BESSEMER, Mich. - Eugene Joseph "Choch" Billie, son of the late Ronald (Aldo) and Sue (Matson) Billie, born in Bessemer on Oct. 1, 1942, went to heaven Feb. 4, 2014.
Eugene graduated from A.D. Johnston High School in 1961, from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in 1967, received his Bachelor of Science in 1969, and worked as a funeral director for 43 years.
Gene was married in 1968 to the former Katherine Koski, of Wakefield, with whom he has one daughter, Sarah, and a son, Joey.
He was an active member of the St. Sebastian Catholic Church, where he served as an usher for more than 30 years. He was also a longtime Knights of Columbus Council 1396 member, where he served as Grand Knight from 1976-77. In addition, Eugene was a member and past president of the Piave Society, a long standing member of the National Rifle Association, as well as Michigan and National Funeral Director Associations, and, perhaps most notably, a member of the Range Old Timers Softball League, where he carried out his 60-plus year baseball career. He also joined the Bessemer Electronic Dart League and the Range Baseball Dart League to keep himself busy in the off season. His other hobbies included making wine, hunting at "the camp" and cooking large quantities of food for gatherings of any kind. All will remember his ready smile, reassuring wink and helping hand.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine, of Bessemer; son, Joey (Beth), of Ironwood; daughter, Sarah (Eric) Dianich, of North Prairie, Wis.; and his beloved grandchildren, Miah and Jace Billie and Julia and Jacob Dianich. He is also survived by his three siblings, Ronald (Marcia) Billie, of Dryden, Robert (Maria) Billie, of Wentzville, Mo., and Sue (Gary) McCormick, of Lansing.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10 a.m. at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer. The Rev. Antony Lukka and the Rev. Louis Bracket will concelebrate the Mass.
Visitation will be at the Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and at St. Sebastian from 9 a.m. Saturday until the time of the service.
A luncheon will follow in the church hall.
Spring burial will be in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer.
Arrangements are by Range Funeral Service and Crematory, Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home of Bessemer.