Gene S. Eilerts was born April 17, 1945, to Eugene Pryce and Anne (Jantz) Eilerts in the family home near Fredonia.
Gene had three siblings: his older brother, Jay Dee Eilerts, his oldest sister, Nyla Sills, and youngest sister, Connie Haller. At the age of 4, Gene and his family moved to their new family farmstead near Walton. Gene helped his father with their grain and cattle operation. He began driving the tractor at the age of 9. Gene and Jay Dee had their own baling operation during their high school years. He attended 12 years of school in Walton and graduated in 1963 with 12 classmates. He was very active in sports and excelled in football and basketball. He enlisted in the?U.S. Air Force?the summer after graduation and received an honorable discharge in 1967. During his tour of duty, he was stationed at Minot Air Force Base, which is 13 miles north of Minot, North Dakota, and Nakhon Phanom in Thailand, where he had his own bomb loading crew. Their missions were flown to Ho Chi Minh Trail.
On December 7, 1968, he married Christine Ann Stucky from McPherson at Eden Mennonite Church near Moundridge. They were married 46 years before his death. Their union produced two sons; Jeffrey Aaron born Jan. 22, 1975, and Joel Matthew, born January 31, 1979.
Gene was preceded in death by his mother, Anne Eilerts; his f.ather, Eugene Pryce Eilerts; his step-mother, Geneva Eilerts, brothers-in-law Charles Stucky and Larry Sills; and both sets of grandparents. Gene leaves his wife, Christine, his oldest son Jeffrey and his wife Tiffany and his youngest son Joel and his wife Courtney, and four grandchildren, Ashlyn, Taylor, Tatum, and Barrett, his brother and sisters, a host of nieces and nephews, and many, many other friends and relatives to mourn his death.
Gene was employed with IBT for 34 years. His career with IBT began in 1976 as a salesman for the Wichita branch, and a few years later, he was asked to manage the branch in Hutchinson, and then in 1987, he was promoted to area sales manager of the Tulsa and Muskogee, Oklahoma, branches. Gene retired from IBT in August 2010.
Gene had many hobbies. He collected eighth-scale farm toys, pedal tractors and old metal Structo toys he purchased and refurbished. He also had an antique car, two trucks and two tractors, which are stored at their farm near McPherson.
Memorial service was on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the New Coventry United Methodist church in Edmond, Oklahoma.