Gene Allen Chambers passed away on Sunday October 15, 2017 in Kingman.
He was born on October 24, 1935 to Oliver Burl and Neva (Brown) Chambers in Ventura California. He moved several times in his early years to the San Bernardino area and Coachella Valley. In 1945 his father bought property in Essex California, which consisted of a service station, café & motel.
Gene went to the one-room schoolhouse where he was one of five in his class (23 totals). In 1954, he entered Needles High School and spent his weekdays in Needles and then weekends in Essex, exploring with his buddy John Bentley and a burro. Gene bought a mustang from a ranch and rode him 20 miles to break him. He spent a lot of time riding that horse (Frank) and working at the IL’s Ranch near Mitchell Caverns.
In 1958 after graduating from Needles High, Gene joined the Navy. He was first stationed in Guam and worked as a boatswain running pilot boats to and from the large vessels entering and leaving port. After two years he was assigned to an inter-island vessel that transported goods between the islands, including livestock. Gene returned to San Francisco where he embarked on a destroyer (USS Frank Knox DDR742).
He spent the rest of his Navy life on the “KNOX” patrolling the Formosa Straits. Unfortunately, Gene was subject to seasickness every time the ship left port so he decided that a career in the Navy was not an option and he left in 1958.
Returning to Needles Gene started working for his brother Lee as a mechanic in his shop in Needles. Gene had been dating his buddy Wayne Baldwin’s sister, Susan, and on September 21, 1958 they married.
A son, Allen and daughter, Dona, followed while Gene worked as a mechanic. He also worked at the Needles Police Department.
In 1967 Gene moved to Kingman with his family and he gained a position with the Kingman Police Department. Gene and Susan divorced, and in March 1970 Gene married Barbara (Ely, Bickle). A year later in July 1973 Steven was born. This marriage ended in 1986. Gene was working at Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca at the time having started in 1967 as a guard and then as a driver/mechanic.
On May 10, 1986 Gene married Jennifer (Roark), and they started their life together. They both played golf for a few years and in 2003 changed sports to bowling, and they bowled on two leagues a week. They were both avid hunters as shown by the number of trophy animals mounted on display (a total of 44) in their home.
In 1990 Gene built himself a “stock race car” and his racing career was on! He raced for 22 years and won four championships at Mohave Valley Raceway. He also raced in Yuma, Pahrump,Nevada, Prescott Valley and Lake Havasu (Sara Park) until his retirement at age 77 in 2011 due to a decline in health caused by a stroke in 2009.
Gene is survived by his wife of 31 years, his children Allen (Nancy), Dona and Steven and his stepdaughter Sally (Bob). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Audrey (Josh), Tyler, Jennifer and David (Denise), great-grandchildren Gareth, Katrianna and Annika, Conner and Abby.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Burl Lee and Grandson Cory.
Services will be held at Sutton Funeral Home conducted by Kingman Lodge #22 F & AM members 11 a.m. Thursday, October 19.
A Military Honor Service will be held in Needles, California with internment in Needles Cemetery at noon on Friday, October 20.