Eugene 'Bingo' Vittone
August 17, 2023
WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Eugene "Bingo" Vittone, 92, of Wakefield, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, at Wings of Hope Hospice in Allegan, Michigan, holding his daughter, Jill's hand. He was greeted in Heaven by his wife, Charlotte, who asked, "Eug, what took you so long?"
Bingo was born on July 19, 1931, to Annie and Anton Vittone in Wakefield. He was raised in Wakefield, and enjoyed riding his horse to Kimball, Wisconsin, in the summers, to help on the family farm. While attending Wakefield High School, Bingo played football and ran hurdles in track. He also drove logging trucks, repossessed cars and helped out with the family businesses, Bingo's Bar, Garage and Motel. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Gogebic Community College, played football, and after his first semester, served his nation by joining the U.S. Navy, and fought in the Korean War. His naval friend, Dutch, was forever grateful when Bingo saved his life. On one of his naval leaves in Wakefield, he proposed to his future wife, Charlotte Kuiawa, who said, "He looked so handsome in his naval uniform."
After completing his tour of duty, he and Charlotte were married on June 11, 1955, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wakefield. They owned and operated Bingo's Bar, Garage and Motel. A sign in the bar read, "You are a stranger here, but once," and that was true for everyone who came to the businesses. Many customers would return year after year to enjoy the hospitality of Bingo's. His kindness to others was rewarded when the community of Wakefield helped him and Charlotte rebuild their business after a devastating fire in 1986 that nearly killed him and his family, and heavily damaged the bar and dance hall.
Bingo and Charlotte had four wonderful daughters, the 4 J's, Julann, Jean, Janet and Jill. He taught them to work hard, and be honest and kind to others. They appreciated these lessons, which helped them in IT, engineering, medicine and human resources.
He spent decades working on the Gogebic County Road Commission, improving his community and giving his honest opinion on what would and would not work. In addition, Bingo served on the Wakefield Township board for decades, mentoring his younger colleagues and using his life experience to help Wakefield Township.
Bingo loved being with his seven grandchildren, Sean, Colin, Michael, John, Mark, Daniel and Anne, teaching them the fine art of cribbage and smear, even though none of them could beat the master! They also enjoyed the thrill of riding in the bucket of a front-end loader, how to pump gas at a young age, designing and creating floats for the Fourth of July parades, shooting squirrels, driving, and tending bar.
Bingo traveled the world while in the Navy, but his favorite place was Wakefield, where his friends could enjoy his company and stories, and at his cottage on Lake Gogebic, where he found peace and serenity. He was a friend to all, and will be missed by family and friends. Bingo has once again found peace, being with his mom, dad and wife.
Bingo is survived by his sisters, Charlotte, Grant, Michigan, and Anna Mae (Pat), Eagle Harbor, Michigan; daughters, Julann, Lansing, Michigan, Jean (Pete), Stephens City, Virginia, Janet, Rochester, Minnesota, and Jill (Eric), Allegan; seven grandchildren, Sean, Colin, Michael, John, Mark, Daniel and Anne; two great-grandchildren, Patrick and Alana; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will greet relatives and friends on Thursday, Aug. 17, from 10 to 11 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 407 Ascherman St., in Wakefield, with the honor guard beginning at 10:15 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow the visitation at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Brian Gerber as celebrant.
Rite of Committal and interment will be at Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield, with a military graveside service under the auspices of the Wakefield American Legion Geroux Post 11 and Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.S. Navy Funeral Honors Team.
Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to lakesidememorialchapel.com.