Eugene (Gene) Victor Lux
Gene died suddenly and peacefully on June 21, 2019. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on August 16, 1926 to Harry and Anna Lux, Gene was named in honor of his father's hero, Eugene Victor Debs, the American socialist, political activist and trade unionist. A longstanding figurehead of the community, Gene lived up to his namesake in every way.
At the age of 13, Gene drove his mother, who was sick with tuberculous, across the country to join his father Harry and sit among the Washington Wobblies, revolutionary labor unionists opposed to bosses and authoritarian control. At the beginning of WWII, Gene lied about his age to join the Merchant Marines and was assigned as a ship cook. Although he never cooked before, he quickly learned to bake bread in a wood-fired stove, after sifting meal worms out of the flour.
Gene joined the fight for civil rights in its infancy. As a true populist politician, Gene worked relentlessly for ordinary people whose needs were disregarded by the established elite. Gene represented the 35th and 11th Legislative Districts as a member of the Washington House of Representatives from 1973 until 1988 and was appointed to two tenures in the Washington State Senate. With a wry sense of humor, Gene announced the adjournment of each legislative session by wearing his sine die shoes, the gaudiest pair of white patent leather shoes, made even more conspicuous on his size 13 feet. He was honored by the Washington Trial Lawyers as Legislator of the Year with the Lois D. Brandies Award.
Gene was a dedicated public servant who served on numerous boards, including Group Health Cooperative, People's Memorial Association, Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board and Southeast Seattle Senior Center. Gene served seven four-year terms as Commissioner of King County Fire District 20 until he was 92. A strong leader, Gene's tenure as commissioner lasted through six different fire chiefs, providing a voice of continuity through change.
Gene was generous to a fault and always took the time to talk to people he met along the way. By the end of each day he was running at least two hours late. Gene worked as a self-employed building contractor. The man with a big barrel chest and large capable hands could build anything.
Gene is survived by his loving wife Marilyn, his children Diane Little, David Hornbeck, Karen Bertram, Linda Nelson and Susan Lux, five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many dear friends. His legacy and influence will live on for years to come.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, June 29 at 1:00 p.m.
at the Southeast Seattle Senior
Center at 4655 S Holly St., Seattle
Memorial gifts may be made to King County Fire District 20, 12424 76th Ave. S., Seattle, WA.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jun. 23, 2019.