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Eugene E. “Gene” Pritchard

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Eugene “Gene” Earle Pritchard, lifelong resident of the Park Rapids area, entered into glory on December 13, 2021 at the age of 77 years and three months. Gene had lived at Heritage Living Center for the past three years and Park Villa Apartments for 12 years before that. Prior to his time in Park Rapids, Gene lived at the family home near Osage after purchasing it from his mother.

Gene was born in Bemidji Minnesota on September 14, 1944. His early years were not unlike other young boys at that time, helping his parents with the younger siblings, working on the farm, attending school, and driving tractors. Gene really loved driving tractors. He attended the one-room District 88 Colgrove school near Osage and the high school in Park Rapids, graduating in 1962.

He worked on farms in the area including his great uncle Benny Pritchard‘s farm, Sam Jacobson‘s farm, and Bob McCarren’s farm. He also worked for the former Ralph’s Grocery in Park Rapids for a short time as resident smiley guy and grocery bagger. He graduated from Detroit Lakes technical school in 1969 with a diploma in Small Engine Repair and Maintenance. After tech school he held jobs in construction with Clyde Johnson Company, Noeske Lumber in Osage, and RD Offutt Company in Park Rapids as a factory worker.

He suffered from back injuries and had ongoing treatments for many years. Two weeks after his retirement from the working world in 2006, Gene fell and partially severed his spinal cord resulting in partial paralysis and limited mobility. He worked hard to regain his ability to walk but suffered many resulting health complications. He fought cancer for the past three years.

Gene was an accomplished singer and enjoyed singing lead with the Headwaters Barbershop Chorus for 14 years until it folded. He served as treasurer of the Osage Baptist Church and loved singing in the choir and also an occasional solo. He also led the congregation in singing and welcomed them to service with the ringing of the church bell. Gene took great enjoyment in family sing-along‘s with gospel, country and polka as his personal favorites. He gave his life to the Lord as a young man and reaffirmed his faith before his death. Gene was an avid puzzle enthusiast. From word searches to jigsaw puzzles, Gene was always in, but his real love was music (and tractors)! He often said, “Music makes you feel good!”

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Lois in 2009 and Harold in 1993. He is survived by his five younger siblings, Dorothy (Keith) Crook of Park Rapids; Charles (Gloria) of Centerton, AR; David (Janet) of Dassel, MN; Edward (Sandra) of Hutchinson, MN; and Ruthie (Winston) Charles of Lakeville, MN. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephew: Julie (Adam) Bennett, Kristen Pritchard, Katherine Pritchard, Douglas Pritchard, Megan Charles Davis, Jordan Charles, and Graham, Elsie, and Claire Bennett.

His infectious smile, his stories, and his joy for life will be greatly missed by his family and friends. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.