Lester Eugene “Gene” Rubley

Lester Eugene “Gene” Rubley, 90, of Springfield, passed away on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at Concordia Village. He was born July 18, 1930, in Springfield, to Lester J. and Aurelia Piper Rubley and they preceded him in death.

Gene is also preceded in death by one brother, Jack K. Rubley; one sister, Joyce Lambert; one niece, Kay Ellen Rice Bell and his step-father, Clarence Christian.

Survivors include, one niece, Brenda Reid; one nephew, Robert Reynolds; several great nieces and nephews, including Kirsten Collison, Heather, Joshua, Rebecca, and Kevin Reid; cousins, Jan (Rubley) Thies and Don Thannen; and numerous friends who affectionately called him “Uncle Gene.”

Gene graduated from Feitshans High School in 1947 and attended Springfield College. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class. He received the Good Conduct Award. Gene then went to work for Allis Chalmers, which became Fiat Allis, until the business closed. He was the Cashier and Supervisor of invoicing.

Gene was very involved in theater in Springfield and participated in numerous plays and musicals, both as an actor and a volunteer in many capacities. He had many leading and supporting roles. Gene was a longtime trustee for the Springfield Municipal Opera. The Lundgren/Rubley building, which is used for set construction at the MUNI site, was renamed in his honor. Gene was in The Awakening Land with Hal Holbrook and Elizabeth Montgomery. His favorite Role was the King’s Prime Minister in The King and I at MUNI in 1971.

Gene was a longtime member of Grace Lutheran Church where he sang in the church choir for many years. In retirement, he volunteered at the Grace Food Pantry and as a docent at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Gene was formerly the vice-president of Springfield Area Arts Council and Illinois Community Theatre Association; on the board of directors of Springfield Theater Guild, Illinois Theatre Association, Great American People Show, and United Community Services; Artists-in-Residence Panel of the Illinois Arts Council; secretary/treasurer of Lutheran Charities; member of Capitol Township Board of Auditors; chairman of Illinois Community Theatre Festival; and was president of Sangamon County Young Republicans. Gene was a guest lecturer on Community Arts Management at Sangamon State University and received the Mayor’s Award for the Arts in 1990.

In addition to theater, Gene always loved dogs, art and travel. He was known for his collections of nutcrackers and masks.

A private committal service will be held at Camp Butler National Cemetery.

Memorial Service: 11 am, Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at Grace Lutheran Church: 714 E. Capitol, immediately followed by a light luncheon.

Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Lutheran Church Food Pantry, the MUNI: 2255 Springfield, IL 62705 or Hoogland Center for the Arts: 420 S. 6th.

Grace Lutheran Church requires all un-vaccinated persons to please wear face masks.

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