October 23 2018

Obituary: Former Burlington Police Sgt. and Beloved Family Man Eugene "Gene" Knowles

By: BNEWS

A man who worked diligently to protect Burlington and its residents has passed away.

Eugene "Gene" R. Knowles, of Burlington with 15 years spent in Gloucester, died surrounded by family on October 20.

Gene was a retired Burlington Police Officer who attained the rank of sergeant and detective. Early in his career he often drove ambulance and later did photography for the department. Although normally the job of higher ranks, Gene prosecuted police cases in the court in Woburn for several years as acting lieutenant.

He was also known as a Mr. Fix-It for his friends and family and was an adept carpenter. He enjoyed riding his large Indian motorcycle until he had to give it up to have more time with his eleven children and beloved wife Jeanne.

Read his full obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home below:

Eugene "Gene" R. Knowles of Burlington with 15 years spent in Gloucester, Oct. 20. Retired Sgt Burlington Police. Beloved husband of Jeanne (Vigneau). Loving father of Richard & his wife Kathy of Reading, Kathy Cesere of Burlington, Denis of Ashland, OR, Kenneth & his wife Cathy of Spencer, William & his wife Karen of Auburn NH, Patty Talas & her husband Peter of Haverhill, Lawrence & his wife Suzanne of Billerica, Laura McCadden & her husband Shawn of Brookline NH, Robert of New Ipswich, NH, John and his wife Natalie of Wakefield, Steven & his wife Doreen of Billerica.  Also survived by 28 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 4-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held Thursday Oct. 25 at the Sullivan Funeral Home at 11 a.m. Services will conclude with an interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Gene’s name may be made to People Helping People, P.O. Box 343, Burlington, MA 01803. For directions obituary & online guestbook see www.sullivanfuneralhome.net

Gene Knowles was a retired Burlington Police Officer who attained the rank of sergeant and detective.  Early in his career he often drove ambulance and later did photography for the department. Although normally the job of higher ranks, Gene prosecuted police cases in the court in Woburn for several years as acting lieutenant.

For the past several years Gene and several other retired officers held their own court Tuesday mornings at a local coffee shop.  As Gene’s health began to deteriorate the group moved their meetings to the dining table in Gene’s home. It was at that table, October 16ththat Gene suddenly collapsed, finally succumbing in the early hours of Oct. 20 with his son Larry at his side and more family nearby.

Gene died across Cedar Street from the home he grew up in on the corner of Francis Wyman Road.  Gene himself bulldozed Cedar Street when he ran heavy equipment. He worked many jobs throughout his life doing all he could together with his wife Jeanne to raise eleven children.

Like his father, Ralph, he became a competent carpenter adding a two-story addition to the colonial farm house on Lexington Street where the family was raised.  He still managed to ride motor cycle until there were too many mouths to manage with a big Indian motorcycle, reputed to be so large he should have been using it to pull trailers because he also drove truck for many years.  Though he could not pull trailers with his Indian bike it seemed he could do just about anything else; sweat copper pipes, install electrical lines, build anything. His neighborhood reputation of being able to fix anything was well earned.

He saw Burlington from the days when more farms than businesses populated the area.  The land was clearer and more open. He could see traffic on Cambridge Street from his home a mile up Francis Wyman Road the trees were so sparse.  He’s the last person I knew who once plowed a field behind a horse, worked for coal company that delivered coal from Boston to Worcester when that was a two-day trip on a horse wagon.  He lived into the computer-age but he never did choose to use one.

Most will remember Gene for being D.A.D. Supply and fix-it man, the guy who always had an answer and a fix for everything.  He could always manufacture a part that couldn’t be found or make anything fit when no one else could fit it. But there’ll never be anyone who can fill in the hole in our lives he leaves behind.


 

 
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