“Remembering Gene” ProjectBy Charlotte England
A DECADE HAS passed since we heard Gene teach a class, or saw him hop the rocks of a stream to look for German browns, or watched him play an exuberant game of tennis, or danced with him around the kitchen, or joined him in a tenacious game of steal the flag.
Soon after Gene died, stories about him came to me from friends—stories that were so intriguing I wanted to preserve them for the person who would write his biography. A close friend suggested I collect more stories and let Gene’s life unfold through the eyes of his friends and family. I realized that if I didn’t do as he counseled, these stories would be lost.
Following up on this suggestion, I invited a few close friends and family members to contribute to a collection of recollections, memories, or anecdotes of their experiences with Gene. Dozens of stories came in, each one a unique perspective on Gene from that person—individuals who knew Gene in his childhood, at college, in the air force, and throughout his life. I like the stories so much and want to share them with you.
I am so grateful to all those who encouraged me in this project and walked me through new territory that sometimes felt like finding my way through a mine field. Thank you to Dan Wotherspoon for some editing and arranging to make it all work well for the reader, and a deep gratitude to my daughter Rebecca and her husband Jordan for their financial contribution to set up the website, giving a home to all the essays.
And I am forever grateful to those who were willing and eager to share their stories with all of us. This collection couldn’t have happened without each one of you. I hope these stories help you know Gene even better and that you enjoy some of the surprises along the way.
We invite comments and additional stories from any of you would like to contribute one!
Period 1: Childhood and Early College Life
Period 3: St. Olaf College to Early BYU Career
Period 4: Gene in England