Born: July 12, 1919
Died: August 03, 2014
Harold E. “Gene” Pontious of Babson Park passed away Sunday, August 3, 2014 at the Lake Wales Medical Center.
He was born July 12, 1919 in Akron, IN to the late George Franklin Pontious and his wife, Lona Birdie Riggle Pontious. He graduated from Huntington High School in 1939 and worked for Erie Railroad in Indiana as office manager for communication office telegraph operator. He served as radioman and cryptography man in the U.S. Navy from 1941 until 1945 and went to Radio School in Noroton Heights, CT and Cryptography School in Boston, MA navy yard. Gene was a survivor of a ship torpedoed and sunk in the Caribbean; and while home on survivors leave he married Betty Louise Case in 1943. He then served on the U.S.S. Rankin on the invasion of Okinawa. After four years in the Navy, he went to Huntington College on his GI bill and received his Bachelor of Science in Business degree in 1951. He moved to Miami, FL in 1955 and went into the real estate business, was president of the Kiwanis Club, president of SW Brokers Association, 50% owner of three cemeteries in Dade County and owned two investment firms. He then retired in 1980 and moved to Lake Wales, FL. He served on the Board of Directors at Warner Southern College, Board of Trustees member at Huntington College (now Huntington University) and was still on the board as Trustee Emeritus. He received the Chief Award in Florida presented by presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida; and the Alonzo King award from Outstanding Brokers Association in 1977 and 1978. Gene also received an Honorary Doctors Degree of Humane Letters from Warner Southern College in 1993 and a Doctor of Commercial Science from Huntington College. He served on the National Board of Directors (Visions to Grow) in Anderson, IN Church of God. He gave the commencement address at Huntington College titled “You Are A Somebody” in 1994. Gene purchased a ranch in Polk County and called it Turning Point Ranch for the purpose of helping and curing drug addicts, where he served as president.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Betty L. Pontious in 2008. Survivors include his sister, Patty Hummer of Huntington, IN; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial service will be held 10:00 am Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the South Lake Wales Church of God.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to any charity of choice.