Keeper of the Family

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Eugene "Gene" Scott Phelan

 by his sister, Emily Phelan

 

Eugene Scott, named after Eugene Phelan and Scott Reed, was born October 1, 1928 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  He was the third child born to Eunice and Eugene.  At birth he was blue baby.  I do not know any particulars about how he was cared for or how long he had the condition.  After birthing Gene, Mother became very ill and the Doctor advised Dad to move to a lower elevation so the family moved to Phoenix.  In Flagstaff, Dad was a Deputy Sheriff.  In Phoenix, he became an undertaker with the Whitney Undertaking Establishment.  For several months following the move, Mother was in the hospital.  Grandma Phelan was with the family and helped take care of the three small children until mother was home and strong enough to take over.

Gene was full of fun, loved to tease and joke.  He kept the family in laughter at the dinner table many evenings.  He was especially fond of our dog Spike.  When he was in the third grade he persuaded Mother to let him bring the dog to school for a pet show his class had.  In the family album there was a picture of Gene with Spike at the show.  It was one of the few pictures we had of him.

One time Gene found a cigarette and brought it home.  Ruth and I were in the wood shed helping Gene and Bob stack the kindling for the kitchen stove when Gene very carefully revealed his hidden secret.  Of course the next step was to find a match and see how this treasure really tasted when smoked.  Each of us took a puff.  Gene and I struggled to breathe after just a puff and were miserable from the taste and feel in our throats.  Ruth and Bob seemed to survive without any problems.  We carefully destroyed the little culprit and made sure we were on time to help Mother at dinnertime.  At one point Mother looked at a couple of us with the other two in earshot and said something to the effect of “did you enjoy the smoke?”  How do Mothers know these things?!?

He was just a boy of 12 with bright red hair, full of fun with a happy and loving disposition.  School was out and Gene had his first job at a produce stand, delivering groceries.  He carefully saved his earnings and bought a bicycle, fondly called his Beehicle, and was his pride and joy.  He was the first of the family to have a bike!  On a Friday noon, June 13, on his way to work, Gene called into the dining room window:  “Dad, I’ll pick you up after work” meaning he would meet Dad at the depot to walk home with him.  Then he pedaled off to work, about a block away from home.

Suddenly the family was startled by a loud noise followed by a youngster running into our home crying,“your boy is dead in our front yard”.  Mom and Dad flew  down the street to find a man carrying Gene in his arms, and running to the hospital a block away.  Gene was conscious and his first question upon seeing Mom and Dad was “How’s my Beehicle?”  He lost consciousness soon after and lived until early Sunday morning, June 15, 1941, Father’s Day.

This tragedy was compounded by the fact that the couple driving the car that hit Gene were newly married as of one week and were on their way to California to go to school as part of their teacher certification requirements.  The young bride who was driving, never fully recovered from this horrific experience.  Dad felt great sympathy for them and kept in touch for years.  Gene is buried in Desert View Cemetery, Navajo County, Winslow,  Arizona  (see Cath A, blk 11, lot 1)   by Emily Phelan