Gene Dekovic died peacefully on November, 4, 2012 at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, CA. He was 90 years old.
Gene was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 9th, 1922. The elder of two sons to Lillian and Charles Dekovic, he graduated from Crane Technical High School and enlisted in the Army
Air Force in early 1942. He graduated from Navigator Training School as an Officer and was deployed to Italy as a navigator. After two dozen successful missions, his B-17 was shot down, and he was taken prisoner. He remained a prisoner of the German army for 10 months until the war ended and he was returned into US custody.
After his honorable discharge, he used his muster-out funds on two of his loves - buying his bride-to-be a wedding ring and buying himself a large stack of jazz records. On Bastille Day, 1945, Gene married Gerry Walker (dec. 2004). After their son, Barry, was born in 1946, they moved to Northbrook, Illinois. Professionally, Gene distinguished himself in the field of communications and graphics in Chicago, developing visual projects for many large companies. In the 1970's, he and Gerry took several long trips in Europe to live and work. Gene's photography portfolio began to grow, as the pair traveled the countryside meeting ordinary Europeans and photographing them at work and with their families. Gene and Gerry's working trips included Italy and Spain, Portugal, Bavaria, the UK, Columbia, and Mexico. Some of Gene's most popular photographs, including "Lisbon Oranges," and the boat-builder series, were taken during this time. His personal writings detail the years of shared food and wine, laughter, connections through and despite language, and the beauty of life abroad.
In 1978, Gene and Gerry settled in the Napa Valley, first in St. Helena and then Calistoga. Gene's mother also moved to the area, and with their son Barry just south in San Francisco, the family grew close, enjoying regular gatherings in the Valley. Gene continued to photograph, write, publish and teach in the Napa Valley. He worked hard on developing his tennis game, playing regularly at the public courts in Calistoga, well into his 80's.
Gene's family includes son Barry and daughter-in-law Flory, his grandchildren Ariel and Pablo; his brother Charles and sister-in-law Elaine (Iowa) and his nephews and nieces: Mark, Chuck, Jay, Lauren, Julie, and Elizabeth. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 3pm - 5:30pm in Napa Valley. Please contact Ariel & Barry Dekovic at gene.dekovic.memorial@gmail.
com to RSVP and for location information. Donations in his honor may be made to the organization of your choice.