Eugene Verdu

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Eugene “Uncle Gene” Verdu, age 81, of Belleville, IL, born on August 6, 1940, passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at home, with his beloved family at his side.

Gene lived a purposeful life, in constant and faithful activity in service to God and others, especially children and elderly. As a young adult, Gene worked as a Catholic missionary for the Jesuit Papal Volunteers as a teacher. He also began Sacred Heart School, which today has grown to Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio, Belize.

During his years in Belize, he forged lifelong relationships that bonded his U.S. and Belizean families who will continue the legacy of service that he founded. Uncle Gene honored both of his citizenships in the country of Belize and the U.S. by working tirelessly to improve lives in both of his countries.

Returning home, he began his efforts to help the children he encountered in Belize who suffered with severe orthopedic disabilities.  Gene’s tenacity brought together his family volunteers, local business professionals, health care providers at Shriners Hospital, St. Louis, and members of Rotary District 6510. And as the saying goes, “The rest is history.” Since its founding over 47 years ago, The Belize Children’s Project has helped over 400 children in the past, and continues its mission to provide care to the children of Belize.

Gene worked as a social worker and later as an educator of senior citizens at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC).  A skillful grant writer, Gene played a pivotal role in securing federal funds to establish Programs and Services for Older Persons in Belleville, IL.

Gene was a longtime SWIC Board member, the former head of the St. Clair County Office on Aging, and chairman of the St. Clair County Housing Authority since 1989. He was the proud recipient of many awards, notably as the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee for Community Services of the Illinois Department of Aging. He served as diplomatic Consulate of Belize for the Greater St. Louis area.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Nellie, nee Roland, Verdu; his brothers, Frank Verdu and Joseph Verdu; and his sisters, Elena Cory, Anna Anderson, and Lola Luther.

Gene is survived by his sister, Honsey (Richard) Schneider; and his sister-in law, Rose Marie (Frank) Verdu. He is also survived by 25 nieces and nephews and their families and a host of friends, many of whom continue his work in helping the world’s most vulnerable people.

To honor Uncle Gene and continue his legacy, his family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to the foundation established in 2018 in his name, Uncle Gene Foundation. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, 2022, and from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 noon Central Standard Time, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Church, Belleville, IL, with Fr. Jim Fee, OMI, and Fr. Gene Neff concelebrating. The service will be live streamed at

A private cremation interment will take place at a later date.

“In everything I have shown you that, by working hard we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ACTS 20:35.


20 Comments on Eugene Verdu

The St Cyr Family said : Guest Report Mar 25, 2022 at 8:39 AM

We just learned about Gene’s passing. Our sincere condolences to his family. Gene lived a full life and was loved and respected by those who had the pleasure to meet him. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Oakville
  • Canada
Mark D. Becker said : Guest Report Mar 19, 2022 at 3:32 PM

Gene was indeed a great man and a man of God. A great boss and a true friend not just to me, but to all he knew. My sincerest sympathies to all his family and other friends.

  • Trenton
  • IL
Gerry Hasenstab said : Guest Report Mar 19, 2022 at 10:44 AM

I met Gene over 40 years ago when he, Joe Hubbard, Sr. Mary Simpson ASC and Wilma Funkhouser were meeting to start the Meals on Wheels program that still operates today. I admired Gene because if he saw a need that he could help to alleviate he jumped into it. He Was a man on a mission to the end. Hid bless him and grant peace and consolation to his family and friends.

  • Fairmont city
  • IL
John and Gloria Waight said : Guest Report Mar 19, 2022 at 9:40 AM

Our condolences to Gene’s family. He was a generous and compassionate man and will be long remembered for the help he afforded our Belizean children with orthopedic disabilities. He was a true friend. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Belize
  • Belize
Monica Holt said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 9:25 PM

I always remember Uncle Gene as a kind and caring soul. He was always fun to be around, since I was itty bitty, right up until the last time I saw him in July. He had smiling eyes that I loved. He brought me my dad. If it wasn't for Uncle Gene, I wouldn't be here. He was a wonderful, special man.

