746th ROB Risha, Eugene

Funeral liturgy for Eugene George ―Gene‖ Risha, 88, will be held at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at the Saint James Catholic Church in Douglas, Wyoming with Father Steven Titus as the Celebrant. A Vigil for the Deceased will be held at 7:00 P.M. Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at the Gorman Funeral Homes – Converse Chapel in Douglas. Inurnment will be in the Douglas Park Cemetery with military honors accorded by the Samuel Mares American Legion Post #8 and the Wyoming Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors. Gene Risha entered peacefully into the loving arms of Jesus Friday, February 1, 2013 at his home in Douglas, Wyoming. He was born November 27, 1924 in Winfred, South Dakota to Joseph and Mary (Nassif) Risha, and graduated from high school at St. Mary’s School in Salem, South Dakota. While in high school, Gene, or Butch as he was known, pitched two no-hitters and was all-state in football, baseball, and basketball; however, his greatest claim to fame was that he was the only person who could stand in the school yard and throw a snowball over the steeple of the church—but not when Father or the Sisters were near. Gene was a distinguished welder for the Union Pacific Railroad until he entered the Army branch of the United States military during World War II. He attended the Air Corps College Training-Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Two weeks before graduating from flight school his unit was transferred to serve in other capacities. He then served in the European Theater in Germany and France. Gene was with the 746th Railway Operating Battalion in France and Germany as a welder, assigned to building and repairing railroad tracks for the American troops. After leaving the military Gene tended bar for his brother, Alfred Risha where he designed the first ―Drive Through Window‖ i n the State of Wyoming. During this time Gene also attended the University of Wyoming, playing on the Cowboy’s Football Team. He served a five year apprenticeship under the GI Bill for plumbing and heating. He worked jobs during the day and went to school at night. Gene was chosen the outstanding apprentice in the state of Wyoming in his fifth year and went on to represent Wyoming in the National Competition at Purdue University finishing in the top five. Gene married Edna Ruth Farrow on February 23, 1954. Gene worked as a plumber at PS Cook in Cheyenne, Wyoming before he and his wife moved their family to Douglas to open Gene’s Plumbing in 1963. They sold their business and ―retired‖ January 1, 1990. Since that time Gene and Ruth have spent time traveling and enjoying their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and friends. He was a member of Saint James Parish where he had served as a trustee. Gene was instrumental in organizing the Knights of Columbus Council at Saint James. In the community, Gene served on the Youth Board, Senior Citizen Board, coached Little League Baseball, and just recently retired from Senior Foundation. Gene was an avid Denver Bronco football fan, St. Louis Cardinal’s fan, and enjoyed serving others in any way possible. One of his favorite memories was the time he played on a slow pitch softball team with his sons and son-in-law. As a young man, he was an accomplished horseman before an injury forced him to stop riding. Gene had a love for the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time at the Risha cabin. He has been described by friends as being the ―ultimate family man.‖ Gene knew no enemy. Gene is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruth of Douglas; two sons, David (Julie) Risha of Jacksonville, Florida and Edward (Kelly) Risha of Cheyenne; three daughters, Sally (John) Polhamus of Arvada, Colorado, Terri (Ronald) Pollard of Douglas, and Diane (Jerry) Beffert of Cheyenne; grandchildren, Shannon (Scott) Heffernan, Chrisi (Tytus) Scherschligt, Amy Scherschligt, Julia (Dan) Scherschligt, Mandi Pollard, Shelbi Pollard, April (Jeff) Teasley, Heather (Marley) Smith, Jennifer Beffert, Miles (Shanna) Risha, Amber (Buckley) O’Steen, Eric Risha, Tyler Risha, and Glen Risha; great grandchildren, Ayden He ffernan, Brooke Heffernan, Dresden Friar, Elee Friar, Austin Teasley, and Peydon Teasley; two sisters, Madeline (Cliffe) Smoole of Sun City, Arizona and Gloria Zentner of Stanaway, Washington; sister-in-law, Doris Risha of Cheyenne; and many nieces and nephews, including Joseph Risha of Burns, Wyoming. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mary Risha; two brothers, Edward Risha and Alfred Risha; sister, Lorraine Dieleman; nephew James ―Jeff‖ Elbert Ferrell; and niece Sandra Risha. Honorary pallbearers will be all of his grandchildren.