MORTON – Virgil E. “Gene” Bohlen, 87, of Morton, entered peacefully into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, December 31, 2022, at Reflections Memory Care in Morton.
He was born on September 13, 1935, in Sterling, Ill., to Daniel and Elsie (Hunsberger) Bohlen. He met and married Loretta Horsch on June 15, 1958, in Hopedale, Ill.
Gene is survived by his wife and four children, Jeff (Judith) Bohlen of Lancaster, Pa., Janine (Tom) Gardner of Willow Springs, Ill., Lori (Duane) Swartzendruber of Morton and Linda (Troy) Teater of Morton; 11 grandchildren, Jared (Megan) Reader, Joel Reader, Eric Bohlen, Matt (Arianna) Bohlen, Carson Bohlen, Seth (Abigail) Swartzendruber, Kara (Tyler) Nafziger, Lillian (Grant) Helle, Elaina Teater, Clint Teater and Brendan Gardner; and three great grandchildren.
He spent his youth living on various farms in Polo, Ill. area, where his father was employed. In his junior year the family moved onto a farm at Bradford, Ill. He graduated from Bradford High School in the spring of 1954.
In the fall of that year, he began a two-year term of voluntary service which began at the Mennonite Central Committee Headquarters in Akron, Ohio. He served there six months and then spent the next six months at National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md. by being a participant in their heart research trials. His second year was spent working at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.
They’ve lived most of their 64 years of marriage in Morton.
Gene had a variety of jobs during those years from the farm to operating heavy equipment for soil conservation work on farms, to driving semi-truck delivering chicken to KFC Stores, to hauling gravel for Roecker Bros. Concrete Ready Mix Plant in Morton, to driving trucks for Nussbaum Trucking Inc. in Normal and then, when retired, he went back on the farm to help with planting and harvesting at Bell Enterprises.
As a teenager, Gene committed his life to Christ, and this began a lifetime of love for Jesus and serving.
Gene was a member of Trinity Church from its beginning in 1977. He served as elder, small group leader, and deacon of outdoor facilities.
His faith was also expressed through his love of music by singing in Men’s Quartet, Chapel Vision TV Choir, Morton Community Chorus, the Messiah, as well as, participating in the worship group with his autoharp.
Gene’s hobby after retirement was woodworking. He made an item for each of his grandchildren and furniture pieces for friends.
Gene enjoyed fellowship with friends and family adding humor to keep the stories lively and fun.
A funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, January 7, 2023, at Trinity Church in Morton, with Pastor Eric Edison and Seth Swartzendruber officiating. Visitation will be from 1:00 to 2:45 p.m. at the church prior to the service on Saturday. Burial will be at Hirstein Cemetery in Morton.
We wish to express our gratitude to the staff at Reflections for all the good care Gene received from them these past two years.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Trinity Church.
Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements.
To leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.knappjohnson.com.