauk Rapids.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, infant son, John; sister Eleanor Maier and brothers-in law Donald Emslander, James Maier and Richard Freihammer.
Gene was baptized at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Elrosa and later joined St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to the charity of your choice.
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