Leslie E. ‘Gene’ Chrestman

Leslie E. ‘Gene’ Chrestman

Leslie E. “Gene” Chrestman, 87, of Cairo, died Saturday, March 20, 2021, at 3:01 p.m. at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

Mr. Chrestman was born on June 2, 1933, in Cairo, a son of Leslie V. and Naomi Wildharber Chrestman.  

He married Carolyn R. McCarty on June 2, 1953. She preceded him in death.

Mr. Chrestman was the owner of the Dairy Queen in Cairo for many years.  He entered the U.S. Air Force in March of 1953 and served until March of 1957, where he was an aircraft maintenance tech.  He attained the rank of sergeant.  

Upon returning, he continue to own and run the Dairy Queen, which was later renamed Gene’s Place.  

After selling Gene’s Place, he worked at the Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area as a park ranger for 22 years before retiring.  

Mr. Chrestman served as Alexander County coroner for eight years, and joined the Cairo Auxiliary Fire Department in 1962. He served on the fire department for 58 years, and was chief for the last eight of those years. He loved fishing, woodworking and mowing.

Mr. Chrestman is survived by his companion, Sharon Williams; daughters Deborah “Debbie” (David) Willis and Linda Kay Fink; granddaughters Leslie Thompson, Samantha Terry and Betty R. Chrestman; grandson Matthew Chrestman; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and other family members.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Leslie V. and Naomi Chrestman; his wife, Carolyn Chrestman; a son, Charles V. “Scooter” Chrestman; a grandson, Christopher Chrestman; a sister, Mary Ellen Applegate; and a brother, Charles F. Chrestman.

Funeral services were at Crain Funeral Home in Cairo on Wednesday, March 24, at noon, with the Rev. Dr. Larry Potts officiating. Interment  was in Rose Hill Cemetery in Thebes.

Memorials can be made to the Cairo Auxiliary Fire Department, c/o Joe Ruiz, and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Crain Funeral Home in Cairo was in charge of arrangements.

To view the obituary or to leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.crainsonline.com.


The Gazette-Democrat

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