Eugene “Gene” McElwain, 70, died on May 28, 2021 of complications from prostate cancer while under the care of Cornerstone Hospice House in The Villages, Florida. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Barbara (née Tammero), of The Villages, Florida, his siblings (and their spouses) Mary (and Bob) Cleary, Margaret (and Eddie) Doolan, and James (and Patsy) McElwain, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.
Gene was born in the Bronx, New York on May 22, 1951 to parents Patrick and Ellen McElwain, both of whom predeceased Gene’s passing. He attended and graduated from Manhattan Prep High School and Fordham University’s College of Business Administration, excelling as a left-handed pitcher for both schools’ baseball teams. After graduating from Fordham in 1973, he signed a minor league free agent contract with the New York Yankees and played in their organization for five years, advancing as high as the AAA level, one step below the majors.
During this time, Gene also met his future wife Barbara in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. After they married in 1980, they lived for a few years in Yonkers, NY, though they had already decided they would retire to Florida someday. After Yonkers, they moved to Long Beach, NY, where they lived in several locations for more than 30 years, enjoying the company of many friends and neighbors, as well as the “occasional libation” at their local watering hole, Nolan’s Pub.
After Gene’s pro baseball career ended, he served as an Assistant Baseball Coach at Fordham, before starting what became his life’s vocation by joining Local 751, the Treasurers and Ticket Sellers Union. Over the years, he worked at various ticketing venues, including Madison Square Garden, Bryant Park, Jones Beach, the Javits Center, and the New York State Theater. In 1990, he moved to the TKTS Booth at Duffy Square, where he held the position of First Assistant Treasurer. Starting in 1991, he served on Local 751’s Executive Council, then was elected Secretary-Treasurer/Business Agent in 1999, holding that office until 2008, when he was elected President.
After serving 15 years as a Union officer, Gene retired to a pensioner’s life in 2014, and, in 2016, he and Barbara found the home they had promised themselves in The Villages. In 2019, after splitting time between New York and Florida, they moved to The Villages full time and took to their new lifestyle immediately, enjoying their time taking walks together, visiting the community pool, and enrolling in classes on a variety of fun topics.
Gene enjoyed playing and watching sports of every kind. He was an avid golfer and made sure to play at every opportunity, including with his Men’s Group at Lido Golf Club near Long Beach, his annual trips with his buddies to Ocean City, Maryland, and, of course, the abundant course options in The Villages. In his younger days, he also liked running, whether it was finishing the famed New York City Marathon on multiple occasions, completing several Long Island Half-Marathons, exploring the beach, or making the infamous 5-K Holiday Runs along the Long Beach boardwalk, during which he managed to cajole Barbara and her family to join him and “run” so they got free tee shirts. He also very much cherished traveling with his wife and visiting with family and friends.
Gene was a loving husband, son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend. He bravely fought a long battle with cancer, but he never let a smile leave his face, and he will be forever in our hearts and souls.
A memorial service will be planned for a later date.