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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/25/11)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Gene Lamb obituary


Louis Gene Lamb was born on September 10, 1929 in Casey, Illinois, the only son of Fred and Irene Lamb.

He moved to Champaign in 1938 with his two sisters, Louise and Wanda, to reunite with his father and stepmother, Loueva, after the death of his mother in 1935. He attended South Side, Col. Wolfe and Champaign High and after high school graduation, Gene played football at the University of Illinois as well as Illinois Wesleyan before being called by the United States Army during the Korean War where he fought in a combat role throughout the conflict and was awarded two Bronze Campaign Stars.

Gene married Alice Colleen O’Neill on July 2, 1952. They remained together in matrimony for 60 years. Together, they raised four daughters, Sarah Rouse (George), Libby Lucas (Larry), Katie Lamb-Heinz (Bill), Rachel Schrepferman (Chris) and one son, Joe Lamb (Sheila). He also leaves behind 10 grandchildren (Patrick Rouse (Amy), Tyler Rouse (Brittany), Conor and Nora Lucas, Nick, Grace and Michael Lamb, Joey, Jack and Tommy Schrepferman), 3 step-grandchildren (Kim Ferrer, Becky Huston and Liz Heinz) and two great-grand children (George and Tommy Rouse).

His sister, Wanda Gorman also survives. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Louise Jones and his step-mother, Loueva Lamb.

Gene was president of Champaign Asphalt Company and as such; he was a tremendous advocate of the industry as well as diverse and inclusive hiring practices. He was President of the Illinois Asphalt Paving Association and the Associated General Contractors of Illinois.

On a personal level, Gene was among the first parishioners of St. Matthews Catholic Church and served as their trustee for 30 years. Additionally, he was Chairman of the St Matthews Church Building Fund.

Gene served as the Champaign County United Way Chairman in 1979. He served on the Board of Director of the First National Bank in Champaign for 30 years and was a partner in Premium Brands Distributors.

Aside from his family and Champaign Asphalt, his passion was horse racing. He campaigned many great runners, including stakes winners Bubble Bite, Ron Bon and Shooting Starlet. His commitment to the sport and the people involved in it led Governor Edgar to appoint him as Chairman of the Illinois Racing Board where he served for 10 years, bringing the Breeder’s Cup to Illinois.

Gene loved the St. Louis Cardinals and the Fighting Illini and was honored with an Honorary “I” Man Award in 1975. Gene also was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Champaign Country Club for over 50 years where he loved playing gin rummy.

Most paramount in his life was his family. His wife Alice and his five children were far and away the greatest treasures of his magical life.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Matthews Catholic Church, 1307 Lincolnshire Drive, Champaign, on Thursday, October 27 at 10:00 am.

Memorial contributions may be made in the name of Gene Lamb to the St. Vincent de Paul Society (405 West Clark, Champaign, IL 61820) or the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen (P.O. Box 648, Champaign, IL 61824).


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