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February 9, 1937 - November 1, 2020
Gene Petre has lost his battle with COVID on 11/1, at age 83.
Gene was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but spent a few early years in Buffalo, NY. He was the youngest of 6 in his family (Esther, Helen, Isabelle, Ethel, Gabriel). Gene’s father was a Hungarian Baptist minister, and he was raised to be a good Christian.
Gene graduated from West Tech HS, and was very involved in sports, lettering in basketball and baseball, but was also very active in hockey. Later, he played high level amateur baseball and hockey, and even had invitations to the Phillies and Barons training camps for tryouts.
Gene spent several years at Bridgeport College in Conn, and Fenn College in Cleveland.
He met Jacqueline Spicer in ’54, and they married in 1957. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, Gene served in the US Army and the Reserve. Around this time, He and Jackie moved to North Olmsted, Ohio and started building a family. Gene also started an employment agency, World-Wide Personnel, with his brother Gabe.
Gene was very involved with his children (Gary, Robert and David). He was active with Boy Scouts in the 60/70’s. In the early 1970’s, he got very involved with managing Hot Stove baseball, including coaching a National Championship team in 1973. Around this time he also created and managed the N. Olmsted youth hockey program, which continues to be a respected hockey organization in NE Ohio.
Gene was active with the local Optimist Club. He made a few career changes, including time as a sporting goods rep, and eventually Safety Director of N. Olmsted for 8 years. In the mid-80’s, he became Director of Marketing for Independent Oil Corp.
Youth hockey was Gene’s passion in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. He coached dozens of travel teams with N. Olmsted, the
Cleveland Americans and the Winterhurst Select hockey organizations. His teams traveled throughout NE United States and Canada, competing in high level hockey tournaments. Although he was never big on trophies, they did fill a room in his house. Not only did Gene coach, but he also served on organization boards (Pres, VP, financial officer, etc), ran fundraisers, and marketed for several of these programs.
Around 1990, Gene reorganized the defunct Cleveland Junior Barons hockey team, managing the organization for 3 years. They are still the top youth hockey organization in NE Ohio.
Over the years, he touched the lives of thousands of young people and their families through scouting, baseball and hockey.
In the mid-90’s, Gene applied his organizational, sales and marketing skills to the trade show business. He eventually had an opportunity in Orlando, FL, and relocated to the sunshine state with his wife Jackie. They eventually settled in Cape Canaveral, just a few hundred feet from the beach. He still worked 30-40 hrs a week with Maintenance Shows of America.
Gene enjoyed walking and fishing at the beach, and became involved in some local government committees. He also organized a few horseshoe playing groups, and was very active in that up until he entered the hospital with COVID.
Gene became somewhat of a legend at the horseshoe pits, and he loved the group of guys and gals that played every week. He also started a weekly trivia contest at the local VFW, which was enjoyed by many.
Gene was always up for a new adventure, even recently joining his grandchildren parasailing, air-boating, shark fishing, and even taking a helicopter ride.
Gene was known as a relentless worker with organizational and management skills in both business and amateur sports.
He experienced success in almost everything he touched.
Gene was fascinated with people, and he showed care and interest for everyone he met. Hopefully, his passion for life will be carried on by his friends and family. He will be greatly missed by many.
Gene is survived by:
His wife: Jacqueline (Spicer) Petre
His children: Gary (wife, Cathleen)
Robert (wife, Debra)
David (wife, Tammi)
His grandchildren: Jackie