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Harold E. “Gene” Roberts

Harold E. “Gene” Roberts, 74, of Marietta passed away at 5:41 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was born August 10, 1944 in Ottumwa, IA to Ernest and Evelyn (Corbin) Roberts. He married Diana Lynn Coombs on January 12, 1964 in Bushnell, she survives. Also surviving are two children, Kevin (Stacy) Roberts of Avon, Tammy (Scott) Bonney of Canton; four grandchildren, Amanda Roberts, Tyler Bonney, and Adam Bonney all of Canton, Brandon Roberts of Avon; one great-grandchild, Aubriana Ward; one sister, Katherine Silva of Garden Grove, CA; and several nieces and nephews. Gene’s first five years were spent in Missouri, after which his family moved to Illinois, where his father became engaged in farming. He was very musically inclined and learned in grade school how to play the saxophone. He became very adapt at it, as he could play either by reading music or by ear. His favorite kind of music was of course country. One of his favorite artists was Mickey Gilley, and he loved to hear Mickey’s honky tonk rendition of The Old Rugged Cross, as this was his father and grandfathers favorite song. Gene helped his father on the farm while attending school until age 19. He then married Diana, a marriage that lasted 55 years and blessed them with two children. Gene and Diana also began farming, raising crops and livestock, a career that lasted his lifetime. When farming became tough, he decided to go to Missouri Auction School and learn to be an auctioneer. He came home and started what was to become a very successful auction business, selling estates, households, farm machinery, and farm real estate. Later in life Gene and Diana acquired the Wheeler Farm, through a trade with Jim Twomey, and Gene peacefully spent the rest of his life residing there. He would go to Hardees to visit with the guys, pitch horseshoes at home with friends, and fish whenever he could. Another joy in life were his four grandchildren and great-granddaughter. He also enjoyed water-skiing, snow skiing, snowmobiling, raising a few horses, horseback riding, and most of all hunting and picking mushrooms. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Martin-Hollis Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at the funeral home. Pastor Brett Fisher will officiate. Interment will be in Bushnell Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the Bushnell-Prairie City FFA. Please sign the guestbook and leave condolences at

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