Gene's Story

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The funeral services celebrating and honoring the life of Mr. Gene Meharg, 86, of Enid, will be held 9:30 A.M. Thursday July 27, 2017 in Brown-Cummings Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Al McVety officiating. Burial will take place at 1:00 P.M. in the Chapel Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City, OK. with full Military Honors being conducted by the United States Air Force Honor Guard. A family visitation will be held Wednesday July 26 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. in Brown-Cummings Funeral Home. Services are under the direction of Brown-Cummings Funeral Home.
Gene Meharg was born September 29, 1930, the son of Ray and Florence Ross Meharg, and passed away on July 22, 2017. He was raised on a wheat and cattle farm in Russell County, Kansas. Gene remembers very little about his life before starting to Grade School. One of the things he does remember is running in the dark and falling on a tin can, which cut his right hand. Then going to the doctor's office that night to have it stitched up. His father held him down and the arm stretched out so the doctor could do the sewing.
Gene started his formal education in September of 1936 at a rural country school. There were four first graders that year. Also attending that year were his older brother Walter Lee (5th Grade) and his Aunt Clara Mae Ross (8th Grade). This was a small school, but each year it had a fund raiser for the school's needs. The entertainment was provided by the students performing songs, reciting poems, and putting on a short play. The funds came from each lady or girl bringing a box lunch which was auctioned off to the highest bidding man. These allowed Gene to learn to perform individually as well as a member of a group. That was a great help in his later years.
The years slipped by as Gene did his assigned duties of a normal farm boy. Those duties included gathering the eggs each evening, bringing in the cows and helping milk them, during the spring watching the turkey hens to locate where they chose to make their nest and lay the eggs (which were collected and hatched by chickens for better control of the little turkeys while they grew up ), and last but not least helping his mother with the garden, cleaning chickens for meals, and filling the barrel with water early in the morning so the men could wash up in the evening after a day in the dirty fields.
During the summer of 1943, Gene broke his right arm in the elbow by falling over another tin can, then again in 1944 it was broken again in the same elbow, but not over a tin can that time. It did get him out of some of the plowing and harvesting during those summers as he was old enough to run the tractors. But could still do the lesser duties he had in the younger years.
Gene attended 8th Grade in Bunker Hill and he participated in sports events. He also performed in three class plays during his high school years. Gene and his brother Glen played their guitars on the radio in 1947. Gene graduated in 1948 from high school in Bunker Hill, Kansas, in a class of 12.
Gene attended Brown Mackie Business College and worked for a year as an accountant with the J. Mar Dairy Company in Salina, Kansas. While there, Gene took flying lessons and earned his pilot's license in 1950. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the US Air Force and was trained in Electronics & Radar Equipment He spent 3 years of his enlistment with a Bomb Scoring Detachment in Oklahoma City. His duties were maintenance of the equipment and scoring bomb runs made on selected targets in the Oklahoma City area. During this time, he met and married LaVonna Ballard (a twin) in 1953. Gene joined International Business Machines (IBM) in 1957 to work on their computers used in the SAGE system (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment). More commonly known as NORAAD.
He was trained in Kingston, New York, and installed equipment in Madison, Wisconsin, and North Bay, Ontario, Canada. The Canada installation was a three-story building inside a mountain one mile and it had 650 feet of solid granite for a roof. It is the backup for the Defense Computer inside a mountain in Colorado. In 1963, he was transferred to IBM's computer division in Oklahoma City.
There he installed a system for the Oklahoma Publishing Company to automatically set the type for their newspapers (the first in the nation to do that). Then he installed a system to test Jet Engines after major overhauls at Tinker Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (also the first in the world). In 1971, Gene completed his Degree in Computer Science from OSU. In 1974, Gene was transferred to Enid to maintain IBM equipment in Northern Oklahoma. He retired from IBM in 1991 at Enid, but continued to do consulting work for IBM and their customers in the Enid area for several more years. Gene and LaVonna lived in Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, Wisconsin, and Canada. They traveled to all the USA's 50 states, three Canadian Provinces, Mexico, twelve European countries, and seven Caribbean Islands during their sixty-two years of marriage. Yes, one of their common interests was to travel.
Over the years, Gene has had golf, skiing, leather tooling, genealogy, stain glass work, jigsaw puzzles, computers, and listening to music as his hobbies. His so-called masterpiece was a stain glass door for their home. In January 2002, Gene became a volunteer Saint Mobile Driver for St. Mary's Hospital in Enid. Gene belongs to the American Legion, Post 286, Hoisington, Kansas. Gene was a member of the Sooner Aero Club in Oklahoma City and he owned his own aircraft for a few years (a little yellow Piper Chief). Gene helped deliver Meals on Wheels for several years. Gene donated thousands of golf balls to the Enid Junior High School Golf Programs and the Wakita Golf Program. Gene was a member of the Quarter Century Club in IBM. Gene is an ordained Deacon and a member of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church.
Gene is survived by three children, Rene Long & husband Michael of Enid, Gina Childers & husband Michael of Enid and Dean Meharg & wife Kathy of Grand Island, NE. All three children are in the education field. They have 5 grandsons (The first two are identical twins.) Andrew Long, Matthew Long & wife Zane'a, Nathaniel Meharg & wife Heather, Seth Meharg & wife Sadie, Ethan Meharg & wife Kelsey; Great grandsons, Michael Long, Flynn Meharg, Oliver Meharg, and another Meharg on the way. He was extremely proud of each one of them and he loved to share stories about them with anyone who would listen. They affectionately called him "Papa"; sister-in-law, LaDonna (Lou) Lass of Enid; sister-in-law, Phyllis Meharg of Borger, TX and numerous nieces and nephews. His compassion and love will live on through all of us because of the example he set. He will be missed each and every day.
Gene was preceded in death by his loving wife, LaVonna, his parents, Ray and Florence Meharg, and three brothers, Wendell, Glen, and Walter.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church (Operation Christmas Child Fund) and the American Cancer Society with Brown-Cummings serving as custodian of the funds.
Condolences may be made to the family online at WWW.Brown-Cummings.com.
Published on July 25, 2017
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