Cover photo for Col. Gene Lopreste's Obituary
Col. Gene Lopreste Profile Photo
1934 Col. Gene 2023

Col. Gene Lopreste

July 25, 1934 — August 25, 2023

Colonel Gene Lopreste sadly left the many people he loved and loved him, and joyfully went to be with Jesus on Friday, Aug 25, 2023 at the age of 89. Gene was born July 25, 1934 to immigrant parents and lost his father when he was 8. He took turns working and going to college and earned his degree from Stetson while also completing ROTC. He spent seven years in the US Army, Armor Division as a tank unit commander, then continued to serve proudly in the National Guard, rising to the rank of Colonel, and retiring after 35 years of service. He was awarded two Army Commendation Medals and two Meritorious Service Medals among others. In the civilian world, Gene worked for Ford Motor Company for 24 years, and distinguished himself through his performance and ideas, earning Ford’s highest employee innovation award, a new vehicle. He picked a Bronco, which has been a part of the family for over 300k miles and is still going. Gene met his beautiful bride, Ernestine Collins, at Stetson, got married in 1963, and together enjoyed countless friends and adventures over their 60 years of marriage. Gene and Ernie have always been active at churches and enjoyed lifelong friendships along the way through various moves. Despite never learning to swim and sinking like a rock, Gene loved being on the water and boating and jet skiing, especially with the church jet ski gang who racked up years of memories adventuring together all over the south. He loved music and shared that playing trumpet at church, in the Clay County band, and in the German Oompah band, and delighted in high quality sound that could shake the house and blow out light bulbs. Gene enjoyed traveling and photographing memories and the majestic beauty of God’s creation; loved his 1966 Mustang, and trains, and tools, and numerous collections of treasures to share with friends. He selflessly and joyfully loved helping and serving others, and cherished time with friends and family on projects. Gene was a man of great faith and seeking God’s will in all things; he was patient, humble, and wise… he was all the characteristics one would aspire to be and will continue to be an inspiration for those blessed enough to have experienced time with him. Gene was preceded in death by his mother, Theresa, and older sisters, Marie and Carm, and is survived by his wife, Ernestine, and son, Matt. He is also survived by cousins, nieces, nephew, extended family members and friends whom he dearly loved. The family will receive friends at 10:00am on Friday, September 15, 2023 at First Baptist Church of Middleburg and the Celebration of Life Service will begin at 11:00am. Interment with military honors will follow at 2:30pm at Jacksonville National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Samaritan’s Purse or First Baptist Church of Middleburg.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Friends & Family Gathering

Friday, September 15, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church of Middleburg

2645 Blanding Boulevard, Middleburg, FL 32068

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Celebration Of Life

Friday, September 15, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church of Middleburg

2645 Blanding Boulevard, Middleburg, FL 32068

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Friday, September 15, 2023

2:30 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Jacksonville National Cemetery

4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218

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