CARBONDALE – Gene C. Stearns, 81 beloved Father of Beth and Heather, passed away at his home on July 12, 2023 surrounded by his loved ones after a lengthy illness.
He was born April 10, 1942 to Gilbert and Berniece (Cox) Stearns. He was a 1960 graduate of CCHS and at one time was the youngest business owner in Carbondale. He married Martha French in January 1965 and together they had 2 daughters. He was drafted and served in the U.S. Army in South Korea. Upon his return, he became a Firefighter for the City of Carbondale for 25 years and also owned Stearns Insulation.
Gene enjoyed life to the fullest and some of his proudest accomplishments were a hole-in-one at Midland Golf Course and building his own home when he retired. He was also an accomplished fisherman, water skier and bowler. In his earlier years he also enjoyed racing stock cars. The bowling became a family tradition and his oldest grandson, Joshua, currently competes in the Bowler’s Association Mid-West Tour. Gene was also a master carpenter and passed his love for hard work and building to his younger grandson Taylor who is a contractor. His granddaughter Hannah recently graduated with a degree in Architecture, inspired by his love of creating. Gene always felt that his family was his greatest accomplishment. His legacy will live on through all that knew and loved him.
Left to carry on his legacy are Beth (Chris) Miller of Pawleys Island, SC, Heather (Mike) Gold of Highland, IL, grandchildren Dr. Joshua (Nicole) Stearns-Browning, Taylor (Chelsey) Browning and Hannah Miller. He had one great-granddaughter, Crimson Browning. Other survivors include Stephanie (Brandon) Claybourn & family, Raelan Gold & family, Tara (Nathan) Cherry & family, Ken Tiernan and Kyle Tiernan. He is also survived by his siblings Carol (Nancy) Cole of Tuscon, AZ, Darwin Stearns of Carbondale, IL and Noralee (Keith) Ellis of Carbondale, IL. He was preceded in death by his older brother, Glenn Stearns of Pomona, IL. Gene is also survived by many dear cousins and numerous nieces and nephews as well as his bonus grandchildren.
Gene will be missed immensely by his family and friends but was welcomed home by his parents, brother, two unborn children and his golfing buddy Beastie. Gene was a member of the Makanda Lodge of Free Masons, Carbondale Eagles, Jackson County Country Club, International Association of Firefighters and Boskydell Baptist Church.
Memorials may be made at the funeral home to the Boskydell Cemetery Association.
The family would like to especially thank S.I. Elder Law and Hospice of Southern Illinois for their compassionate care during that last month of Gene’s life.
Services for Gene will be held at Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale with visitation from 5-7pm Monday, July 17th with Masonic Rites at 6:45pm. The funeral will be held at 12pm Tuesday, July 18th. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the funeral. Interment will be at Boskydell Cemetery. Carbondale Firefighters will stand vigil during the visitation Monday evening and full military rites will be performed graveside.
Information is available about Gene’s life and arrangements at www.meredithfh.com Tuesday’s service will be live streamed on the funeral home website for those unable to attend.