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1931 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Gene Henry Overway, 80, passed away at his home in Bay View on Monday, May 30, 2011, after an extended illness.

Gene was born in Oak Harbor, Washington, on January 29, 1931, to parents Henry and Mildred (Koetje) Overway. He attended schools in Oak Harbor, Mount Vernon, Seattle, Tacoma and Auburn, and in 1948 moved to Burlington to work on his father's farm and entered Burlington-Edison High School. It was there that he met the love of his life, Lottie Routon. They both graduated from Burlington-Edison High School in 1949, where Gene excelled as a football halfback. In 2006, he was inducted into the inaugural Burlington-Edison Athletic Hall of Fame.

Gene and Lottie were married on September 9, 1950, and celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2010. Not only were they married for 60 years, but they were in love for 60 years.

In 1951, they welcomed their daughter, Patti Jean, and in 1953 a son, Jay Howard, was added to the family. From their earliest days together, family was the most important part of their lives. They attended every sports event, piano recital, and even pastured a horse in town for Patti.

Gene and Lottie instilled their love of the outdoors and the Northwest in their children. Hours were spent on the Skagit River in a flat-bottomed river scow fishing for salmon, and in later years in Puget Sound aboard Dad's 21-foot Glasply. Camping, fishing, and crabbing were always a part of family get-togethers and Gene's barbecued salmon was not to be missed.

Gene worked as a Truck Driver for Darigold from 1950 to 1958. In 1958, he was hired by Texaco, Inc., and held several positions until his retirement in 1987. He worked shift work for years, but took a cut in pay so he could work the day shift to be able to attend Jay's sports events. Eventually Gene was promoted to Maintenance Foreman and held that position when he retired.

Over the years Gene was a quiet contributor to the Burlington community. He was a member of the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) for over 25 years, serving as Truck Driver, Captain and Assistant Chief. The BVFD was another extension of his family, and Gene embraced his fellow firemen as such. He was instrumental in building and maintaining the lighted cross on Burlington Hill as part of a BVFD community project. One of his BVFD adventures was to fly to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to pick up the City's new fire truck and drive it across country, staying in fire halls in several states, to bring the truck to its new home in Burlington. Gene received his EMT Certification and also served in that capacity with the BVFD. After moving to Bay View in 1983, Gene became a Fire Commissioner for Fire District #13 until winters in Yuma took him away too many months.

Burlington-Edison Tiger Football was one of Gene's passions. In 1967, he and a group of volunteers built a house to sell on Peterson Road, all with volunteer labor, to raise money for new football field lights. He and Lottie attended every football game in the Fall for years. After Jay graduated, Dad continued to run the sideline chains at home football games. For years it was a Friday night ritual for Dad, Ted Banta, and Bo Campbell to drive together to every away game.

After Lottie's retirement, the couple joined the Snowbird exodus to Arizona every winter. They started out in Mesa and Peoria (to attend Mariners' spring training). Gene loved the Mariners, even though you couldn't tell if it was love or torture from time to time. They made a permanent winter home at Araby Acres in Yuma where Dad never met a stranger. Their circle of friends from across the United States and Canada continued to grow during their winters there. He was always helping someone with a project or party, and became the park's official traveling blood pressure taker. Gene enjoyed the desert and went on many 4-wheel trips, visiting old missions on the Baja and trying his hand at gold mining.

Gene and Lottie couldn't get through the summers without their Yuma friends and hosted an annual Araby Picnic at their home in Bay View. Gene's barbecued salmon, oysters, clams and crab were prepared for their mid-west visitors.... some who had never tasted such treats! Over 100 people annually attended the August event.

Gene and Lottie were members of the Anacortes Good Sam camping club, and the Allen United Methodist Church.

Gene is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lottie, at the family home in Bay View. He is also survived by his daughter, Patti Chambers Moore and her husband Jim Moore, and son Jay Overway and his wife Nanci, all of Bay View; grandchildren include Sarah Overway, Gena and Sam Gullette, Lindsay and Jordan Brown, Noelle and Jeff Jacobson, Greg and Wendy Chambers, Keith Chambers, Eric Chambers and Teresa Chambers. Gene also loved the next generation of 9 great-grandchildren and delighted in their visits.

Gene is further survived by his sister, Joy Henson and husband Sam, his step-sisters Lois and Ted Bailey, and Lila and Art Jewett and his half-sister, Bobbi Mathis, together with many nieces and nephews and other extended family. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Olive Houser Routon, and his brother-in-law Lanny Routon and wife Elaine, and long-time childhood friend, Herb Streuli.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, and a beloved son-in-law, Joe Chambers.

A memorial service and life celebration will occur on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at noon at the Allen United Methodist Church, 16775 Allen West Road, Bow. A private family inurnment at the Bay View Cemetery will take place earlier in the day.

In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing an Overway Family Scholarship through the Burlington-Edison Education & Alumni Foundation, and donations may be sent in memory of Gene Overway, B-EEAF, PO Box 350, Burlington, Washington 98233.
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