Eugene Raymond "Gene" Daise, 86. of Holyoke, died Jan. 30, 2014. His Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, in St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Holyoke. Rosary will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, in St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Burial will be in Holyoke Cemetery.
He was born Sept. 26, 1927, near Kanorado, Kan., to George and Frances Daise. Gene was the second of five children, he lived in a sod house and went to a one-room school. He graduated from Goodland High School in 1945, after lettering in football, basketball, wrestling and track.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1945, doing his basic training in San Diego, Calif. He served as a 3rd class petty officer aboard the USS Iowa in the Pacific Ocean. Separation date was July 1946 in St. Louis, Mo. Colorado A&M (now CSU) was his college of choice, starting in 1946. He graduated with distinction after lettering in wrestling for four years, having participated in the Olympic tryouts in 1948 and becoming the Skyline Conference Champion his senior year.
In 1950, Gene came to Holyoke to teach vocational agriculture.
He was recalled back to the Navy in January 1951 to serve in the Korean conflict. He served on the USS Frybarger, a destroyer escort 705, until his separation date in December 1952. During this time he was pen pals with his former students in Holyoke.
Gene returned to Holyoke in 1953 to teach vocational agriculture. This year he started the Holyoke wrestling program. He had some very good wrestlers. He was very proud of his first place wrestler in 1957 and his state team of third in 1958, consisting of two second and two fourth place finishes. At this time the state had only two wrestling districts. He also started the junior high wrestling program.
In 2012, Gene was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award at the Colorado State Banquet. Very impressive.
Gene received the Colorado Athletic Directors Association Appreciation Award for community service and the Press Box at the Holyoke football field was named for him in 2005 because he kept time for the home football games for about 50 years.
Gene was President of the Colorado Vocational Agricultural Teachers association and also the Colorado Vocational Association.
He retired after thirty years of teaching. He belongs to the retired Ag Teachers Association.
As a veteran, he was a member of the American Legion and the VFW serving both clubs as Commander and other offices. He helped establish the VFW scholarship program and was secretary treasurer of the scholarship committee for many years. He was a lifetime member of the VFW.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union for more than 25 years, many as president.
Gene was an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, serving as a lector, usher, Eucharistic minister, setting up the altar for Mass, and especially enjoyed working with the youth as altar servers and high school youth.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the fourth degree assembly. He held the offices of Faithful Navigator, Grand Knight, Financial Secretary for over 25 years, District Deputy, and State Familly of the Month Chairman.
Gene was employed by the county as a member of the road crew.
He is survived by his wife, Caroline, of 57 years; his children, Daniel, Shirley, Mary, Debra and David; his brothers, Robert and Fr. Richard; and other relatives.
Preceding him in death were his parents, George and Frances Daise; his brother, Ted and his wife, Sue Ellen; and his sister and her husband, Jack and Kathryn Fay.