Eugene K. Whitens


HERMANSVILLE — Eugene (Gene) K. Whitens, 85, of Hermansville, passed away on Wednesday Jan. 15, 2020, at Dickinson County Hospital in Iron Mountain.

Gene, known to many as “Wheels,” was born on Nov. 25, 1934, to the late William and Theresa (Arduin) Whitens. Gene was a lifelong resident of Hermansville.

At the age of six, Gene contracted polio and endured several treatments and surgeries during his school years. Despite his illness, Gene continued with his education and graduated from Hermansville High School in 1954 as class valedictorian.

He then attended Ferris State University and earned a degree in drafting and design in 1956. Gene had a great interest in electronics and took correspondence courses studying electronics, radio and TV. He built many TV’s and electronic devices in his “shop” during his life.

Gene began his career in 1957 with the Michigan Department of Transportation in Escanaba where he drew and designed highway plans for 29 years. He had several hobbies and interest during his lifetime and was never hindered by his disability. Gene used his many talents and skills to design and install hand controls on his vehicles and built many motorized cycles for hunting and driving in the woods.

He was an avid fisherman and hunter and built his own canoes and boats. In 2008, he shot the largest buck in the local area taking first place in the “big buck contest.”

Gene was also a huge sports fan; he never missed a high school basketball game from 1957 to 2020. Gene was recently recognized for his loyal attendance to basketball and football games by the North Central Jets. He also loved to watched and listen on his radio to the Chicago White Sox and the Green Bay Packers.

He never let his disability get in the way and was the driver on family vacations to Oregon and New York and enjoyed many fishing trips including one to Canada with his brothers.

Gene was devoted to his family and cared for his mother for nearly 40 years after his father passed away in 1969.

Gene was a lifelong member of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Hermansville, where he faithfully attended weekly mass.

Eugene is survived by two brothers: Robert (Lois) Whitens and Don (Donna) Whitens, both of Hermansville; along with several cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister: Kathy Menard; and three brothers: William (Bill) Whitens, Roger Whitens and Richard (Doc) Whitens.

Friends may call from 10 a.m. to noon Central time Tuesday Jan. 21 at the Allo Coolman Funeral Home in Spalding.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:30 p.m. at the church, with Fr. Edward B. Baafi officiating.

A luncheon will follow Mass in the church parish hall.

He will be laid to rest in the Meyer Township Cemetery in the spring.

Please visit www.allofh.com to send online condolences to his family.