Eugene F. Lispi, 87, of Laflin, a well-known local businessman, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday morning, Sept. 24, 2013, at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, after a prolonged illness. He was surrounded by his family.
Born in Yatesville, he was a 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-known war correspondent during World War II.
After his 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 left a member of his family in charge and moved on.
When the idea of building a horseracing facility in Plains Township was about to become a reality, he and his brother, Albert, began their racing stable. They owned several racehorses, most notably Seminole Gene. A member of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association and U.S. Trotting Association, he was elected to the board of directors of Pocono Downs. Firmly established in the field of horseracing, he once again moved 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 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 ventures 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 Township.
He is survived by his wife, Osma; his sister, Josephine "Pippy" Kleckner, Plains Township; sisters-in-law, Andrea "Candy" Abraham, Wilkes Barre, and Angeline "Gela" Lispi and Stella Lispi, both of Yatesville; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
The family especially thanks the staff of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for the excellent care, profound compassion and patience that was shown to Gene and his family during this difficult time.
Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Peter J. Adonizio Funeral Home, 251 William St., Pittston. Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday from the funeral home with Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph Morello Parish in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Pittston. The Rev. John Shearer, O.S.J., will be celebrant. Interment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Carverton.
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 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 Chip Farms, 974 Lockville Road, Dallas, PA 18612; or SPCA of Luzerne County, 524 E. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.
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.
Gubbiotti Funeral Home
1030 Wyoming Ave.
Exeter, PA 18643
Published in Times Leader from Sept. 25 to Sept. 26, 2013