Eugene F. Lispi, 87, of Laflin, a well-known local businessman, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday morning September 24, 2013, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley 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 into the U.S. 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 know 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's Brothers.
Always interested in involving himself and his family into 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 Twp. was about to become a reality, he and his brother Albert would begin 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 car 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 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, he was also a member of the 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 brothers, David and Albert, both of Yatesville; and a sister, Eleanor Torony, Plains.
He is survived by his wife, Osma; his sister, Josephine (Pippy) Kleckner, Plains; and sister-in-law, Andrea (Candy) Abraham of 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's Children Hospital, 501 St. Jude's Place, Memphis, TN 38105; Shriner's Children's Hospital, 3551 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140; St. Joseph's Center, 2010 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509; Blue Chips Farms, 974 Lockville Road, Dallas, PA 18612; or SPCA of Luzerne Co., 524 E. Main St., Wilkes Barre, PA 18702.
Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation on Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Peter J. Adonizio Funeral Home, 251 William St., Pittston.
Funeral services will be on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. from the funeral home with Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Marello Parish in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Pittston. The Rev. John Shearer, OSJ, will be celebrant.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Gubbiotti Funeral Home, 1030 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.
To send the family an expression of sympathy or an online condolence, please visit www.gubbiottifh.com