Jul 27, 2012 - StaffEugene "Gene" George Patch, 81, of Lander, died Saturday, July 21, 2012, with his family at his side.
No services are planned, and a celebration of life will be at a later date.
Gene Patch was born Nov. 7, 1930, in Anaconda, Mont., to George and Dorothy Trbovich Patch. He attended schools in Anaconda, Mont., and graduated from Anaconda High School on May 28, 1948.
During his high school career, he was active in football, basketball and track. He was captain of the football team his senior year and played a prominent roll in their state basketball championship in 1948.
He played baseball in the summers, from Little League to American Legion Baseball to City League to the highly regarded Copper League. In 1955, the Anaconda Anodes won the Copper League Championship. He was the shortstop on that team.
Mr. Patch was also active in non-athletic school activities. The highlight was being selected to attend the first Boys' State in Montana in the summer of 1947.
After high school graduation, he entered the University of Montana in Missoula where he played some football and baseball. In 1952, he received a bachelor's degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
On Aug. 2, 1952, Mr. Patch officially entered the U.S. Air Force at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. In October, he was transferred to Selfridge AFB at Mt. Clemens, Mich. There he served until Aug. 2, 1954, when he was honorably separated from the Air Force.
In late August 1954, he was offered and accepted a teaching/coaching job at Pavillion High School in Pavillion. In August 1957, Mr. Patch accepted a similar position at Fremont County Vocational High School in Lander. There he served as head track coach, assistant football and basketball coach, head basketball coach, biology instructor, assistant principal and activities director, and principal of what is now Lander Valley High School.
He married Beatrice (Bea) Utermarck on July 25, 1959, in Wadena, Minn. Their only child, Gary, was born July 20, 1963.
In 1986, he retired and shortly thereafter did some part-time work for the University of Wyoming and Central Wyoming College. In 1988, he accepted the job of superintendent/principal at Jeffrey City and held that position until 1991 when he retired a second time.
One of the greatest joys of his life was the birth of his only grandchild, Devin Eugene Patch, on Oct. 14, 1997.
Mr. Patch's energy level and his involvement in various activities were sharply curtailed because of failing health in recent years. His family said he spent the last several years of his life somewhat handicapped.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles.
He is survived by his wife, Bea of Lander; son and grandson of San Antonio, Texas; and cousins, other family and a host of friends.
Memorials may be made to the Lander Pet Connection, the Casper Humane Society or Hospice and may be sent to Davis Funeral Home.
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