Eugene F. Lispi, 87, of Laflin, a well-known local businessman, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday morning, Sept. 24, 2013, in Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, after a prolonged illness. He was surrounded by his family.
Born in Yatesville, he was the son of the late Joseph and Sabatina LaVerde Lispi. He attended Plains High School and graduated from Wyoming Seminary.
Upon graduation, he entered the Navy and served aboard the USS Charles Carroll. While at sea, he would often type stories as they were dictated to him by Ernie Pyle, a well-known war correspondent during World War II
After discharge from the service, he graduated from King's College with plans to enter medical school, but due to his father's failing health he was needed in the family business of Lispi Brothers.
Always interested in involving himself and his family in new ventures, and worried about the future of his family, he then built Lispi Lanes. Once the business was established, he would leave a member of his family in charge and he would move on.
When the idea of building a horse racing facility in Plains Township was about to become a reality, he and his brother, Albert, began their racing stable. They owned several race horses, most notably Seminole Gene.
A member of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association and the U.S. Trotting Association, he was elected to the board of directors of Pocono Downs. Firmly established in the field of horse racing, he would once again move on.
He met and married Osma Abraham, daughter of Robert Abraham, a local car dealer. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November of this year.
Listening to the stories from his father-in-law, he became interested in new cars sales.
Gene Lispi Chevrolet, later know as Abraham Chevrolet, was then established. A novice to the new car business, he furthered his education in the automobile industry by studying sales and marketing at Princeton University
and graduating from the Dealers/Sons College of Chevrolet. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salesmen and a member of the Dealer Council Advisory Board of Chevrolet Motor Division.
He opened Lispi's Restaurant and Lounge in 1977.
Still not satisfied, he moved on. Having been the son of a coal miner and working in his family's mines as a boy, his next venture would be GL&O Coal, Great Eastern Coal, Pardeesville Associates of Hazleton and GG&L Enterprises.
Gene was the also the president and CEO of Lispi Enterprises and Maple Developments, family-owned and operated enterprises.
A member of St. Joseph Marello Church and a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, he was also a member of Plains American Legion Post 558, the Italian American Association, King's College Century Club, and an associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, David and Albert, both of Yatesville; and a sister, Eleanor Torony, Plains Township.
He is survived by his wife, Osma; his sister, Josephine (Pippy) Kleckner, Plains Township; sister-in-law, Andrea (Candy) Abraham, Wilkes-Barre; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
The family would especially like to thank the staff of Geisinger Wyoming Valley for the excellent care, profound compassion and patience that was shown to Gene and his family during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the HCC Patient Assistance Fund, 1000 E. Mountain Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711; St. Jude Children's Hospital, 501 St. Jude's Place, Memphis, TN 38105; Shriners Children's Hospital, 3551 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140; St. Joseph's Center, 2010 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509; Blue Chip Farms, 974 Lockville Road, Dallas, PA 18612; or the SPCA of Luzerne County, 524 E. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.
Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Peter J. Adonizio Funeral Home, 251 William St., Pittston.
Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday from the funeral home, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph Marello Parish in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Pittston. The Rev. John Shearer, O.S.J., will be celebrant.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Gubbiotti Funeral Home, 1030 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.
To send the family an expression of sympathy or condolence, visit www.gubbiottifh.com