Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We ♥ Uncle Gene

It is with a heavy heart that I post this. Unfortunately, Uncle Gene passed away this past Thursday after a long and fulfilling life. He was so special and important to us all and will be missed more than words can say. He was a sweetheart and the best uncle he could be to us all. We love him very much and will miss him so very much. We love you Uncle Gene. We love you a lot.

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This is what Daddy said at Uncle Gene’s rosary Sunday night -

Uncle Gene moved to Indianapolis with Aunt Bonnie and Cousin Steve back in the ‘50s. They moved up there for Uncle Gene to work for the Indianapolis Star-News and provide a good life for his family. They made friends and joined clubs and live a full life together for the almost 50 years, living at 5416 Lowell Avenue.

I am the youngest in the Hassler family and my Grandparents passed away when I was still little because of this, Uncle Gene’s and Aunt Bonnie’s visits were always extra special to me. One of my earliest memories was when they picked me up from kindergarten and took me out to lunch. It was just the three of us. Who knows what we talked about or how I entertained them but I remember it fondly and it is a very special memory to me.

My mom says that my dad always became a different person when he was around his big brother. Maybe a little Idol worship? They were the best of friends, they had a great relationship, the kind that all siblings should be lucky enough have.

Uncle Gene and Dad are part of long line Hassler men that loved to hunt for quail. For almost 30 years, they enjoyed their annual Quail hunting trip to Parson’s Kansas, which was more about visiting with each other than the number of birds brought home. One year when I was about 20, I took my vacation to go to Parsons with them. Those to old men in their 50s walked my legs off. I never made the mistake to go with them to Parsons again.

When Uncle Gene and Aunt Bonnie returned to Fort Smith several years ago, Aunt Bonnie had to live in a nursing home. As her illness progressed our family was able to watch the tender love and care Uncle Gene had for her. When she passed away his love for her continued through weekly visits to the cemetery. Any wife should hope for even a portion of the love that Uncle Gene had for Aunt Bonnie.

Uncle Gene is probably responsible for my getting married to Meghan. Meghan tells the story that he was the 1st Hassler that she fell in love with. Everyone that he had contact with ended up loving him and calling him Uncle Gene.

When Meghan decided to take RCIA classes to learn about the Church; I called him in confidence to discuss her decision with him, because of his similar experiences with Aunt Bonnie. He gave me some of the best advice that I ever received; He said “Don’t pressure her. It has to be Meghan’s decision whether or not to join the Church.” And he was right.

My daughter, Claire Elaine, so loved her Uncle Gene and their weekly visits when my parents kept her on Tuesdays and any time she saw him. When we took her to see him last Wednesday, Claire insisted he hold her precious baby doll Daisy whom she rarely lets out of her grasp. He was so pleased and played up the part and had a great time. He was such a good uncle to us all. Uncle Gene has a very special place in the hearts of his nieces and nephews.

A coworker asked me about him and his passing. The best description I could come up with was that he was a sweetheart to all. I don’t think anyone ever crossed his pass that he didn’t say “How do?” and give a smile.

I came across this poem titled “The Little Ship” that I think describes his departure from us best.

I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea. The setting sun tinted his white sails with a golden light, and as he disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered, "He is gone".

But the sea was a narrow one. On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation. Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, "He is gone" a glad shout went up in joyous welcome, "Here he comes!"

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