Eugene B. Lucas

Obituary
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Eugene B. Lucas Gene was born May 19, 1927 in Crescent City to Lionel and Kathryn (Weir) Lucas, both native Californians. He attended Fortuna Elementary, Eureka Elementary and Fortuna High School, graduating in 1944. In June 1944 he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps and attended radar school in Memphis; then his last year and a half was spent in officer's training at Fort Worth and New Orleans. When he returned to Fortuna, he worked at the old White Grocery and commuted to Humboldt State until graduating with a degree in accounting in 1950. He married the late Ceva Cooper in 1948, and they had three children: Kim, Denise and Dana. Gene's life revolved around his family, the family ranch, his accounting profession, and later, the McLean Foundation. He opened a public accounting office in Fortuna April 1, 1952; when he was certified the next year, he was the youngest CPA in California. The practice was sold in 1995, and it became Anderson, Lucas, Somerville and Borges. Gene was widely respected for his knowledge of the timber and cattle industries throughout California. He is remembered for showing a personal understanding of his clients and considered them his friends. In 2002, he celebrated 50 years as a practicing certified public accountant. In 1973, Gene and Dianne Butler Ellis were married, and Courtland and Mark were added to the Lucas family. Gene and Dianne would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in May. In the late 1950s, Gene hoped to realize his dream of becoming a cowboy, so he spent every spare minute riding with his friend Fred Fearrien--gathering, marking and doing the things Fred said cowboys do. Finally, in 1964, he bought Eaton Roughs Ranch, and from there is was all downhill. Nine days after the sale closed, the '64 Flood hit Humboldt County and washed out Gene's bridge across the Van Duzen. As the bridge was his only access to his livestock, this was a rude awakening to the cattle business. Between his accounting practice and running the ranch, Gene worked seven years without a day off, and after the terrible winter of '70-'71, he gave up ranching, selling a major portion of the acreage. However, never one to give up completely, he bought it all back in 1977--his old friend, Fred Fearrien, having leased the land throughout this period. One night in Parlato's, after one too many cocktails, Gene's son Kim convinced him to go back into the cattle business . . . so he started up again, this time with a whole lot more sense and three grown children. And this time it was a lot easier; all of the kids and their spouses wanted to become cowboys, if they weren't already, so there was a lot of help although Gene couldn't say whether they were making any money this go-around either. Gene commandeered a 25 year war on yellow star thistle about every weekend where he rode his four-wheeler, either pulling it out by hand or spraying the weed in the farthest reaches of the ranch. Gene passes on his passion for stewardship of the land to his son Kim and grandsons Kyle and Jason who continue the quest. It could be said that Gene lived his life at full tilt. His hunting and fishing trips were relived countless times around ranch bonfires, his favorite being the one to Santa Rosa Island with grandson, Kyle. Over the years, he and Dianne, along with their close friends, travelled to about every corner of the world. To the very end he still enjoyed the journals and photos of travels to China, Tanzania, and dozens of other wonderful places. Gene is President of the Mel and Grace McLean Foundation since its inception thirteen years ago. He was also a former board member of the Humboldt-Del Norte Cattlemen's Association, a board member of the Humboldt County Fair for 48 years, a board member of Bank of Loleta for over three decades, and he was active in numerous other community organizations over the years including the Rotary Club of Fortuna, Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department, and Redwood Golf & Country Club. He will be remembered for his zest for life, for his generosity, his kindness, his friendships with people from all walks of life, his genius for numbers, but especially for his love of his family. As hard as he worked, he never missed his children's graduations, their football games, and of course, he never missed a party because he did love a good party. Gene is predeceased by his parents and his brother Paul. He is survived by his wife, Dianne; his children, Kim Lucas (Barb); Denise Christen (Ken); Dana Hunt (Dean); Dianne's children, Courtland Ellis (Dana) and Mark Ellis (Kim). He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Kari Dean, Kyle Lucas, Rene Imperiale-Egan, Rhett Imperiale, Jason Hunt, Kayla Ellis, Nick Ellis, Christopher Ellis, and Layne Ellis. He leaves six great-grandchildren, two nieces and a nephew. The family gives special thanks to his devoted caregivers Hali Southard and Theresa Guardino. We have been blessed with their tireless care, love and assistance this past year. We are grateful that he was able to remain at home throughout this long journey. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11 a.m. at the River Lodge, Fortuna. There will be viewing at Goble's Mortuary in Fortuna on Friday, March 22nd from 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, March 23rd from 4 to 6 p.m. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Redwood Memorial Hospital Foundation toward the funding of the radiation suite renovation(3300 Renner Dr., Fortuna 95540), the Humboldt-Del Norte Cattlemen's scholarship fund (5630 South Broadway, Eureka 95503) or a . Please sign the guest book at www.Times-Standard.com, click obits.

Published in Eureka Times-Standard from Mar. 21 to Mar. 24, 2013
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