Eugene Joseph Kilbride, age 83, passed away peacefully at his daughter's home in Yankton, surrounded by loved ones, on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010, after a brief battle with lung cancer.
Eugene was born on Dec. 22, 1926, on a farm four miles west of Wakonda, to John and Rose (Hook) Kilbride. He grew up on the family farm, and attended a Wakonda country school. He left school at an early age to help his father farm during the Depression of the 1940s.
On April 29, 1948, he married the love of his life… Irene Gross, at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Beresford. From this blessed union, 12 children were born… they were his true pride and joy.
Eugene and Irene owned and operated "Kilbride's Antiques" and farmed at Wakonda for many years, until they decided to sell their farm, retire, and purchase their new home in Vermillion. They also purchased and managed several rental houses. Being the hard-working farmers that they had always been though, they soon grew "bored" with their early retirement, and decided to purchase an acreage one-half mile east of Vermillion. With great contentment, they spent every summer planting their huge tomato garden… 200 tomato plants! When their tomato crop was ripe, they would harvest them, carefully pack them in tomato crates, and take them to the local Farmer's Markets to sell them.
In the winter seasons for the past many years, they enjoyed traveling down south to the "Aloha Motel" at McAllen, TX.You could always count on them bringing back plenty of Texas grapefruit and Mexican Vanilla for their friends and family.
Other than his loving wife, children, grandchildren, and many friends, Eugene's greatest joys in his life were: Spending time with his best (four-legged) friend, "Rocky," farming his tomato garden, and playing the harmonica (especially when he was accompanied by his son Daniel, and his friends Owen and Nick). He cherished the honor of playing "Silent Night" on the harmonica every Christmas Eve at St. Agnes Catholic Church for the past several years. He also cherished his home-grown tomatoes, and took great pride of the fact that he received local television and newspaper recognition almost every year (Sioux Falls television and the Argus Leader) for being voted by Sioux-landers as having the most DELICIOUS tomatoes at the Sioux Falls Farmer's Markets.
Eugene is survived by his children, Patty (Steve) Anderson, of Mitchell, Joie (Terry) Pickett of Vermillion, Jeanne (John) Geiken of Sioux Falls, Gloria (Reg) Bauske of Flandreau, Daniel Kilbride of Sioux Falls, Judy (Bill) Utley of Yankton, Madonna (Dr. Curtis) Adams of Yankton, Michael (Maria) Kilbride of Patterson, CA, Jackie Kilbride of Sioux Falls, and Kevin (Maria) Kilbride of Jacksonville, FL; 15 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; many, many, friends; and his special friends…Irene Ramos, Alice Kutilek, and his dog…"Rocky".
Eugene was preceded in death by his wife, Irene; his sons, Brian and Patrick; his parents, John and Rose; his brothers, Edward and Francis; his sisters, Teresa Michaelson, Lorraine Hornick, Mae Young, and Dorothy Kuehn; and a great-grandson, Dexter Johnson.
A wake service was held at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Vermillion, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010 at 7:30 p.m., with visitation from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 at St. Agnes Catholic Church. Pallbearers were Eugene's grandsons: Nicholas Severson, Adam Severson, Eddie Pickett, Ryan Anderson, John Geiken, Brian Kilbride, Jay Kilbride, and Eugene Kilbride. Honorary pallbearers were: Burdette Hanson, Chuck Roegiers, Lyle Wagner, Matthew Nix, Owen Dejong, and Nick Schwebach.
Condolences may be sent on-line to www.koberfuneralhome.com.