STERLING – Eugene (Gene) M. Broderick, a longtime member of the Sterling-Rock Falls community, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2019, at the age of 93 at Rock River Hospice and Home in Sterling, IL.
Gene was born on March 23, 1926, in a farmhouse and raised on the Broderick family farm located in the rural Clyde Township town of Malvern, IL. He was the second of four children, born to Frank and Maurice (O’Connor) Broderick. He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in Malvern, IL.
Gene and his brother, P.J., worked together on the Irish family’s farm and performed many farming activities for other area farmers. The two brothers possessed a remarkably strong work ethic and were considered innovative, progressive, and entrepreneurial. With their purchase of the first tractor in Whiteside County equipped with headlights, this enabled them to continue their work hours long after dusk and into the night.
He married Ethel M. Propheter on Feb. 3, 1951. Together, they had four children. In 1955, coinciding with the farming retirement of his father, Gene took employment with the City of Sterling Street Department and was promoted to Street Superintendent after one year at the age of 31. He held that position for 11 years, retiring from the City of Sterling in 1966. Soon after that time, he became co-owner of Whiteside Blacktop Inc. He continued to work with Whiteside Blacktop until his retirement at age 70.
Gene was also elected to the public office as Sterling Township Road Commissioner. He held that elected office for 18 years. Under his leadership, the Lynn Blvd. construction project was started in 1971. It began at the East IL Rt. 2 intersection and extended west to US Route 40, at which point construction was paused in 1979, subject to the purchase of further right-of-way. Lynn Blvd. is named after his daughter, Lynnette.
Decades before the creation of the nationally known “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”, Gene would often take his young son, Michael, to work with him at the Street Department, where the lad would climb, swing, and run among the building’s inner roof rafters. Gene was also a boy scout leader for St. Mary’s Troop 98 in its early inception, being a great inspiration to many young scouts by offering encouragement, advice, and modeling a strong, persistent work ethic.
He was a member of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Rock Falls, IL, the Sterling Moose Family Center, Sterling, IL and supporter of the Broderick-Harrison Family Scholarship at Sauk Valley College, with his daughter, Genelle. He encouraged and supported his youngest daughter, Ginger’s desire to attend St. John’s University in New York City.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Maurice (O’Connor) Broderick and one brother, Patrick James Broderick of Savanna, IL.
Survivors include his two sisters, Charlene Gilbreath of Houston TX, and Dolores (Carl) Nelson of Sterling, IL; his four children, son Michael (Crete Kingery) Broderick of Sterling, IL, daughters, Genelle M. Diab of Crest Hill, IL, Lynnette (Jeff) Easley of Asheville, NC, and Ginger Broderick of New York, NY; his grandsons, Tony Harrison of Valencia, CA, Aaron (Corrine) Easley of Nashville, TN, Matthew Broderick of Dixon, IL; great-granddaughter, Ruby Broderick, Dixon, IL; and many beloved nephews, nieces, and very close friends.
Visitation will held on Friday, July 19, 2019, from 9 to 11 a.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 708 10th Avenue in Rock Falls. Followed by the Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. with the Reverend Richard M. Russo, Celebrant officiating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Sterling, IL, with a luncheon following at the church.
Funeral arrangements were completed by McDonald Funeral Home in Rock Falls, IL.
A memorial has been established for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.