Eugene "Gene" Michael Bergin, 78, of Palm Coast, passed away Sunday morning, February 27, 2011. A memorial service will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church in Bunnell on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 10am. Gene was born on May 8, 1932 in Unionville, CT, to Michael Bergin and Anna (Drziedzic) Bergin. The family later moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Gene became a star running back at Hartford Public High School. He helped the Owls football team win the State Championship in 1949 and was honored with selection to All State. In 1950, as catcher for the Owls baseball team, he led that team to a State Championship, as well. Gene was inducted into the HPHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. After high school, Gene began a racing career that lasted nearly three decades. Although best known for his accomplishments on the New England modified racing circuit, he competed in nearly every form of oval track racing including Grand National and Indy car events, sprint cars, midgets, and open-competition on paved and dirt tracks from Maine to Florida. Throughout his racing career, he was known for his raw talent and hard-charging style, which made him very popular with racing fans all along the East Coast. In 1951, he married Marie Lucienne (Lucy) Lemire. They had four children: John lives in Maryland, Dianne Stevenson resided in Connecticut until her death in 1994, Guy (Skip) and Gene both reside in Palm Coast. Gene is survived by eight grandchildren; McKenzie, Courtney, Elizabeth, Christina, Eugene, Valerie, Gregory, and Stephanie. Gene and Lucy brought their family to Palm Coast in October 1988 where they operated a successful lawn service for many years serving private and commercial customers throughout Palm Coast. They remained happily married until Lucy passed away in February 2003. Gene loved all sports and was an avid golfer. In his retirement, he played often, joining other retired racing drivers and local friends for an afternoon on the links. He also traveled back to Connecticut frequently to visit his many friends there. Memorial donations may be made to St. Mary Church, 89 St. Mary's Place, Bunnell, FL 32110 or Florida Hospital HospiceCare, 770 West Granada Blvd, Suite 304, Ormond Beach, FL 32129.
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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Mar. 3, 2011