May 08, 1932 ‒ January 14, 2020
LEXINGTON: Gene Wirick was born at home on May 8, 1932 in Lexington, Ohio, the second son of the late Chester and Jeanette Wirick. On January 14, he passed away after a brief illness after living 87 years in a town he loved with a woman he adored.
Gene graduated from Lexington High School, where he lettered in baseball, track, and basketball. He played two years of semi-pro baseball for the Lexington Grays in 1951-1952. Inducted into the Masons as one of the youngest members, he continued as an active member and received his 65-year pin at Lodge 376 in Bellville.
He served in the original 164th Air National Guard Squadron in Mansfield from 1950 to 1953. He entered the United States Army in 1953 through 1955 in Fort Lee, Virginia, and was honorably discharged in 1955. He was a member of the 2nd Army championship volleyball team.
His highly successful sales career started when he became the first employee hired to sell farm machinery for Bill Templeton. He left to work several years at Mansfield Tire, then accepted an offer from Cooper Tires in Findley, Ohio. Quickly rising to the top of the sales organization, he received dozens of accolades and awards during his 40-year career. In 1971 he won the top award of Master Merchandiser. He retired in 2005 as the Senior Salesman.
A nature-lover, he loved fishing with his wife and walking through the woods on his different farms. A big game hunter, Gene was known throughout the county (as well as in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Idaho) for his hunting ability and expert marksmanship. Adept with both the gun and bow and arrow, on foot or on horseback, Gene always returned from the hunt with something to eat.
Son of a carpenter, Gene excelled at working with his hands. As general contractor on his current home, he continued to find projects that included constructing an art studio for his wife. A dog lover his entire life, Gene always owned a dog or two.
Gene played singles and doubles tennis for years and won many tournaments for his athletic ability as well as those of his favorite doubles partner, his wife Pat.
Gene cared about providing for others, often stopping in to share venison with neighbors. He was well known for picking up stray animals, taking them to the animal shelter, and paying for their care.
This last year, Gene realized his dream of flying – a birthday gift from Pat.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Patricia Ann; his son, Richard E. Wirick (Deborah) of Santa Monica, California; his daughter, Jane Drake (Paul) of Richardson, Texas; his daughter, Jennifer Breitinger of Minneapolis, MN; his seven grandchildren: Evan, Maya, and Amelia Wirick; Taylor, Ellen (Luis Guzman), and Madeline Drake of Dallas, Texas, and Eva Breitinger of Minneapolis, MN; and his great-granddaughter, Esme; and step-children Karl (Lori), Kathy (Dave), and Kara (Steve); step-grandchildren Brian Bacin, Kyle and Kelly Kent, and Kip, Quinn, Zane and Gage. He is also survived by his brother: Larry (Edna) Wirick. Also surviving are his Uncle John I. Wirick, Aunt Helen Snyder, former wife Janet Follett, and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Jeanette Wirick of Lexington, Ohio and his brother, Duane R. Wirick.
Friends and family may call on Friday, January 17 from 1 to 3 PM and 5 to 7 PM at the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home with Masonic services beginning at 7 PM. Funeral services will be January 18 at 11 a.m. at the funeral home where military honors will be performed by the Richland County Joint Veterans Burial Detail. Burial will follow in Lexington Cemetery.
To send the family a condolence online visit: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
Donations may be made in Gene’s honor to Richland County Humane Society or the charity of your choice.
The Snyder Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to serve the family of Gene Wirick.