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Robert Eugene “Gene” Reece, 79, of Rogers, Arkansas, passed away on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at Circle of Life Hospice Legacy Village in Bentonville.
Gene seemed doomed to be a Texan when he was born July 29, 1939, in the west Texas town of Plainview to Eugene Leonard Reece and Eva Idell (James) Reece.
He recovered quickly after he and his family escaped Texas, moving to a farm outside Bentonville in 1954. Gene always said that after growing up in the dust storms of west Texas, the greenery of Arkansas seemed like heaven. Gene graduated in the Bentonville High Class of 1957 and then stole the heart of Linda Covey, who married him there in 1961.
Gene and Linda worked relentlessly to build a family and a future. He worked two and sometimes three jobs to feed his growing family, including serving as a survey crew chief for the construction of Beaver Dam on the White River. Gene also served in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve during this time.
With his family established, Gene attended the University of Arkansas and graduated with BSCE and MSCE degrees. During his 33-year career as a civil engineer, he earned Professional Engineer certification in five states and contributed his unique expertise to hundreds of private-sector and public works projects.
At McClelland Consulting in Fayetteville, Gene designed the first concrete testing laboratory (Escomlab) in Northwest Arkansas. In 1970, he joined Crafton, Tull and Associates in Rogers, where he earned partner status and worked until retirement in 2000. Later on, he was inducted into the Arkansas Engineering Hall of Fame.
Public service was important to Gene, who was a member of the Fayetteville Kiwanis Club and former president of the Rogers chapter of Rotary International.
Gene was a faithful member of First United Methodist Church in Rogers, serving the church in many different roles since 1971. Music was always an important part of Gene’s life. He was a longtime tenor in the church choir, SPEBSQSA member and joyous participant in the Rogers Barbershop Choir.
Gene is survived by his bride of 58 years, Linda Jewel (Covey) Reece; two sons, Robert C. Reece and wife, Melanie of Broomfield, Co., and Randy Reece and wife, Teresa of San Diego, Ca.; sisters, Sharon Doyle of Rogers, and Virginia Honeycutt of Hollister, Mo.; and grandchildren Lauren Reece, Jackson Reece and Miranda Reece.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents; his eldest sister, Lendell (Reece) Meyer; and his younger brother, Leon Reece.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2019 at Stockdale-Moody Funeral Services in Rogers.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 3, 2019 at First United Methodist Church with Pastor Michael Mattox officiating. Burial will be at Bentonville Cemetery with military honors.
Gene asked that memorial contributions be made to First United Methodist Church of Rogers, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Circle of Life Hospice.