ROCKINGHAM — Grady Eugene “Gene” Kanipe, age 96, passed away peacefully Jan. 9, 2022.
A graveside memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 at Richmond County Memorial Park at 1:30 p.m.
A Richmond County native, he was born Aug. 4, 1925 to the late Garland and Wilma Hudson Kanipe. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Melton Kanipe; brother, Franklin Kanipe; sister Lottie Barbee; and his son-in-law, Tom Chavis.
Gene served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1946 and was a World War II veteran. Most recently he was honored by VFW Post 4203 as the oldest living veteran in Richmond County by serving as grand marshal in the 2021 Veterans Day Parade. He always enjoyed the fellowship at the VFW and shared many stories.
Not only was Gene a proud veteran, he was self-taught business man and enjoyed being an entrepreneur of many things. Laundry mats, gas stations, tile mason, pilot and carpenter are just a few of his self-taught talents. In the early 1970s, Gene left Richmond County to build his own apartments in Largo, Florida. The San Makala Apartments were his love as well as where he loved to have family visit. The grounds were always immaculate with carpet-like grass and each apartment occupied with longterm tenants. During the summer, he loved for his granddaughters to come visit and would treat them to beach trips, minor league baseball games, Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens and any other place he thought they would enjoy.
Gene was an outgoing man. Every visit to family or friends, he dressed his Sunday best and had a camera to capture every moment! He enjoyed going to Lowe’s to get things he needed to make a repair and never missed the opportunity to talk with all even those he did not know! He was loved by many and passionate about his yard.
His family was his love. Christmas was always his favorite time with family. He was happy to be able to spend his last Christmas with all and being able to not worry about having to leave before dark or getting lost. He sat and shared stories and soaked up the laughter of those around. From the births of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the high school and college graduations, he was there and proud of each moment. He proudly answered to Papa.
Gene is survived by his daughter, Blenda Chavis of Winston-Salem; granddaughters, Kayle Barbur (Adam), Brandy Hall (Paul), Courtney Psomadakis (Brandon); and his great-grandchildren, Bayleigh and Kylee Henneman, Grady, Abbey and Wells Hall, Claire Psomadakis; and his sister, Louise Renfroe.
The family is forever grateful for those who loved him and helped keep a watchful eye on him!
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to VFW Post 4203, 106 Old River Road, Rockingham, NC 28379.
Carter Funeral Home is assisting the Kanipe family.
Condolences may be made online at www.carterfuneral.net.