MAIDEN Eugene "Gene" Phillip Pepe, 72, of Maiden, passed away peacefully Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, at Valley Nursing Home in Taylorsville. Born March 10, 1947, in Essex County, N.J., he was the son of the late Eugene Angelo Pepe and Elvira Rita Dianni Pepe. Gene was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served during the Vietnam War. He retired as an auto mechanic and enjoyed working on old cars and building and riding his dune buggy. Gene was the former owner and operator of Newton Automotive in Newton, Horsefeathers Convenience Store in Denver, N.C., and had worked as a crew leader for Engineer Handling Inc. in Hickory. Survivors include his son, Ryan Pepe and wife, Jessie, of Granite Falls; daughter, Tammy Churchman; grandchildren, Monica Pepe, Brandon Evans, Christopher Hansley; and brothers, Thomas Pepe of Miami, Fla., Anthony Pepe of Brownsmills, N.J., and Phillip Pepe of Santa Barbara, Calif. A receiving for family and friends will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 2, at Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton. Following the receiving, military honors will be presented by Catawba Valley Marine Corps League, Det 1163. Condolences may be sent to the Pepe family at www.willisreynoldsfh.com. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be made to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516. The Pepe family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home and Crematory in Newton.