The colorful and savvy Eugene Downes began E&M Plumbing Company with his wife Marie in 1947. But, before that, Gene, along with his two brothers grew up in Indiana. Gene never completed high school and came to St. Louis via the way of Chicago. While in Chicago he worked in a hardware store. He came to St. Louis to be with his Aunt Emmie.
Some of Gene’s first jobs in St. Louis were to haul ice & coal. He also worked in the quarries for N.O. Sled. N.O. Sled also owned a plumbing company of which Gene went to work for and learned the trade. Since he knew plumbing, one of Gene’s illustrious jobs was to work on the Alaskan Highway. He was a boss for the plumbers and the fitters while in Alaska. The money was good but the social life was lacking. It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like up there during this period, but Gene lived it!
When he came home, Gene decided to start his own company and thus, E&M Plumbing Company came to be! [If you haven’t guessed it yet, the ‘E’ is for Eugene and the ‘M’ is for Marie – Our Founders!]