Gerald Fink, 79, of Carbondale, died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, surrounded by his family.
He was born in 1938 in Mill Creek, the son of Doyle and Mildred Fink.
He married Marlene Cotton in 1962. They were blessed with 55 years of marriage, serving as a role model to family and friends for what makes a happy and lasting marriage.
He received his civil engineering degree from the Missouri School of Mining and Metallurgy in Rolla, Mo. Upon receiving his degree, he began work for the U.S. Forest Service, planning public access areas for parks across the country.
Returning to Southern Illinois to build a family, he began working for the highway department in Carbondale as a civil engineer and later for the Southern Illinois University Department of Mechanical Engineering.
His family said he was an exceedingly talented craftsman with a true inventor mindset, applying his expertise to restoring machinery, customizing the family residence and offering assistance to many individuals and organizations in the community seeking repair for the “unfixable.” There was nothing he could not repair, and if he needed a non-existent part, he created one. He always crafted an ideal and expedient solution and was quick to lend a helping hand to others.
He was a member of the American Thresherman Association and restored his own 1924 Keck-Gonnerman steam engine to its original state. In this endeavor, he recreated long-lost artwork essential to the restoration process helping other Keck owners achieve the same goal.
Gerald and Marlene are members of the First Methodist Church of Carbondale.
He is survived by his wife, Marlene Fink of Carbondale; a daughter, Lynn Fink (Kevin Olson) of Chicago; a son, Michael (Leah Lovett-Fink) of Denver, Colo.; grandchildren Bruce Fink and Lorelei Fink of Denver, Colo.; a sister, Marilyn (Ernest) Russell of Jonesboro; nieces Elizabeth Russell-Bowen of Buncombe and Kim Russell-Burger of Scott City, Mo.; other relatives and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Services will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org.
To view the full obituary or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.crainsonline.com.
Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.