Gene was dedicated to his faith first. He deeply loved his family and committed to being with them. Gene also had a strong belief in the value of Christian education and relocated his family to Pella in 1980 so they could attend Pella Christian Schools. Gene’s position as Guidance Counselor at the school gave him the opportunity to do what he loved — invest in people. While teaching he had the chance to coach several sports and even started the weight lifting and soccer programs at Pella Christian. Gene believed in the value of dedicating yourself to a task, be it sports, music or other activities. He also started the school-to-work program and really enjoyed going on the job site to visit the students and see them excel.
Just one of the many little things Gene did was write a thank you note to at least one person a week. During Gene’s last few weeks, several friends and past students wrote the family letters about the impact Gene made on their life and how he was always encouraging them to take the next step.
Gene passed away from stomach cancer on April 1st, 1998 after undergoing treatment for 11 months. The morning he passed away the student body came together for chapel and then spent the day in reflection.
Knowing that his condition was terminal, he continued to praise God everyday. He often said that he was in a win-win situation. If God choose to grant him additional years on earth, he would have a short-term win. If not, he had an eternal win that is above all else.