  • Silver Lake
  • WI
Marilyn Bush said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 5:36 PM

Always the thoughtful gentleman. Rest in peace Mr. Verdu.

  • Swansea
  • Il
Susan said : Guest Report Mar 18, 2022 at 8:29 AM

There are certain great people who you think will live forever, mostly because the world needs good people like them or perhaps you just wish they could. Gene Verdu was one of those people. He spent his entire life dedicated to the well-being of others, particularly children and seniors. Gene was a great thinker and visionary. He was constantly thinking about how to implement programs that would benefit seniors.The words relentless and lack of complacency come to mind when describing him. When he recognized a need, he was relentless at working on it until there was a program in place to address it. Once it was addressed, he continued to strive to make it better. There is no better tribute to one’s life journey than knowing they made the lives of others better. There are many, many children and seniors whose lives were changed for the better because of Gene. He also mentored and inspired many to also do good work. While the St. Clair County Office on Aging staff mourn our loss and send our condolences to his family, we will honor Gene by continuing the legacy he started and serve seniors in a manner that would make him proud.

  • Belleville
  • Il
Richard Mark said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2022 at 1:50 PM

My deepest sympathy to Gene's family. I was fortunate enough to have been a friend of Gene's for over 40 years. He dedicated his life to the service of others and was such an inspiration to us all. He will be missed.

  • Collinsville
  • Illinois
Anne Mongiovi said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2022 at 11:37 AM

Sincere condolences to all who knew and loved Gene. His legacy will keep his memory alive for years to come.

  • TROY
  • IL
Monica said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 10:33 PM

It was a pleasure to know and learn from Mr. Verdu. A great man, friend & mentor. He gave unconditionally to the world and community. Mr. Verdu will be missed. Rest in Peace.

  • Belleville
  • Il
Jude Nelson said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 5:03 PM

Well done, good and faithful servant

  • Collinsville
  • Il
Dolores Turner said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 3:05 PM

I will miss you old friend, but remember me to Gary, Your many years of friendship meant a lot to me. God Bless and keep you always.

  • Troy
  • Il.
Shay Brown said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 2:17 PM

An amazing man with an amazing soul! You will be missed Uncle Gene❤️❤️

  • Belleville
  • IL
Bro. Tom Ruhmann,OMI said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 11:10 AM

Very grateful for the time Gene served on the Victorious Missionaries Advisory Committee at the Shrine of our Lady of the Snows. His life was a wonderful gift to the world.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Debby Hannigan said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 11:03 AM

Gene will be missed by so, so many, but the many good memories will keep him alive in our hearts.

  • Simpsonville
  • SC
Pete and Teri Cronovich said : Guest Report Mar 16, 2022 at 9:36 AM

Gene will be missed! Sending our love and prayers to the family.

  • Collinsville
  • IL
Janine said : Guest Report Mar 15, 2022 at 7:11 PM

Have never know a kinder more helpful man. He will be missed by all who knew him

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Liz Sanchez-Setser said : Guest Report Mar 15, 2022 at 7:02 PM

Remembering Gene & his mother at the Holy Rosary Mexican Dances which his mom loved the music & especially watching Gene & I dancing the Mexican polkas. I also worked at PSOP across from old St Elizabeth Hospital. When Gene spoke, everyone listened. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Collinsville
  • IL
Jean Thompson said : Guest Report Mar 15, 2022 at 5:18 PM

It was my pleasure to know and co-work with this remarkable gentleman in PSOP at SWIC. His life consisted of helping others. RIP Uncle Gene.

  • Granite City
  • Il
Cindy aye said : Guest Report Mar 15, 2022 at 4:51 PM

Gene will live on in the hearts and memories of everyone he met. He is a good man and a good friend and will be missed.

  • Belleville
  • Il

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