Eugene “Gene” Walter Lepeak, age 96, of Grand Marais and Saginaw, Michigan died Thursday, December 9, 2021 at Medilodge of Munising. He was born on September 20, 1925 in Saginaw to the late Walter and Frances (Rytlewski) Lepeak. Gene graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Saginaw in 1943. In his younger years, friends knew Eugene by the nickname “Jeep” from the Eugene the Jeep character in Popeye. Gene married Carolyn Ruth McCarty on December 27, 1947 and together they raised their five children. They were married over 58 years when Carolyn preceded him in death in February of 2006. Gene worked for many years as a water filtration operator for the City of Saginaw, retiring in 1981. In 1962, Gene and his family “found” Grand Marais and soon after bought property and built their home on the shore of Lake Superior. After retirement, Grand Marais became Gene and Carolyn’s main home. They loved the beauty of the lake and kindness of the community. Gene and Carolyn also loved to travel; visiting many friends, family, and destinations across the U.S. Gene was known for sharing his home-made raspberry wine that he spent thirty years perfecting. He was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for 38 years where he served as a coxswain. He was involved on multiple rescues on Lake Superior and receiving an award for his service in 2011.
He is survived by his children – Holly (Larry) Pilon of Ann Arbor, MI and William “Bill” (Sonia) Lepeak of Birch Run, MI; daughters and son-in-law – Linda Lepeak of Branford, CT, Cheryl Lepeak of Whittaker, MI, and Rod Berkshire of Boise, ID; nine grandchildren – Lisa (Robin), Angelique (Andy), Patrick (Nicki), Desti (Crystal), Michael (Shoshona), Lauren, Remy, Eric and Lily; three great-grandchildren – Olivia, Callen, and Nicolas; sister – Barbara (George) Losee; and numerous nieces and nephews. Gene was preceded in death by his parents; wife – Carolyn; children - Janet Lepeak Berkshire, Walter Lepeak, and Stanley Lepeak; grandson – William Augustus Lepeak; and Siblings – Clyde, Leonard, and Rose.
A memorial service will be celebrated at a later date.
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