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Davenport,  Earl “Gene”DAVENPORT

On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, Earl “Gene” Davenport (“Mean Gene” / “Earl the Pearl”) began his new adventure of lighting the sky in a vast and glorious way, and we are forever grateful for his presence with us, and the days we shared with him.

Born in Chicago on July 13, 1943, Gene learned the value of hard work early, and mastered a trade at a young age. He began his electrifying career helping to erect the high-tension lines along the Kankakee corridor, climbing high into the metal structures to string dangerous voltage lines. His career eventually brought him back to Chicago where he worked as an electrical worker/lineman and served as a proud union member of Local 9 IBEW for almost four decades.

One of the first bright points in Gene's life was the birth of his daughter Kelly in 1975. He beamed with affection for her, supported and encouraged her in everything she did. From her first wobbly ride on a bike without training wheels to her first time stepping into a classroom to begin her career as a teacher, he always stood proudly by her side as one of her biggest supporters. Gene's heart became even fuller when Kelly married John (JD) Englum who Gene loved and appreciated as a wonderful husband and father. The birth of his grandsons Anthony and Connor made him glow with love and joy. One of his biggest pleasures was to buy them fun, crazy gifts and tell them silly jokes.

Gene’s life became even brighter when he met the love of his life, Cindy in 1984; he even told a mutual friend that he would marry her the first time he saw her. As a man of his word, Gene and Cindy married in January 2004. Together they enjoyed many shared interests including fishing (Cindy always brought strawberries & Champagne), Ford motor cars, the City of Chicago and Chicago sports teams, including the Bears, Cubs and Blackhawks, and ongoing dating, which they continued through their entire courtship and marriage. They never missed dinner together, including their annual New Year’s Eve night at home with steak and lobster, watching old movies together on weekends, or sharing heart shaped meatloaf or pizza on Valentine’s Day. 

Perhaps Cindy and Gene's most loving date was when Gene came home one Valentine’s Day with a special gift for Cindy. Upon telling her that he had a gift for her, Cindy was baffled by not seeing a red bowed box or rose bouquet in hand, something he had often done. This time was different and took years in the completion. As a dedicated gift to Cindy, Gene decided to fill the empty banner on the heart tattoo on his sleeve with her name. He had the tattoo for over 30 years, with no name ever in it, and Gene finally found a reason to fill his heart forever, just as Cindy’s was filled too.

Their dates even continued through the last six months when Gene encountered health challenges, but Cindy visited him daily, still never missing a dinner. Everyone could hear the echos in the hallways of the hospital or rehabilitation center with open proclamations of continued love, as Cindy told Gene “I love you, Honey Pie,” and Gene never missed an immediate response of “I love you, Sweet Potato,” even on their last evening together.
Along with being a fan of Cindy, Gene also enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, World War II history, collecting glass insulators, making homemade pickles, and boxing, as Gene studied Golden Gloves under Tony Zale, and never missed a match on television. He was also an accomplished chili cook, and took first place trophies in many competitions.

Gene and Cindy also shared a common love of Harley Davidson motorcycles, and Gene patiently taught Cindy to ride. He was a member of the “Monday Bums,” with whom he enjoyed friendship, weekly rides and affixing the Bum's seal of approval to various luncheon establishments. Gene appreciated the friendship and camaraderie of the Northside Fire Brigade, gatherings of Local 9 Old Timers Club and the Gladstone neighborhood.

Gene was preceded in passing by his parents, Catherine (Degand) and Earl C. Davenport, and in-laws Peter G. (CFD) and Joan T. Borchek. 

We celebrate Gene as a wonderful husband to Cynthia A. (Borchek) Davenport, father to Kelly Englum (John D.), grandfather to Anthony and Connor Englum, brother to Patricia Bolen and Donna Wessels (Erich), brother-in-law to Peter M. (Suzy) Borchek, Sue Borchek Smith (Vince Smith), and uncle to Peter J. (Uka), Jennifer Borchek, Tracy (Paris) Barnes, John Bolen, and Laura and Rick Wessels, friend to many and companion to his beloved kitties, Bonnie and Clyde.

His friends and family will tell you that he was “Earl the Pearl” or “Mean Gene,” even though he was known by everyone as being a “good guy”.  Gene was always patient, calm and logical; a leader through wisdom and experience and a bearer of corny jokes. His goal was always to enjoy life, with happiness in mind. In recognition of Gene’s joy of jokes and his happiness of living, his family asks that you share a joke or kiss your own Honey Pie or Sweet Potato today, and tell them that you love them.

Gene was a fighter and fought hard for many years, but he just couldn't go this last round. Remember him and all that you shared, celebrate his life, and live yours to the fullest, keeping love and laughter in your heart. May we join him in peace someday, as he works his next task of lighting the path for us. We will always miss you Gene.

Come tell us your stories of Gene, and share your own corny jokes, or tell us what "ritaphotostat & gillihog” means.

Saturday, January 20, 2018
3 - 9 PM
M.J. Suerth Funeral Home
6754 N. Northwest Highway
Chicago 60631