Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Gene Irvin Hollingsworth, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)
November 7, 1931 – June 17, 2017
Gene Irvin Hollingsworth Lt. Col. Ret. USAF 85 of Emmett passed away June 17, 2017 at an Eagle Assisted Living Center.
The family will receive friends at a visitation on Friday, June 30th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Potter Funeral Chapel in Emmett. A Memorial Gathering will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 2nd at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Emmett. Private interment with Military Honors will be held at Terrace Lawn Memorial Gardens in Boise.
Gene was born on November 7, 1931 in Chanute, Kansas to Irvin and Erma Hollingsworth, both who were teachers. He spent his early life on his grandparents’ farm in rural Kansas and he loved sports, competing in track, football, and basketball.
He enrolled at Kansas State College before enlisting in the Air Force in 1954. Gene flew the B-47 and the HH-53 helicopter, affectionately referred to as the Jolly Green Giant. With the 37th ARRS in Vietnam, he flew 91 total missions rescuing downed pilots under the most dangerous conditions. He was honorably discharged in 1975.
Gene retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, some of the highest honors awarded by the Air Force. Gene was a loyal and fiercely protective leader and he took great pride in flying aircraft for the USAF, protecting his country and loved ones.
Gene married the love of his life, Sharron Jean Grueber, on September 7, 1958 and together they raised three daughters. Following his retirement, Gene moved his family to Boise, Idaho, where he began a second career, restoring antique watches and clocks from all over the country. He always worked with attention to every detail and enjoyed preserving and sharing the history and beauty of antique timepieces. He also received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Boise State University.
Although Gene was a man of few words, his actions spoke volumes of the loving, supportive husband, father, and grandfather he was. He had a quick wit, a dry sense of humor, loved music and golf, and was an avid BSU football and basketball fan.
Gene is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sharron, daughters Stacy Lynn Hollingsworth-Barnett (Bob), Carol Jean Hollingsworth-Wilkinson (Dean), Linda Kaye Hollingsworth-Jones (Steve), grandchildren Justin and Joel Hunter, Derik Barnett, Ajay and Drew DeChambeau, Holli and Patrick Wilkinson, and Cation and Adarsh Jones.
Sharron and family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff at Edgewood and Compassus Hospice for their respectful and compassionate care of Gene in the last months of his life. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Wounded Veterans charity of your choice or the National Parkinson Foundation.
Published by Emmett Messenger Index from Jun. 26 to Jul. 25, 2017.
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