Herbert Eugene Lovejoy (Gene to his friends and family), age 91, of Mount Ida, passed away on Thursday, February 2, 2017.
Gene was born in the tiny town of Reed Springs, Missouri to Frank and Lois Lovejoy. He was the oldest of four children and had two brothers, Donny and Bobby and a sister, JoAnn. The family lived in a rustic log cabin that is still standing on the banks of the river where he grew up thanks to the preservation efforts of the town Reed Springs.
Growing up in small town America, Gene attended the local high school where he played the trumpet at Blue Eye High School. He had after school jobs as well to help out with the family, who struggled after the death of his father of scarlet fever. Gene had also had scarlet fever and was bedridden for a year afterwards, losing most of the skin on the bottom of his feet which left him flat footed.
With the advent of World War II, Gene moved to California. He wanted to join the war efforts, but he was turned down in every branch of the service for those flat feet. He joined the California State Guard until he joined the Merchant Marines where he served in a gunnery position during General Quarters. Gene loved being on the open ocean and he was very proud of the vital lifelines provided by the Merchant Marines.
It was while he was in California that he married a young woman from Mount Ida, Arkansas, Barthella Gaston. The couple married just after WWII and settled in the beautiful valley of Exeter, just 49 miles south of San Francisco. Gene worked for Lockheed on the Birds Eye Missile project in the 60’s. Later in the sixties they moved back to Mount Ida to be near Barthella’s parents and to take care of them. They built their home on her parent’s small farm.
Gene loved carpentry and he loved building and painting projects. Their home was filled with his work – plant holders, benches, porch swings. He once built a wooden donkey pulling a cart and painted it in bright colors. Two of his porch swings still welcome family. He built a cradle for his first grandchild which was passed to each of his grandchildren. His workshop was always a happy clutter of organized tools, parts saved from just about everything and the plans for his next project.
He retired from US Electrical Motors in Mena.
Services were held at 2pm at the Gaston Cemetery in Mount Ida with an honor guard.
Survivors include his son, Doug Lovejoy of Mount Ida; daughter, Pati Brown of Mount Ida; four grandchildren – Jason Brown, Dawn Eick, Mandy Jones and Jennifer Sanak; and seven great grandchildren – Alyssa, Katy, Samuel, Jamie, Elijah, Casey, Jayden and Maddox.
Arrangements were under the direction of Davis-Smith Funeral Home, Glenwood.
Guest registry is at www. davis-smith.com.