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Egan Gost


1924 - 2012 Obituary Condolences
Egan Gost Obituary
Egan Gost June 12, 1924 - May 25, 2012 Egan Gost went to be with the Lord on Friday, May 25, 2012. He died of natural causes surrounded by family and loved ones.A chapel service will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 1:00pm in the afternoon at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary located at 9101 Kern Canyon Road in east Bakersfield. Egan was born in Michigan, but was raised in the tough streets of Chicago during the days of Prohibition and Capone. He grew up in extreme poverty during The Great Depression. To this day, he maintained school photos of himself as a child wearing a potato sack with holes cut in it as clothes. He did this as a constant reminder of his humble beginnings, and to help others appreciate the things they have in life but otherwise take for granted. Egan's father removed him from public school as a teenager, sending him to trade school instead. By the time he was 13, he was working three jobs as a paperboy, a golf course caddy, and as a grocery store bagboy. He turned over every penny he earned to his parents to help the family survive. Even in his later years, he always lamented the fact that even though it only cost $.05 (5 cents) for a movie and a Mr. Goodbar, he could never afford to do it as a child. When he turned 18 in 1942, World War II was raging in both Europe and in the Pacific. He volunteered for the Army, and ended up fighting in Europe. He was in the "Battle of the Bulge" and "D Day," two of the most famous battles in world history. He was shot and wounded on several different occasions, but he refused to go home, always choosing to stay and fight instead. He was a highly decorated soldier. When the war ended, he was hand-chosen to be part of the Constabulary Forces that set up local governments in what was left of war-ravaged Germany. His first assignment was the Eagles Nest at Berchtesgaden, which was Hitler's Headquarters. He stayed in Hitler's bedroom, rode Hitler's horses, swam in Hitler's swimming pool, etc. He collected a ton of memorabilia and contraband, including a stack of Heinrich Himmler's business cards (Himmler was the leader of the German S.S.), which our family still possesses today. He even tried to ship a gold bust of Hitler back to the U.S., but it was confiscated. His second constabulary assignment was to liberate the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, an experience that haunted him the rest of his life. During his service in the military, Egan was also a member of the U.S. Army boxing team, serving as the team captain for two years. Egan, even to his dying day, was unable to talk about his experiences and the horrors of war without breaking down into tears. He never regained full circulation in his lower legs and feet due to the frostbite he suffered during the war. He was one of the few remaining World War II survivors until his passing. When he returned to Chicago after the war, he boxed in the Golden Gloves and played semi-pro baseball in Chicago and Florida. He was widely regarded as the best catcher in Chicago, with a rifle for an arm. In his late 20's, Egan hitchhiked out to California with $200 to his name. He settled in LA, where he put himself through college at UCLA at night while working in the banking industry. In his mid-30's, Egan found himself in the real estate profession. After working for the same company for several years, he struck out on his own and moved to Bakersfield, CA where he set up his own company: Egan Gost & Associates. He took on projects for Standard Oil (now Chevron), most of which involved obtaining cross-country pipeline acquisition rights. His most infamous project was that he secured pipeline rights around the "Mustang Ranch" in Nevada. Egan also took on eminent domain projects for the State of California; projects which included the I-5 Freeway and Highway 58. In Kern County, Egan was primarily known as an appraiser, developer, and expert witness. He was widely regarded as the best appraiser in town, and he was certified by the courts as an expert witness in that field. He testified as an expert witness more than 150 times in open court. He was largely responsible for the land acquisition and subsequent development of many local landmarks, including the Civic Auditorium. Egan remained a bachelor until he was in his mid-40's. Then, in 1969 he met the love of his life, Suzanne, at a local dance hosted by the Mavericks social club. Suzanne was born and raised in Holland, and had immigrated to America with her family 11 years prior when she was 21. They were married a year later. Since he had been a bachelor for so long, many of his friends thought he was incapable of staying married. In fact, there was a pool started at Bakersfield Country Club among his friends to see how long it would be until he got divorced. No one ever won the pool. Egan and Suzanne remained happily married for 42 years until his passing. Egan was known for routinely saying, "I picked a jewel off the tree of life when I married Suzanne." In 1973, a day before his 49th birthday, his son Egan Jr. was born. Then, 14 months later at age 50, his daughter Ria was born. Egan was a devoted family man. He was a fiercely loyal and loving husband, and a tremendous father. He always put his family first, and everything else was a distant second. His bachelor lifestyle of weekend golf trips, fishing trips, drinks with friends, poker games in the evenings, etc. all stopped once he got married and had children. The family had dinner together every night, and Egan never missed one of his kid's school plays, practices, or sporting events. Even if there were opportunities to go out at night, Egan would always opt to stay home instead to help the kids with their homework, play board games with them, etc. Egan truly loved his children and often said, "Having children is like having your heart walk around outside of your body." Egan retired in his 60's, and once his kids were grown, he returned to pursuing the things he loved - fishing, golfing, tennis, exercising, and traveling with Suzanne. He still played golf and tennis competitively in his 70's. In fact at age 73, he finished 2nd in the U.S. Super Seniors Open golf tournament. He was a single digit handicap in golf until he was almost 80 years old. He remained extremely active into his 80's until health problems intervened. Egan always took good care of himself-he never smoked, rarely drank, always ate healthy, and exercised regularly. It paid off, as Egan always looked 20 years younger than his actual age. He actually lived 12 years longer than anyone ever had in the history of his family. Egan was well-educated and book smart. He read all of the classics in literature, and he loved poetry. He could recite anything from Rudyard Kipling to Edgar Allen Poe on command from memory. He was also extremely intelligent, having been a member of MENSA for many years. His Chicago background also made him extremely street smart. He knew how to spot crooked dice in a craps game, how to spot a cheat in a card game, how to run numbers, and he was uncanny in his ability to navigate around business obstacles by what he called "spreading a little vigorish." Egan was part of what many refer to as "The Greatest Generation." To those that knew him, Egan was "The Greatest Generation" personified. He was a model American. He came from the poorest of beginnings during the Great Depression, and he pulled himself out of the gutter to become a success. He did it alone, without assistance from anyone. He served his country in WWII, and risked his life to fight for the freedoms that so many of us today often take for granted. He was a model husband and father. He was the leader of every organization he was ever a part of, whether it was Captain of the U.S. Army Boxing Team or President of Toastmasters, Bakersfield Country Club, and Kern County Republicans. Egan lived and realized the American dream. He had a very full, productive, and rewarding life that touched many people. He was loved by many, disliked by few, but respected by all. He will be greatly missed, and although he is gone, he will never be forgotten. The Gost family would like to give a special heart-felt thank you to Dr. Hal Baer, Nellie Marquez, Vivian Campos, and Hoffmann Hospice. Dr. Baer was Egan's long-time physician and friend. He always went above and beyond to give Egan the best quality care, no matter what time of day or night. Dr. Baer is an outstanding physician, and he is an even better human being. He is a tribute to his profession. Nellie and Vivian were Egan's home care givers for the past 4 years. They always treated him like a member of their own family and with the utmost care and compassion. Hoffmann Hospice was there at the end, and made Egan's passing as peaceful and comfortable as possible. The family is extremely lucky to have been blessed with such wonderful people during these times. www.bakersfield.com/obits
Published in Bakersfield Californian on May 28, 2012
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