Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Gene Torrey

December 7, 1930 - June 14, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI



Thursday, June 27, 2024
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food, Drinks and Stories will be shared.

Driving Directions

Graveside Service

Friday, June 28, 2024
10:00 AM EDT
Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park
3941 S Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Generous, and kind, Gene Torrey lived a life rich in family and friends. Gene always had a story or joke to tell and enjoyed a good laugh. He was a nice guy who never hesitated to help others; he’d give all he could to lighten the load anyone was carrying. Always happy, Gene led by example, never shying from a challenge, and choosing kindness at every turn. A man who understood the importance of balance, he worked hard and played hard. Whether dancing with his beloved, cheering on his loved ones, or tackling a challenge, Gene embraced each moment as a gift to be treasured. A wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, Gene will long be remembered and ever so missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression,1930 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than on the family farm of George and Gladys (Allison) Torrey as they welcomed their son Norman Eugene on December 7 in Climax, Michigan.

Gene and his ten siblings grew up on the family farm in Climax. Though the family struggled financially during the Depression, Gladys grew a large garden and did a lot of canning to ensure the family would have fruits and vegetables year-round. In addition to helping care for the garden, Gene had plenty of other chores around the farm. Working honed Gene’s excellent work ethic, which served as a sturdy foundation for the rest of his life.

As a teen, Gene had the good fortune of meeting Lucile Clark while visiting her aunt and uncle’s house. The pair had a lot in common, especially having both grown up on farms with large families. They began dating, and planning for a future together as their love grew. On a crisp autumn day, October 6, 1951, the happy couple married, officially beginning their 61-year adventure.

The newlyweds made their first home in Richland, Michigan, before moving to Mattawan in the 60’s where they were blessed with two children, Kathy and Garry. Gene was an attentive father who encouraged his children to work hard and do their best.

Gene and Lucile enjoyed camping. It meant getting away from the worries of everyday life and being able to enjoy family. Their kids fondly remember their campground adventures throughout the state. Though they started out tent camping, they moved up in comfort over the years, eventually purchasing a thirty-foot motorhome in retirement.

For forty years, Gene worked at a local paper mill until he retired in 1994. Despite the hard work required by his job, he never complained and appreciated that the job proved a means to provide for his family. In his leisure time, he loved to fish. He always carried a fishing pole in his vehicle so he could spontaneously pull off the road at a lake and be able to cast a line. Gene enjoyed country music; Johnny Cash and Hank Williams were favorites, and Classic TV shows like Hee Haw, Dukes of Hazzard, and The Newlywed Game. Content with the simple things in life, Gene felt lucky to have Lucile prepare meals for him as she was an excellent cook. He was especially fond of her fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Family was important to Gene, and with many brothers and sisters, family reunions were special times. Gene enjoyed supporting his kids and later grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their school and sporting endeavors. He especially loved going to ball games. His son Garry played softball for 50 years, and Gene regularly attended his games. A particular bonding time Gene enjoyed was when he was asked to play when the team was short of players. It was wonderful for Garry to play a game along side his father. In turn, Garry would eventually have the opportunity to play on the same team as his sons.

While life feels a bit less certain in the absence of Gene’s steadfast companionship, we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying Gene’s legacy forward. Whenever we choose love and laughter, generously help others, cheer on our loved ones’ endeavors, dance with our beloved, cast our lines in local waters, and attend family reunions, we celebrate the countless ways Gene made life better for those he so dearly loved. In this way, we keep his memory alive and inspire others as he so inspired us.

Eugene Torrey, age 93, of Kalamazoo, died on Friday, June 14, 2024. Members of his family include his children, Kathy Sampley and Garry (Vicky) Torrey; his grandchildren, Darcey, John Jr., Mike, and Dan; his great-grandchildren, Zachory, Joshua, Astin, and Amara; great-great-grandchildren: Zach Jr., Alaya-Lynn, Zoey, and Wyatt.

He was preceded in death by his wife Lucile in 2012 and his 10 siblings.

Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Thursday, June 27, from 6-8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Graveside services will be held at 10 AM on Friday, June 28, at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park. Celebrate Eugene’s life online by sharing your favorite stories and photos on his dedicated webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com.