HICKORY On Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, Gene Cline Staton received the call he had been waiting for - that he would now be the starting pitcher in Heaven. Not only that, he would be reunited with his two favorite people: his Savior, Jesus, and his beloved wife, Miriam. Born March 17, 1934, in Ansonville, to the late Harmon and Addie (Cauble) Staton, he spent most of his life in Concord, before moving with his wife four years ago to Hickory, to be closer to his daughter. Gene "Chee Chee" became known as a strikeout pitcher playing in the American Legion in 1949 and 1950, for both the Kannapolis and Concord baseball teams. A right-handed pitcher who threw the ball with a considerable amount of speed, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1951. He spent a couple years in the minor leagues, before injuries forced him to give up on his dream. He retired after 30 years of service from Carolina Freight Carriers. If you spent any time with Gene at all, you would quickly know his love for the Lord and his heart to bring others to know his Savior. His next love was his wife, Miriam, whom he married in 1962, and stayed right by her side for 55 years, until her death in 2017. A true servant, he would do anything for his family. Throughout his life, he also enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing and watching various sports, charitable work, church activities, and eating a good meal. In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Lonnie Brooks Staton, Benton Staton, Glenn Staton, and Allen Staton; and one sister, Alice (Staton) Ballard. He is survived by a daughter, Angie Staton Triplett, and husband, Tommy; two sons, Byron Staton, and wife, Tracey, and Rob Staton, and wife, Alanna; four grandchildren, Bryce Staton, Grant Staton, Logan Staton, and Abby Staton; a sister, Evelyn (Staton) Pare; as well as many other numerous family and friends. A celebration of his life will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in the chapel at Bass-Smith Funeral Home with Paul Foster officiating. The family will receive friends until 12 p.m., after the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be sent to the charity of the donor's choice. Condolences can be made online at www.bass-smithfuneralhome.com. Bass-Smith Funeral Home is serving the family of Gene Cline Staton.