Eugene Richard Boettcher
August 23, 2017
05/29/30 - 05/05/17
Eugene Richard Boettcher was born May 29th, 1930 in Big Sandy, Montana to his parents Walter and Signe Boettcher. He grew up on the Boettcher farm there with brother Robert and sister Phyllis. As a young boy Gene was the “designated driver” of the family’s Model T truck which served as a makeshift school bus to the one room schoolhouse for the local farms – other kids would hop on or off as he drove slowly to and from the school. While growing up on the farm Gene became an expert at carpentry, gardening, cooking and of course, driving.
As a young man Gene joined the US Navy, serving on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer in the Korean War. The USS Boxer actions of the coast of Korea included supporting the Inchon landings and subsequent invasion of North Korea. She was also among the ships that provided support during the Chosin Reservoir Chinese counteroffensive. The Boxer saw three subsequent combat tours in Korea conducting close air support and strategic bombing in support of UN ground troops fighting along the 38th parallel. Gene achieved the rank of petty officer, and he was a radar operator in the ships combat command center.
Gene Boettcher went on to start a family in Los Angeles, California marrying Paula Miller and raising children Stephanie, Mike (Merrill Spencer,) Wayne and Robert. He attended the University of Southern California and obtained an Electronics Engineering degree. Although he started college working odd jobs at service stations and the like, Gene began work as an electronic technician at Hughes Missile Systems Company before he graduated to become an Engineer. This became his career and the family moved from the Canoga Park plant to the Tucson Hughes plant in 1972. Gene worked to help build or participated in the design of Maverick, Phoenix and AMMRAM missiles, all of which are known as crowning achievements in the field of US Defense.
Later Gene married Seri Hansen who also worked at the Tucson Hughes Aircraft facility and adopted Sarah from Russia. The local Tucson newspaper told the story of how five year old Sarah spotted Gene and Seri approaching the Siberian orphanage and rushed into their arms. During his life Gene always built a large workshop in the garage or shed of any house he bought to repair furniture and build wooden objects such as wagons or toys. The shop would always include custom built workbenches and tool racks. After retiring from being a Missile Engineer Gene started a second career as a Wood Worker. Eventually he found a niche building custom oil painting frames that were highly valued from local artists; Gene continued doing that into his ‘80s.
In later life Gene married retired Salvation Army Major Anna Wilson who remained with him until his passing. Gene and Anna enjoyed sports and gospel music in their retirement although Gene never quit making artist frames for his business until he was no longer able to. Gene was always very involved with Anna at their church, The Ridge, and worked on the tech team supporting the Worship ministry. Gene & Anna were an amazing blessing to each other. They loved each other unconditionally and Anna often remarks how Gene could make her laugh and brought laughter back into her life.
In his early adult life Gene Boettcher taught a Christian children’s program called Jet Cadets and was a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. Gene was an expert outdoorsman as well as a serious cook and baker, often grinding wheat to make his bread and favoring natural, organic food over processed. He was a good shot who reloaded his own ammunition and practiced gun safety. Gene was a hard worker and true engineer who could fix, design and build many things, one example being a propane weed-killing device based on flamethrower technology. Another was a large, multi-component stereo system made of hand wired electric boxes, vacuum tubes and transistors. Gene was a prolific reader who enjoyed science and science fiction literature and obtained a pilot license, flying for many years. Like many of his generation he enjoyed a wide knowledge of history, politics and common sense.
Gene Boettcher was a Christian. Though he had a hard life at times and strayed from the narrow path in his life, Gene always returned to Christ. He would have said, as the Apostle Peter did, “Who else has the Words of Life?” He set an example as someone who studied the Bible, prayed seriously and was willing to listen to counseling and give it when needed. Eugene Richard Boettcher was right with The Lord and at peace when he passed on May 5, 2017. He is sorely missed by a large host of family and friends.
Gene was preceded in death by his mother and father, Signe and Walter.
He is survived by his 5 children Stephanie, Mike, Wayne, Robert and Sarah brother Robert ,sister Phyllis, 1 niece, and 3 nephews, and his loving grandchildren.