Eugene Russell "Gene" Vanatter, born Aug. 17, 1932, died peacefully in his sleep Jan. 16, 2008.
Gene was born in Burbank, Calif., to James Russell Vanatter and Alberta (Knox) Vanatter. His father died of cancer when Gene was in the second grade. Alberta married James Truman Barlow, and when Gene was eleven, they moved to Uniontown, Kansas. He attended Goff Country School. In 1951, Gene graduated from Uniontown High School and joined the Navy.
Gene married Dorothy May Lifer July 11, 1952 in Fort Scott, Kan. They moved to Olathe, Kansas where he served as a station-keeper in the personnel department. On Jan. 7, 1954, they became the proud parents of Scott Leigh Vanatter. In 1954, Gene, Dorothy, and Scott moved to Pasadena, Calif. Shortly thereafter, Gina Lynn Vanatter came along on July 16, 1955 and Tracy Ellen Vanatter on Jan. 9, 1957. In 1959, Gene and his family moved to Duarte, Calif., where they lived for 35 years.
Gene worked for the Pasadena City School District as an upholsterer and maintenance worker, and later worked for Sears in sales and management for 29 years. After retirement Gene and Dorothy moved back to Fort Scott, Kansas.
Gene enjoyed water skiing, and he was a dune buggy enthusiast. After retiring, he enjoyed woodworking, puttering around in his garage/workshop, and the friends he made here. He was involved in the community throughout his life. While raising his children, he managed a Little League and Pony League youth sports organization, served as the President of the Duarte High School Booster Club. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, and a member of the American Legion, Forty and Eight, the Elks, and the Scottish Rite. He was a Mason.
Gene was a dedicated and devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy, and his three children; his son Scott Vanatter and his wife Becky of Fairfax, Va.; his daughter Gina Vanatter of Monrovia, Calif., and his daughter Tracy Bennett and her husband Doug of Redmond, Wash.; his four grandchildren - Carrie (Vanatter) Motley and her husband Scott, Sydney Vanatter, Thomas Bennett, and James Bennett; his great-grandsons Ryan and Sean Motley and one Motley great-grandson due in April. He is also survived by two sisters; Loretta (Vanatter) Boyd and her husband Dale, Kathleen (Barlow) Smith and her husband Don.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, at the Cheney Witt Funeral Chapel. Masonic services will be provided by the Rising Sun Masonic Lodge. Burial will follow at the U.S. National Cemetery, with military honors provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post No.1165 V.F.W. The family will receive friends from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, 2008 at the Cheney Witt Funeral Chapel. The family suggests memorials contributions to a charity of choice instead of flowers. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.