Sept. 24, 1937 – Feb. 28, 2020
Jesse Eugene Eager, 82, passed away on Feb. 28, 2020, at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House, Hughson, CA, with his wife, Shirley, at his side. Gene was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a month earlier. Gene was born on Sept. 24, 1937, in Hughson, CA. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather & Papa who will be missed greatly and forever will be in the hearts of his family and friends.
Gene attended Shackelford and Washington Elementary Schools in Modesto and graduated from Modesto High School in 1955. He earned his AA Degree from Modesto Junior College, attending night classes. He served his country in the United States Navy and later in the Navy Reserves until honorably discharged in Aug., 1961. He was employed by the Modesto City Fire Department until his retirement on Dec. 29, 1991. When he retired he said, “When you work for the Fire Dept., you end up with two families, your real family and the Fire Dept. family”. Gene was “married” to the firefighting family for a little over 30 years when he retired as a Fire Captain. He was married to his wife, Shirley, for 55 ½ years.
Upon Gene’s retirement, he and Shirley traveled and spent the month of Oct. in Morro Bay with long-time friends and the next 5 months in the Palm Springs area. He was very active in the activities at the Indian Wells RV Resort which he called his second home. Gene spent his time at the Resort volunteering his time to make every ones time there enjoyable. He and Shirley took up the sport of floor shuffleboard in 2008. Giving back to others was important and upon his death he was President of the Indian Wells Shuffleboard Club, a position he had held for 13 years, Calif. Shuffleboard Assn District 5 President for 6 years, and in Dec. he was elected President of the Calif. Shuffleboard Assn. When he first started playing shuffleboard, after only 2 weeks of practice, he won the District 5 Rookie Tournament. He was inducted into the Calif. Shuffleboard Assn Hall of Fame in 2017. In July, 2018, he and Shirley were selected to represent the United States at the 37th International Shuffleboard Assn World Shuffleboard Championship in High River, Alberta, Canada. There were 12 men and 12 women selected. Gene again represented his country admirably when his 4-person men’s team placed 6th overall. Last June he and Shirley competed in the shuffleboard division of the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM where he won a silver medal in his age division in the Singles and he & Shirley placed 4th in the Doubles.
For 17 years Gene & Shirley flew to Oklahoma City twice a year to work for the National Reining Horse Association where he worked as a scribe with the judges for the NRHA Derby and Futurity. He made life-long friends during this time and always spoke highly of his “NRHA family”.
Gene was a member of Sons in Retirement (SIRS) and the Northern Calif. Golf Assn.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, Modesto; his daughters Lori Clark & Kim Whitcomb, Modesto; & Tina Reed (Dave), Oakdale; grandchildren Brandon Root (Aleshia), Modesto; Jason Root, Sacramento; Ashley Whitcomb (Alex Stone), Modesto; Cody Whitcomb, Oakdale; & Taylor & Conner Reed, Oakdale; & great grandsons Lucas Searles Root and Ryder Stone. He is preceded in death by his mother Ruby Eager.