Eugene Earl Walrath, 93, passed away in Florida on Oct. 3, 2018. He was born on Apr. 28, 1925, in Racine to Earl and Annette Walrath. He attended Elementary Schools in Racine and Union Grove and graduated from Union Grove High School. He joined the United States Navy in 1943 and served as an engineer on the USS NAOS, an SK105 troop ship stationed in the South Pacific for 2 ½ years. Upon his honorable discharged on Apr. 2, 1946, he returned to Union Grove to his high school sweetheart, Elva Pearl Cooper. They were married on Sept. 6, 1947, at the Yorkville Methodist Church. Together Eugene and Elva owned and operated Esther’s Gift Shop in Burlington from 1952 through 1954.

In Jan. 1954, Eugene became a partner in C & D Foods, Inc. of Yorkville. During the next 21 years, he built the company into one of the largest duck growing and processing operations in the United States, serving groceries and restaurants from the Midwest to the West Coast. During this time while raising his family with Elva, Eugene was an avid boater on the Great Lakes and was a small craft aviator. A sale of the company in 1975 allowed them to retire and travel across the United States ultimately making their residence in Ocala, Fla. Still young in age and spirit, Eugene became affiliated with the non-profit organization I-TEC, a missionary research and development company, where he was instrumental in designing and building various mission field devices serving the medical, dental and ocular needs of indigenous populations. He holds a United States Patent on a solar powered portable dental operatory and created useful mechanisms for small aircraft owners.

Eugene is survived by his beloved wife of 71 years, Elva; sons, Gregory (Marjorie) Walrath and Hugh (Kathleen) Walrath: grandsons, Christian and Matthew; sisters-in-law, Carol Schoenherr, and Jeanne Walrath; along with many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his loving parents, Earl and Annette Walrath; beloved sister Mona Griffiths and brother Noel Walrath. Tragically Eugene and Elva lost their only daughter, Jan in 1990 at the age of 36.

Funeral services were held on Oct. 11, 2018 at the Hiers Baxley Funeral Home in Ocala, Fla. Burial will take place on Oct. 19, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. at the West Lawn Memorial Park in Racine.