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home : columnists : columnists September 15, 2014


7/31/2014 2:00:00 AM
Gene Everett is a traveling man

By Karen Zach
Around the County


A multi-talented man, this week's feature fella' is 84-years-old and acts and looks like he's 50. Very healthy, he only takes three pills a day and is full of pep. After hearing about him doing his own cooking, I'm about ready to run over for breakfast one of these mornings. Certainly, we had a good time reminiscing while lunching at Arby's (and here's a hello to our three nice ladies with whom we struck-up a conversation). I first met Gene Everett when he cleaned at our restaurant, well over 40 years ago. Always enjoyed our brief conversations and know my in-laws thought the world of him. If you're one of my weekly readers, you'll remember Larry Frye is involved with Meals on Wheels, as is Gene. Larry smiled as he told me he taught Gene how to deliver the meals but at the first couple places, Larry had to chase Gene out because he wanted to visit. It was quite humorous interviewing Gene finding out that it was my mother-in-law, Joan, who was his first delivery - said he'd not seen her for a long time and wanted to talk. Well, Gene and I talked at length, and luckily, weren't pressed to deliver anything.

Sharing a birthday with our famous Abe Lincoln, (121 years apart) Gene grew-up here and graduated from Crawfordsville High School with what he thought was a class of 159. Other well-known area classmates he mentioned were Dick Clarkson, John Meek, and Bob Rogers. He didn't mention any of the gals because his heart was with one three years younger, Elizabeth Anderson. Elizabeth had lost both parents early on, and was raised by the Yates family, her aunt and uncle. A very popular gal with beautiful long, blonde hair, Gene was pretty smitten, and although Elizabeth liked Gene a great deal, too she was also interested in another young man. In fact, Gene grinned that her senior picture hanging in his bedroom had said, "To Oakey, with Love," on it but had been erased and now says, "To Gene, with Love." This was after Oakey went to the service and Elizabeth's aunt and cousin strongly suggested she stick with the true-blue, hard-working, Gene Everett. Widowed since 2008, Gene is happy they were able to spend 58 years together.

Elizabeth and Gene were blessed with two sons ("now over 60") and two daughters ("now over 50"), Mark who lives in New York City is a lawyer. A Wabash graduate, he received his law degree at Franklin Pierce. Gene is excited at his upcoming trip to visit Mark. Mike lives in the area and works at Caterpillar. Although Gene isn't much interested in genealogy, he said one of his brothers and Mike show curiosity regarding the subject. Daughter Amy works at the Pyramids in Indianapolis for the IRS and was with Jackson-Huett for awhile. Beth lives in Indianapolis, spent nine years in the service and worked her way up into the office of a casket company. Two grandkids make Gene happy and he really enjoys the five great grandchildren. I was impressed that when born, he purchases the new baby a life insurance policy.

Gene worked as a linotype operator for R.R. Donnelley's for almost 20 years, went home one day and announced he was quitting and going into business for himself. It culminated into a very clean career, having three laundromats here and one in Greencastle. Although it was an initial shock, since they were raising four children, Elizabeth pitched right in, as fill-in help at the Laundromats, counting and filling changers or anything she could do. Along with these, Gene had a Duraclean Carpet cleaning business for a dozen years, plus he sold draperies and blinds (remember seeing his Decorating Den van come along) for 40 years. Gene has always loved to travel and is especially enjoying seeing the US in his retirement years. He noted, "I just turn on my Onstar and it gets me where I want to go!" He loves the Pacific Northwest, California, Oregon and Washington, especially. The Hearst Estate (via AmTrack) was fun and he is seriously into almost any car museum, although he doesn't enjoy near as much the ones with a specific automobile feature, example: Corvette Museum. Once he travelled to Lubbock, Texas just to see if the people of his minister really loved him as much as was said. Gene steered in on a Saturday evening, attended the church next morn and yep, indeed, they all loved Reverend Keith Strain. What fun! Since I've had my car three and a half years, I'm thrilled I only have 20,000 miles on it, but Gene proudly boasted of 50,000 in two years. What a travelling man! In fact, Gene visited eleven presidential libraries in one year. He and Elizabeth particularly enjoyed going along the Hudson River (Hyde Park) and seeing where the Rich and Famous lived. Visiting his two brothers (in South Carolina) and sister (Tulsa) is enjoyable, as well.

Besides travelling, Gene enjoys friends, especially his Thursday morning coffee group where several men meet just to shoot the breeze. Just about any topic could be on the table. Religion is popular and if John Horner's there they usually talk cars. Gene also enjoys reading, especially Readers Digest Condensed Books, Good Old Days and Reminisce magazines and he has several Tom Clancy books he plans to read soon. He also is rerunning for the Township Board, having already spent 16 years with them. Always having gone to the First Christian Church, Gene particularly enjoys working with the young people in the Logos program, an after school Bible Study group. When I inquired about him living here all his life, he answered, "No, not yet!" Obviously, Gene is a fun-loving, all-around American guy and was great to interview. Thanks, buddy!







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