Eugene (Gene) Thomas Thigpin was born in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma on July 18th, 1932. When he was around four years old, his family moved to Corcoran, California where he lived until he was 18 years old. At 12, he learned to drive a D8 caterpillar and because he was able to drive a perfectly straight line, he was hired to dig ditches making around $1.25 an hour after school. This was to be a very important start to his life-long career of operating heavy equipment and driving truck. He moved to Medford, Oregon in 1951, where he lived until he passed away on August 12, 2021. Once there, he acquired a job with the Jackson County Highway Department. If you have every driven on the backroads from Grants Pass to Ashland, Jacksonville to Eagle Point or along I-5, then you have driven on a road that Gene helped build. During his career, he worked for several constructions/ trucking companies. His last job was with United Grocers, retiring as a Teamster at the age of 62.
He married Shirley Stillwell in 1961, and they were married for almost 50 years. Together they raised five children. As children, we were fortunate to have Gene as our father. He was a kind, caring, fun-loving man who took his role as the man of the house very seriously and always provided what we needed in life. He was a good role model. He and Shirley (Mom) built a life together of camping, travelling motorcycle riding, making life an adventure out of everything they did. In the early 70's they joined the Rogue Valley Riders Motorcycle Association and became President and Treasurer. During that time, they organized poker runs each year to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy and Shirley sewed leathers for all the members. For over 20 years, they owned the exotic bird business "Feather Your Nest" raising and selling Macaws, African Greys, and Cockatoos to name a few; and they belonged to Southern Oregon Breeders Coop.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Thigpin; and granddaughter Cassandra Gubaci. He is survived by their five children, Craig Thigpin, Lynne (Steve) Wiseman, Mariann Gill, Skip (Michele) Stillwell and Suzan (Bill) Combs; 17 grandchildren; and too many great-grandchildren to count.