Eugene Joseph Fix, a devoted family man, passed away peacefully at his home in Onaka, SD, on Thursday, February 16th, 2023, at the age of 74. Gene was born on August 16th, 1948, to Frank and Rita Fix (Waldman) in Aberdeen, SD, and was the oldest of six children. He grew up on the family farm and learned the value of hard work and self-sufficiency from a young age.
As a boy, Gene was already doing the work of men, consisting of milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, planting crops, harvesting, and haying. He never minded the constant work. Gene attended Onaka Elementary and Cresbard High School where he was the homecoming king and excelled in football and baseball. He hurled a no-hit shutout for the Cresbard legion team as they defeated Northville.
After graduating from Cresbard High School, Gene enlisted in the military and served in South Korea and Vietnam as part of the First Cavalry in the helicopter unit as an assault battalion. While in Vietnam, Gene's helicopter crew was shot down behind enemy lines. Gene and another member of the crew managed to survive for three days in hostile territory, relying on their courage and determination to make their way back to safety and to their loved ones. Despite the difficult circumstances, Gene showed remarkable strength and resilience, a testament to his character and his deep commitment to his fellow soldiers and his country.
After the war, Gene returned to Onaka, where he married the love of his life, Jill Hettick, on February 13th, 1971. They were blessed with two daughters, Molly and Megan, whom he loved dearly. Gene settled into his career as a coast-to-coast truck driver, making a living for his family. Jill was his trusted dispatcher, and together they made a great team. Gene was known for his strong work ethic and was respected by his peers and admired for his unwavering dedication.
Throughout his years on the road, Gene traveled to every state with the exception of Hawaii. He saw a lot of countryside, but his favorite place always remained his home in Onaka, SD.
Gene was a devoted family man who cherished spending time with his children, grandchildren nephews and nieces. Drawn to his mischievous smile and infectious personality, the kids were always eager to join in on whatever wild activity he had planned. Whether it was a family softball game, hunting from the back of the old bomb, or tubing around Loyalton Lake, Gene knew how to make every moment with his loved ones memorable and exciting. His family will always remember his fun loving nicknames and the joy he brought into their lives.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Jill; his parents, Frank and Rita; his brother, Allen; his nephews, Christopher and Kevin Fix and Jon Perry; his mother and father-in-law, Melvin and Marj Hettick, his sister-in-law Jackie Perry and many other loved ones. He is survived by his children, Molly (Scott) Perry and Megan Hardie, his grandchildren, Madison and Maggie Perry, Riggs and Crew Hardie; his siblings, Earl, Marlene, Shirley, and Jeff, and many nieces and nephews.
Gene's legacy is hard work, self-sufficiency, family, loyalty, and honesty. He was a simple man who knew what was important. Gene will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of those he touched throughout his life. A military service will be held in his honor at the Onaka Cemetery later this spring.
His wishes were to be cremated and burial will be at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, Onaka, SD, with Military Honors at a later date.
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