Eugene M. Keene, passed away August 9, 2104 at Warm Beach. He leaves behind Eugene J. and Charla, Brian and Pat, Mark and Edythe Keene, JoAnn and Ron Raben, Lorena Young, and a large extended family. He also has a sister Mary Keene and her family who live in Tigard, Oregon.
Gene was born in Seattle June 2, 1913 and grew up in Ranier Beach with his brother Kenny and sister Mary. As a boy he loved baseball, the outdoors, and his paper route. After graduating from Garfield High, in Seattle, he temporarily settled in Castle Rock, before signing on with the Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC). He was assigned to the Mount Baker Wilderness and spent approximately 1-1/2 years with them. He often said during the 1930's it was pretty tough to get a job. At least with the CCC's you had a roof over your head and three square meals.
Later he hired on with Pacific Paperboard Mill and stayed with them until he enlisted in the CB's as a Water Tender. This was the only branch of service he could get into due to being colored blind. He trained in San Diego and was shipped out to Guadalcanal six months after enlisting. He built roads, airstrips, and established power for the Marines at Guadalcanal. Next he was involved in the invasion of Guam. He said the CB's mission was to go in and clear the beaches of fences and wire. They accomplished this with CAT's fully enclosed in metal armor so the snipers could not shoot them. He stayed on at Guam and was in charge of water purification; getting clean water to the marines camped on Guam and to the local inhabitants.
After a two year stay on Guam he was released from the military Nov 20, 1945 and returned to Castle Rock where he resumed work at the Pacific Paperboard Mill. He stayed with them for several years before he transferred to the Weyehauser Pulp Mill, Everett. He stayed with them for 30 years before he retired in 1976 as plant superintendent. The year before he retired he moved to Camano Island where he has lived since. After retiring he volunteered for many years to operate the water system for the Sunrise Water Association.
Gene enjoyed the outdoors whether it was working in his garden, fishing, hunting, or camping. He spent a lot of time fishing the local rivers with his brother Kenny and always loved to sit next to a camp fire telling stories.
He also was an avid bowler. He was active on two local bowling leagues well into his 90's, until he was forced to quit due to poor health.
Arrangements under direction of Gilbertson Funeral Home, Stanwood, WA.