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Gene Epley

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As one of his favorite hymns states, "I'll fly away", H. Gene Epley left his earthly body surrounded by his loving family to be with his Heavenly Father on September 1, 2018. He was born January 14, 1932, the oldest of four. Growing up in Valdese, he began working at an early age and demonstrated a strong work ethic throughout his life.
Gene loved sports, playing basketball and baseball at Valdese High School. After high school, he served in the Army as a Private in Korea. On his return from overseas, he married Juanita Cline in 1956. Shortly thereafter, he began a thirty-year career with General Electric in Hickory.
Gene was a member of Valdese First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and as a member of various other committees. His strong commitment and faithfulness were evident in his service to his church, family, neighbors, and friends. The workshop he enjoyed in his home was a means to create and repair many projects that benefited others. His love of the outdoors was apparent through his enjoyment of camping, hiking, gardening, and golfing.
Gene is preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Ruth Epley, his sisters Anne Sawyer, Blenda Autry, and his brother Jim Epley.
He is survived by Juanita Epley, his wife of sixty-two years; son, Derek Epley (Mary Margaret); daughter, Robbin Ervin (David); grandchildren, Kathryn, Clark (Megan), Lucas, Ruth Anne, and Leah Ervin; Kirksey Lowther (Michael); and great-grandchildren, Judah and Peter Lowther. He is also survived by nephews and nieces, Rich Sawyer (Donna), Elizabeth Sawyer, David Epley (Shelley), and Amy Crump (Todd).
A private family service will be held Saturday, September 15, 2018. Friends are invited to visit with the family from 3:00-4:30 PM in the Valdese First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
Military Honors will be provided by the Army National Guard and the Caldwell County Honor Guard.
Memorial contributions may be made to Valdese First Baptist Church, 500 Faet St. NW, Valdese, NC 28690, or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, 1729 Enon Rd. Valdese, NC 28690.
An online guestbook and obituary is available at
Heritage Funeral Service & Crematory of Valdese is serving the family.