Eugene Oscar Heath

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Eugene Oscar Heath Eugene Oscar Heath was born on a farm April 7, 1922, in Otis, Colo., to Edward Doral and Amanda (Gainer) Heath. In 1927, Gene began school in Otis, Colo. He and his siblings would pack their lunch and ride horseback to and from school. His family had a hog farm in Otis where they raised Chester White hogs and would show them all over the United States, winning many awards. Gene moved outside Hale Center in 1935 and attended Center Plains School. In 1938, they moved into Hale Center where he attended and graduated from Hale Center High School in 1941. During high school, Gene was a Golden Glove boxer in the featherweight division. He enlisted in the United States Army Corps in 1942, proudly serving in the Pacific from 1944 until 1946, in the Air Transport Command, 27th Bombardment Group, working on the Enola Gay for a short time. He continued to serve his country as an inactive Reserve until 1954. Gene married the love of his life, Jane Charlotte Weddington, on May 8, 1945, in Plainview, Together they raised a family of the sons Jody, Mike and Bob. They were lifetime Methodists and held their membership at the Hale Center First United Methodist Church, where he served as chairman of the Ad Council and trustee of the church for many years. After his military discharge in 1946, he moved his family to Lubbock for several years, where he was a USPS mail deliverer for several years. He was partners in Heath and Fisher Oil Company until the 1960s. He farmed cotton, corn, maize, vegetables and alfalfa and raised cattle for many years. Gene served on the Texas Corn Grower Board, was selected as Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1977, served as president of Mayfield Co-op Gin Board, was a member of the Texas Farm Bureau and was a dealer of DeKalb Seed. In 2003, he was selected Citizen of the Year by the Hale Center Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the first Hale Center Parade grand marshal. Together, Gene and Janey, alongside Sandra DeJarnett, were instrumental in the Hale Center Veterans Memorial Project. They got the land procured and plaques engraved for each veteran. In the midst of the project, after over 58 years of marriage, Janey unexpectedly passed away while on a trip in Colorado in 2002. Gene continued working with Sandra and the memorial was completed and dedicated on July 4, 2003. The Heaths were active in many civic organizations as well, serving as Owl Booster Club president, Hale Center Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club member. He held a dual Masonic membership in the Lemond Masonic Lodge and Yellow House Masonic Lodge and was a more than 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge. Gene was a Shriner, Khiva Shriner, Scottish Rite and 32nd degree Mason and was a York Rite Commandry. After moving to Lubbock in 2008, Gene moved his membership to St. Luke's Methodist Church and was a member of the Methodist Men and the Seeker's Class. Gene loved seeing the world and traveled to Red Square, Moscow, visited Lenin and Stalin's graves, Poland, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Scotland, Ireland and Alaska, traveling on more than 13 cruises. In 2012, Mr. Heath was privileged to be a member of the Freedom Honor Flight, where WWII veterans were flown to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials that now stand in their honor. Gene was also able to be one of the members of this flight that placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is a lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. Mr. Heath was preceded in death by two sisters, Opal Simpson and Francis McDowell, and three brothers, Raymond Heath, Robert Heath and Harold Heath. He is survived by three sons, Jody and his wife Michelle, Mike and wife Teresa and Bob, all of Lubbock; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The family will gather to receive friends at the Dr. Ray Freeman home, 502 W. Stevenson, Hale Center, from 6-8 p.m. today. Military graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 22, 2014, in the Hale Center Cemetery with the Rev. Gene Meacham officiating. Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Lubbock, with the Rev. Andy Hurst and the Rev. John Irwin officiating. Services are under the direction of Abell Funeral Home & Flower Shop of Hale Center. The family suggests memorials be sent to either St. Luke's United Methodist Church Building Fund, 3708 45th St., Lubbock, TX 79413, Scottish Rite Learning Center, 1101 70th St., Lubbock, TX 79412 or to the South Plains Honor Flight, P. O. Box 94787, Lubbock, TX 79493.

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Funeral Home
Abell Funeral Home & Flower Shop - Hale Center
223 S. Main Street
Hale Center, TX 79041
(806) 839-2626
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Published in Plainview Daily Herald from Mar. 21 to Mar. 22, 2014
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