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Woodward "Gene" Nolen, Sr., age 87, of Crestline, passed away Friday morning, Feb. 24, 2017, at Brethren Care Village in Ashland, Ohio. He was born April 9, 1929, in Grahn, to the late James Edward and Beulah V. (Williams) Nolen.

Gene grew up in the hills of eastern Kentucky. He was inspired as a youngster to learn how to play the guitar by his brother, Charles. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on Oct. 26, 1948, and faithfully served his country until being honorably discharged on Dec. 14, 1949. Gene married Pauline Bryant on Jan. 31, 1949, at the tender age of 19, and they were married for 47 years. Gene and his growing family relocated to north central Ohio in the early 1950s in search of work. He was a hard worker and found employment at various companies throughout the years. He retired from Mohawk Industries in 1994. After retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his wife and their favorite pastime was garage saleing. Together, they supported the many activities of their church's senior citizens group. He lovingly cared for Pauline through her battle with cancer until her death on Oct. 10, 1996. He married Verna Hayes on June 18, 1997, and they shared nearly 20 years together.

In the spring of 1997, Gene accepted Christ as his savior and became an active member of The Church of God of Prophecy-Mansfield, later moving to Crestline and joining the Church of God of Prophecy congregation there. Gene enjoyed actively participating in the nursing home music ministry and played guitar for church services. It can be said of Gene that he was a jack of all trades and had a knack for fixing things. He loved tinkering with lawn mowers and working on cars.

He is survived by his wife, Verna Mae Nolen; six children, Woody (Mary) Nolen, Jr., Stella (Mark) Dasher, Cecil (Lynda) Nolen, Regina (Jr.) Powers, Steve (Melody) Nolen, and Cindy (David) Gaubatz; twenty-seven grandchildren; thirty-four great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; two step daughters, Shirley (Michael) Tolliver and Bert (Monte) Leonhart; thirteen step grandchildren; and eighteen step great-grandchildren. Gene is also survived by three siblings, Faye (Carson) Bradshaw, Berta (Ronald) Elkins and Ann "Annie B." (Bobby) Willis; a sister-in-law, Juanita Nolen; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Gene was preceded in death by his first wife, Pauline; daughter, Susie Amburgy; granddaughter, Patricia Burns; and seven siblings, Linden, Elmer, Eldon, and Charles Nolen, Athelene Weaver, Cleo Nolen, and Doug Colley.

The family will receive friends from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at the Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 100 S. Lexington-Springmill Road. The funeral service conducted by Rev. Gary Grant will be held in the funeral home Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in Mansfield Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Crestline Church of God of Prophecy, 115 N. Pierce Street, Crestline, OH 44827.

Words of comfort may be expressed at www.wappner.com
Published on February 27, 2017
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