LIFTING OUR THINKING
By Ray and Jeanne Jacobson
We feel privileged to write some words regarding our memories of Gene through our friendship with him and his family while living in Northfield, Minnesota, during the 1970s. Our families had children who corresponded in age and enjoyed many social times together at the farm-like location of the England home. Nearby the England place was a brook with small trout that could be seen, also cows grazing in the nearby pastures, and large barns which had been in use not so recently but still gave off aromas of hay and straw, a bucolic atmosphere that we, living in town, could enjoy and especially find as a retreat. Many family picnics are well remembered in this atmosphere, as are baptisms held in the prepared deeper section of the slow-moving stream, where many would remember their unique feeling in stepping into a “first” kind of spiritual relationship. These memories are treasured as a time when our families were innocent, unknowing of their life ahead when they would face their individual choices and challenges. They each surely are and have been affected positively by these gatherings.
We knew Gene as a friend and president of the Minnesota Faribault Branch with an infectious laugh who could lift our thinking and interest into curiosity about spiritual understanding. He was without pretense in his ability to stimulate desire and commitment to those he would meet who needed an extended spiritual experience. We felt his beliefs centered in his devotion to Latter-day Saint doctrine and respect for the prophets and the pioneers, to those in the history of the LDS Church who had proven their devotion and commitment. One of the lasting memories Gene left with us, and one we often appreciate regarding his leadership as our branch president, was his ending our meetings with a substantive “sermonette.” This might include phrasing a philosophical idea to which we could all relate. He was a fine-tuned person of thought reflecting his ability of concentration and commitment to gospel principles important in raising one`s sense of spiritual progression. Gene left with others a lasting impression of himself in multiple ways, a person of complexity exhibiting varied interests and talents with an unrelenting desire to live by and to teach those gospel principles.