Lacy ‘Gene’ Degani, 96


Lacy “Gene” Degani, 96, of Panama, died on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 4:20 a.m. at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

A graveside ceremony will be held Saturday, July 24, beginning at 11 a.m. at Union Cemetery in Panama with Pastor Ray Snider officiating. Military honors will be provided. The service will honor both Mr. Degani and his wife. Perfetti-Assalley Funeral Home in Panama is assisting the family.

Mr. Degani was born May 30, 1925, in Panama, to Batista and Eunice (DeShane) Degani. He married Wilhelmina “Faye” on July 2, 1949, in Hillsboro, and she preceded him in death on March 27, 2019.

He graduated from Panama High School with the class of 1942, and went on to serve his country in the U.S. Army. He was a member of the 101st Airborne during World War II, where he was a paratrooper. 

Upon his honorable discharge, Mr. Degani went to work as a laborer with Local 338 and eventually retired after over 40 years of service. During that time, he and his wife owned and operated “Degani’s” bar in Panama for over 25 years before selling the business.

He loved reading, splitting wood and tending to his large vegetable and herb gardens. He was a charter member, and assisted in building, the V.F.W. Post 6628 in Panama. He was also a member of Moose Lodge #1377 in Hillsboro.

Mr. Degani is survived by his daughters, Carol (Dennis) Knepp of Monterey, CA, Connie (John) Clark of Springfield and Cindy Willman of Panama; grandchildren, Ken (Lynette) Scott of St. Louis, MO, Sarea Blackburn of Littleton, CO, Cassie (Jeff) Langley of Athens, Rachel (Kevin) Clark of Springfield, Jason (Angie) Willman, Nathan Willman and Macy Willman, all of Panama; and seven great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; and sons-in-law, Mike McFarland and Roger Willman.

Memorials may be directed to V.F.W. Post 6628, 329 Main Street, Panama, IL 62077.

Online condolences to the family may be left at