Eugene Henry Heldorfer, age 93 of Beaver Prairie, died March 5, 2020 at St. Joseph Hospital in Breese. He was born May 27, 1926 the son of Emil G. and Rosa M. (Pollmann) Heldorfer. He married Agnes Hilmes, whom he met at the dance hall in Frogtown, on September 14, 1949 and she preceded him in death on September 23, 1998.
Gene was the youngest of four children and he would tell you with a twinkle in his eye that he was an “oops.” He was preceded in death by his brothers Erwin Heldorfer and wife Julia, George Joseph Heldorfer and wife Verene, sister Marie Heldorfer, sisters-in-law Bertha Thole and husband William, Martha Thole and husband John, Henrietta Wecker and husband Sylvester, and brother-in-law Vincent Thole.
Surviving are his children, Charlotte and Kenett Bivens of Springfield, IL, Barbara and Basil “B.J” Shelton of Carlyle, Alan Heldorfer of Beaver Prairie, and Rita and Steven Smith of Springfield, IL; one granddaughter, Jessica Rose Smith; step-grandchildren, Wendy Shelton, Michael and Ashley Shelton, Tiffany and David Droege and Ryan Shelton and fiancée Jamie Feldeworth; nine step great-grandchildren with the tenth arriving soon; and sister-in-law Marie Thole of Highland.
Gene was a life-long farmer, farming the land where he was born. He credited his 4-H involvement for fostering his farming knowledge. After retiring from farming, he tinkered with wood projects in the winter and tended garden in the summer, but he was still happiest on a tractor helping Alan. He was a life-long member of the St. Felicitas Catholic Church in Beaver Prairie where he was a trustee for many years. He enjoyed volunteering for church activities, especially calling bingo at the church picnics and seating people for the popular chicken dinners where he could talk to anyone.
A soldier drafted by the Army for the Korean Conflict, Gene spent most of his time in Trieste, Italy. Since he was ten years older than his fellow soldiers and already married, his nickname was “Pops.”
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Felicitas Church in Beaver Prairie at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, March 9, 2020, with Fr. Edward Schaefer, officiating. Interment will follow at St. Felicitas Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Zieren Funeral Home in Carlyle on Sunday, March 8, 2020, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM and on Monday from 9:00 – 10:30 A.M.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations in his memory are suggested to St. Jude Children’s Hospitals, Boys Town, or to St. Felicitas Cemetery Fund and will be received through Zieren Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.zierenfuneralhome.com.