Gene F. Oberst, 77, a longtime resident of Rockton IL passed away Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 surrounded by his family. He was born Feb. 4, 1933 in Evansville Indiana, the son of Julian and Esther Oberst. Gene was married 52 years to his lovely wife Joyce Oberst and loved his family, performing, teaching music, traveling, and service. Gene was a teacher and performer of music and the arts. Gene received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago IL. In the classroom, he shared his passion and enthusiasm for music with his students. Gene taught for 31 years at Hononegah High School in Rockton IL as Director of Bands. He lead a variety of musical programs including Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Marching Bands, Pep Bands, Flag Corp, Choirs, and Musicals. Prior to his tenure at Hononegah HS, he was the Band Director within Donovan School District in Donovan IL. As a performing musician, Gene performed with the Rockford Symphony and the Beloit Symphony. He performed with many local dance bands, “gigs”, circuses, and ice shows at the Metro Center in Rockford and other venues. He also had the opportunity to perform with famous entertainers including Bob Hope, The Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips to name a few. After retiring from teaching, Gene played in the Johnnie Kaye Orchestra for 18 years performing in the Midwest, South and on cruises. He was a master at all woodwind instruments and especially enjoyed playing the tenor sax. During retirement, Gene also enjoyed traveling with his wife and friends including frequent cruises to the Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska. Gene was active in community and professional services organizations. Gene served as a trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Rockton Fire Department from 1990 to 1998. He served several terms as the Hononegah Education Association president. As a member of the Illinois Education Association, he served a term on the state legislative committee. As a member of the National Education Association, he attended three National Conventions. Gene served a term as District Chairman and member of the State Board of the Illinois Music Educators. He served several terms as Vice President of the Rockford Musical Association. Gene was a veteran having served in the United States Army at Fort Knox Ky. and Frankfurt Germany with the Third Army Division Band. \r\r\n\r\r\n He is survived by his wife Joyce Oberst; sister Shirley (Don) Portolese; sister-in-law Eleanor (Larry) Higdon; brother-in-law Joe Critchfield; sons Kevin, Jeffrey (Paula), David (Deborah), Stephen (Melissa), Michael (Tonjia); grandchildren Ashley, Danielle, Justin, Cory, Christopher, Kyle, Megan, Emily, Thomas, Evan, Jonathan, Brianna, Hannah, Haley; and many dear cousins, nieces and nephews. \r\r\n\r\r\n Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, September 13, 2010 in St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church 822 E Grand Ave, Beloit, Wisconsin with Father John Hedrick officiating. Burial will be in Rockton Township Cemetery, 600 West St. Rockton, Illinois. Visitation will be held at McCorkle Funeral Home, 767 N Blackhawk Blvd, Rockton, Illinois from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., Sunday, September 12 with a Scripture Service to be held at 3:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. until time of service Monday at the church. In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established in Gene F. Oberst’s name at a later date.