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Eugene Willenbring

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MANCHESTER -- Eugene Stanislaus Willenbring, 86, passed away on Feb. 23, 2007, at the Vermont Veterans’ home after a long illness.

Eugene was born on Nov. 13, 1920, in Richmond, Minn., the son of Herman and Lucy (Schulte) Willenbring. He grew up on the family farm where he enjoyed tinkering with his father’s tools and where he developed a lifelong love of ice skating.

Following his high school graduation he joined the Navy, where he served as a Carpenter’s Mate 1st Class during World War II. He married Alba (Bobbie) Vaccaro near the end of the war, and they eventually settled in Ridgefield, Conn. There Gene developed a thriving carpentry business and together they raised six children. Always in high demand for his excellent skills, Gene built many houses over the years, including several he designed himself. His talent was just as evident on a smaller scale in the countless pieces of furniture, toys and handy devices he built for family, friends and neighbors, and virtually anyone else who was smart enough to mention to him that they needed something made out of wood.

He continued to practice his trade when he moved to Manchester Center, where he built and remodeled several homes. One of his great joys during his later years was seeing his great-grandson learn to ice skate at Riley Rink.

Gene is survived by his wife of 61 years, Bobbie; his six children, Barry Willenbring of Somerville, Mass,, Brian Willenbring of Southbury, Conn., Bruce (Stan) Willenbring of Clifton Forge, Va., Brad Willenbring and Beth Wissert of Manchester Center, and Blair Willenbring of Chester; one brother, Joseph Willenbring of Cold Spring, Minn.; one sister, Amelia Bibeau of St. Paul, Minn.; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by three brothers, Bede, Cyril, and Paul Willenbring, and two sisters, Cecelia Doubek and Julitta Moore.

A funeral mass will be held at the Vermont Veterans’ Home chapel in Bennington on Friday, March 2, at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Gene’s memory may be made to the Vermont Veterans’ Home, where he was provided with the most attentive and loving care in his declining days, in care of Brewster Funeral Service PO Box 885 Manchester, VT 05255. Personal e-mail condolences may be sent to the family by visiting http://www.sheafuneralhomes.com

Information provided by the funeral home.

Published in Bennington Banner from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27, 2007
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