August 29, 1947 - January 10, 2012

Gene Altena - 1964

Gene Altena - 1965

Gene Altena - recent

Eugene Sydney "Gene" Altena, passed away at his home in Auburn, WA on January 10, 2012, after a courageous battle with large B-cell lymphoma. Gene will be greatly missed by Mary Kavanaugh, his loving wife for 26 years, his daughter Melinda, his son Kevin, his father, sister Dianna ('68), brother, Ken ('78), and the rest of his family and friends. Gene was born in Richland, WA, on August 29, 1947, to Sydney and Maxine Altena.

He was active in Scouting as a youth, attained the rank of Eagle, and established many lifelong friendships. After graduating from Washington State University, he was commissioned as an officer in the US Coast Guard, where he proudly served for over 20 years with assignments in Washington D.C., Honolulu, Long Beach, Adak, AK, and Seattle. Gene retired at the rank of Commander in 1992.

Since then, Gene has pursued many passions including raising his children; earning a teaching certificate and teaching high school in Kent and Auburn School Districts and in Watertown, NY. He also enjoyed the finer points of home remodeling, wood working and welding; traveling around the state, the country, and the world with family and friends; and “farming” on his property in the Kent Valley, which he has called home for over 35 years.

We wish to thank all of the family, friends, doctors, and medical professionals who provided care and comfort to Gene as he tried to gain the upper hand on his lymphoma.

Memorial donations may be directed to:
In memory of Gene Altena
Care of Star Lake Elementary, 4014 S. 270th St., Kent, WA 98032
(A special education project of Mary Altena in Gene’s honor)
Franciscan Hospice Care, PO BOX 1502, TACOMA, WA 98401-9836