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Gene Daise - January 30, 2014

Eugene Raymond “Gene” Daise, 86, of Holyoke, died Jan. 30, 2014. He was born Sept. 26, 1927, near Kanorado, Kan., to George and Frances Daise.

Gene was the second of five children, and he lived in a sod house and went to a one-room school. He graduated from Goodland High School in 1945 after lettering in football, basketball, wrestling and track.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1945, doing his basic training in San Diego, Calif. He served as a petty officer third class aboard the USS Iowa in the Pacific Ocean. His separation date was July 1946 in St. Louis, Mo.

Colorado A&M (now CSU) was his college of choice, starting in 1946. He graduated with distinction after lettering in wrestling for four years, having participated in the Olympic  tryouts in 1948 and becoming the Skyline Conference Champion his senior year.

In 1950, Gene came to Holyoke to teach vocational agriculture.

He was recalled back to the Navy in January 1951 to serve in the Korean conflict. He served on the USS Frybarger, a destroyer escort 705, until his separation date in December 1952. During this time, he was pen pals with his former students in Holyoke.

Gene returned to Holyoke in 1953 to teach vocational agriculture. That year, he started the Holyoke wrestling program. He had some very good wrestlers. He was very proud of his first-place wrestler in 1957 and his state team of third in 1958, consisting of two second- and two fourth-place finishes. At this time, the state had only two wrestling districts. He also started the junior high wrestling program.

In 2012, Gene was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and received the very impressive Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award at the Colorado State Banquet.

Gene received the Colorado Athletic Directors Association Appreciation Award for community service, and the press box at the Holyoke football field was named for him in 2005 because he kept time for the home football games for about 50 years.

Gene served as president of the Colorado Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association and the Colorado Vocational Association.

He retired after 30 years of teaching and belonged to the Retired Ag Teachers Association.

As a veteran, he was a member of the American Legion and the VFW, serving both clubs as commander and other offices. He helped establish the VFW scholarship program and was secretary-treasurer of the scholarship committee for many years. He was a lifetime member of the VFW.

He served on the board of directors of the Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union for over 25 years, many as president.

Gene was an active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, serving as a lector, usher, Eucharistic minister, setting up the altar for Mass, and especially enjoyed working with the youth as altar servers and high school youth.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Fourth Degree assembly. He held the offices of faithful navigator, grand knight, financial secretary for over 25 years, district deputy and state family of the month chairman.

Gene was employed by the county as a member of the road crew.

Preceding him in death were his parents, George and Frances Daise; his brother, Ted and wife Sue Ellen; and his sister, Kathryn Fay and husband Jack.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Caroline; his children, Daniel, Shirley, Mary, Debra and David; his brothers, Robert and Father Richard; and other relatives.

His funeral was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Holyoke. The Rosary was Feb. 4 at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Burial was to be at Holyoke Cemetery.

Baucke Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.