Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gene Poole: Rest In Peace...

Santa Monica Ocean Lifeguard, Gene Poole, back in the day...  Photo courtesy of the Poole Family, and Arthur C. Verge.
One of our emeritus/alumni ocean lifeguards has passed.  Gene Poole has left the beach and is currently being inducted into the lifeguard fellowship upstairs.  Gene was blessed to lead a long life and he certainly squeezed a lot of life out of his time here on earth.  We were apprised of Gene's passing yesterday by our "Lifeguard Alumni" which had received notice from Gene's daughter, Karyn Poole, as follows:

From:     Lifeguard Alumni
Subject:     July 17   Gene Poole update
Date:     July 17, 2015 9:16:00 PM PDT

Hello all,

We are saddened to announce the passing of retired and fellow alumni Santa Monica Lifeguard Gene Poole.

The Lifeguard alumni family passes along our condolences to the family of Gene Poole. When more information becomes available we will pass it along.

Please read on for more information.

Best regards,


I wish I did not have to tell you.... but here it is.

Gene passed quietly and peacefully this morning (Friday) at around 11:15. 

He told me he wants to be laid to rest in Santa Monica alongside his parents, which is where we will hold his Memorial service. I will let you when and where know as soon as I can, but I'm guessing end of July or 1st weekend in August.

Replies and phone calls are not necessary... I'd appreciate some respite from communication... I've had so much this past week.  I know your thoughts are with me and with his brother, Bill, and for your own loss as well.

There is still no easy day, except now for Gene. He is free, young, strong, tan, charging along the beach, surrounded by seagulls.

Karyn Poole


Below, from Sept. 26, 2009: In the photo below: "The Magi", aka "Three Wise Men" (L2R: LACo Guards Emeritus', Bruce Morgan, Abby Schneider and Gene Poole.)

We asked Abby Schneider to say a few words about Gene and here is what he wrote:

Harold and I were very fortunate to have been able to visit Gene in Prescott, Arizona last weekend.  I first met Gene at my first weekend drill in Coronado back in September, 1976.  I will miss Gene very much, especially the monthly trips we (Harold , Gene and I) shared driving to Coronado for sixteen years.



We also heard from Veteran LACo OL, Arthur C. Verge, as follows:

Nick and Will - I've attached two photos of Gene.  Gene was very generous to the L.A. County Lifeguard Service.  He donated photos and equipment (see attached - which is now in the Training Center).  He graciously shared his time and expertise when we were documenting lifeguard history.  May he rest in peace - Arthur

Photo by Bill Beebe, courtesy of the Poole Family and Arthur C. Verge
I followed up with Arthur and asked him if he would like to share a story about Gene and here is what he said:

I always remember Gene for his pride in our country.  He was a true patriot.  He was proud of his military service and those who served.  Additionally he was very proud, too, to have been a ocean lifeguard rising to the rank of Lt.  He enjoyed sharing funny stories that happened on and off the beach.  Among his favorites was a lifeguard party in 1958 at infamous 434 Euclid St.  Somehow, my father was possessed to bbq ribs in the oven while tending bar with the crew outside.  The subsequent grease dripping from the ribs into the oven resulted in a large smoke accumulation throughout the house.   The only thing right the guards and my father did that night was to call the Santa Monica Fire Department.  As the fire department arrived, so did lifeguard Gene.  There gathered amongst the witnesses was a young boy holding a fishing spear.  Gene said, to the kid, as all of this is going on,

"Kid, I'll give you fifty cents for the spear."

 The kid, who probably found it in the trash said, "Sure."  Money handed over, Gene then proceeded, with spear in hand in perfect UDT style, to enter 434 Euclid on his stomach making it all the way to the heavily smoked filled kitchen.  Once there, he couldn't see a thing and as he reached around he grabbed on to a firefighter's boot.  The fire fighter understandably thinking - "My God, a moving body.." bent down.  Gene and the firefighter looked at each other in disbelief.  The firefighter was none other than fellow Santa Monica lifeguard - John Howe. 

Friendship aside - John got Gene and his spear out of there pronto.  Gene loved to tell me that story and then one day when I was visiting his home he came down from his famous writing loft and handed me the spear.  The spear that I heard so much about.  "Its yours Arthur."  Seeing it now brings a tear, but also one of hell of a smile.  It is now our "conversation piece." 

Gene's Spear. Photo courtesy of Arthur and Marianne Verge.

With Gene, anytime I entered a room I would hear that wonderful shout,"Young Arthur, how's your dad and mom." He was old school. His friendships were lifelong.  He nourished and cherished them.  To be a friend of Gene was an honor.  We can learn a lot from him - to spend time with friends and to cherish them forever. 

Rest in Peace Gene.  It was an honor for all of us to be your friend.  "Young, now old," Arthur. 


Nick Steers also sent us the following photos of Gene to share with the rest of us.  Thanks Nick!  Of Gene, Nick remarked,  "He was a gracious and generous man. I met him in his later years after he retired."


Rest in peace, Gene.  

Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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1 comment:

Nick said...

You were a good friend! My you rest in Peace!