Gene Necoechea, 1922-2011

Gene Necoechea of Lakeport, Calif., died Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Courtesy photo.

Longtime Lakeport resident Gene Necoechea (Geno) died on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Born to Salvador and Francisca Necoechea in Mexico City in 1922, Gene first came to Lake County as part of the Bracero program in 1944.

Although Gene traveled throughout the Western states (Texas, Montana, Washington, Idaho and Nevada) in search of work and adventure, he always returned to Lake County.

By the early 1950s he was well established here, working at the Green Ranch in Scotts Valley. After a few years Gene relocated his parents and his sisters to Lakeport.

By the late 1950s Gene had moved into construction, running heavy equipment. He became a member of the Operating Engineers and for many years worked for Lange Brothers.

Gene loved the outdoors; he loved hunting and fishing. Modoc, Klamath, McCloud, Noyo, Baja, Vancouver – these were just a few of the places Gene liked to go.

Gene was always known as the life of the party and loved to tell jokes and stories. One of his favorites was when he and his friend Homer Pulse would ride their horses into town and tie them up outside the Clearlake Club in front of the court house. Then they would go on in and have a little refreshment.

Once they were sufficiently “refreshed” they would get back on their horses and race them down Main Street all the way to the Rendezvous on Lakeshore Drive. Of course by that time they would need to refresh themselves all over again.

Gene really liked to socialize, also spending a lot of time in the Lakeport coffee shops like the Mecca and the Water Wheel. In later years he could often be found during the morning “discussion” at the Shore Line. But his favorite place was probably the Bonnie Brae out on the lake, because that’s where he met Persis Cossey, who would become his wife.

Gene and Persis were married in 1961 and lived on Voight Road in Big Valley. They both loved to fish and spent much of their time going camping and fishing. After Gene retired they built a home in Cassel, near Burney in Shasta County. They spent many happy hours fishing on McCloud Reservoir.

Gene was preceded in death by his wife Persis, and his sisters Julia Alvarez and Elsa Fowler. He is survived by his nieces, Maria Necoechea of Sacramento and Diana Madura of Santa Rosa, and his nephews, Rafael Alvarez of Davis and Michael Fowler of Kelseyville.

Services will be at Jones Mortuary in Lakeport on Monday, May 2, at 1 p.m., followed by a reception at the Lakeport Yacht Club from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Hospice Services of Lake County, 1717 S. Main Street, Lakeport, CA 95453.