Our precious, gentle husband, father, friend slipped peacefully away in the early hours of Friday, November 6. He was home surrounded by friend and family, with a smile on his face and at ease.
Gene was preceded in death by his father Orval Geyer and mother Hular Geyer Riess, his sister Fern Mignault and his sister-in-law Peggy Geyer. He is survived by his wife Lynn, his son Damon, his daughter Dorothy, his brother Dean and his mother’s sister Sarah Renfrow.
Gene was born in Seiling and grew up in Enid, both in Oklahoma. Gene learned a solid work ethic at an early age; at 10, he was washing milk cans for the dairy where his father worked. The family moved to Glendale, California, in his teen years. Gene was a graduate of Hoover High School, class of 1956, where he maintained a solid 4.0 GPA. He attended UCLA but had to leave school because his scholarship ended. He went to work for Columbia Wax Company in Glendale as a non-degreed formulator chemist doing research working in the industrial maintenance products; there, Gene developed the first clear liquid floor wax.
It was in Glendale that Gene met and fell in love with his wife Lynn. They were married December 19, 1959. When Columbia was bought by U.S. Borax, they moved to Anaheim, California where Gene worked in the lab for Borax until the company divested itself of that branch of its holdings. He went to Montgomery Ward in Chicago, Illinois, to head the research department then back to Los Angeles to do so at Easterday, then to San Francisco for Kem and finally to McMillan, Washington, to take charge of the Three M Company.
The family, now of four, settled in Lakewood, Washington where Gene eventually became a Cub Scout Pack Leader for Troop 53, a Boy Scout Assistant Leader and Committee Chairman for Troop 51. Gene was a Woodbadge graduate. He was also a member of Girl Scouts and Cookie Chairman for Troop 353 for three years.
Since Lynn and Damon were involved in the local theatre scene, Gene also became modestly active – at first only as an adviser, finally to appearing on stage for FSCC Theatre, The Lakewood Playhouse and The Freighthouse Theatre.
In 1976, when the oil crisis hit and the industrial maintenance industry could no longer obtain raw materials of research, Gene was relived of his duties.
At age 40, he returned to college at Fort Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce) to start working on a Chemical Engineering degree. When he was left needing another five credit class to take, Lynn suggested he take “Computers in Business,” saying that was the wave of the future; he did so. After two weeks of classes, Gene changed his major to Computer Programming. He was hired by Puget Sound Energy in Bellevue, Washington, just prior to graduation as a Computer Programmer and stayed with the company for five years.
In 1984, Gene embarked on a new adventure by accepting a position for the Royal Saudi Navy in the computer department in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, for a one-year contract.
That contract continued for 13 and a half years; Lynn joined him in Saudi for 9 and a half years. After five years Gene was promoted to the civilian head of the Royal Saudi Navy Computer Department in Jubail. They bought a home in Steilacoom, Washington, where they returned for Christmastime to be with the children and friends. During the spring or summer time, Gene took Lynn to see the world. They traveled to The British Isles, most of the European countries including Russia, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Japan.
Each time they returned home, Gene always exalted in the fact that the view of our little town of Steilacoom offered as much beauty as any he’d seen in the world.
After leaving the Saudi Navy, Gene did contract work for a couple of years working at Boeing until he was hired by Group Health. His final job of almost nine years with Farmers New World Life on Mercer Island, Washington, he considered his favorite position of his career.
October 25, 2013, Gene was diagnosed with Stage 4, non-small cell adno-carcinoma lung cancer and was given four to six months to live.
We celebrated his Two-Year Anniversary two short weeks ago.
We are ever grateful to Dr. Frank Senecal and Debra Morris of Northwest Medical Specialties at St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma and Dr. Keith Eaton with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who gave Gene the trial drug which took away one of the cancer genes which attacked him.
These three dedicated friends and their wonderful staff and crew, gave Gene more than one and a half extra years of life.
Gene is at Mountain View Funeral Home & Crematory, 4100 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., Lakewood, WA, 98499. You can get cursory information online at:
Viewing at Mountain View is available Friday, November 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A graveside service will be held Saturday, November 14 at 12:30 p.m., with gathering in the Forrest Room in the main building and caravan to the graveside around 12:15.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, December 19 at The Lakewood Playhouse in Lakewood, Washington 98499. Information will be posted at www.thesubtimes.com at a later date.
Evermore — Gene
Together I walk –
Alone – to end of the lane
Where I wait for you.