Charles Eugene (Gene) Peters passed away at home, in Bakersfield, CA, surrounded by his family on November 7, 2020 at the age of 92. Gene was born on August 19, 1928 in Meeker, Oklahoma to John and Cleo Peters. He was the oldest of five children.
On May 16, 1953 he married Ollie Peters and together they raised four children and were blessed with twelve grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
The Peters family moved to Bakersfield in 1936 when Gene was eight years old. They were a devout Irish Catholic family and Gene was an altar server at St. Joseph’s church and graduated from St. Francis High School in 1947. Gene’s life would come to be defined by his work ethic, which started from a young age. He would attend school all day and then bale hay at night. This began his lifelong career in agriculture and firmly rooted him in the rich soil of Kern County for his entire life.
Gene served as a military policeman in Berlin during the Korean War. Upon his return, he was introduced to his sister’s friend, Ollie Price, and was instantly smitten. After their first meeting, Gene told a friend that he had met the girl he was going to marry. Sixty- seven years later, she remained the love of his life.
Gene and Ollie moved to the Kern High School Farm where Gene served as the manager and taught countless children the value of Kern County Agriculture. He then went on to work for Nikkel Equipment Co. in Shafter. Gene retired in 1991 and the very next day, he went back to work. He began Peters Equipment Co. and until recently, he was managing property and cattle. Gene spent countless hours on the road traveling to farms and knew every highway and dirt road in the Central Valley. Much to his family’s chagrin, he always preferred the scenic route.
Gene was a founding parishioner of St. Philip the Apostle Church and served as head usher for decades. The church was central to Peters Family life and Gene ensured that his children and grandchildren were given the gift of faith.
While he had many interests, including piloting planes, woodworking, travel and driving his team of draft horses in parades, the project he was most proud of was the home he and Ollie built together. This property, affectionately known by Gene as “The Ranch”, became the gathering place of not only the Peters Family, but of many friends who became family. Gene and Ollie welcomed people into their home and their lives with a generosity of spirit that is unmatched. Gene never met a stranger and everyone who entered their home left with a sense of belonging and a feeling of family.
As Gene grew older and his body grew weaker, his work ethic grew stronger. He continued to work until his very last days. And while he was not large in stature, to his family, he was a giant among men.
Gene will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Ollie and their children, Brad and Liz Peters, Kim Gerdes, Cheryle and Brooke Fleming and Liz and John Neuman; his brother Ken Peters and his goddaughter Stephanie Tobias. Gene will also be fondly remembered by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were the light of his life.
The family would like to thank those who lovingly cared for Gene in his final days, especially Jaz from Davita Dialysis Center, the staff and nurses at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, the nurses from Hoffman Hospice and his private caretakers, especially Ghazalla Azeem.
The rosary will be prayed on Thursday, November 12, at 7PM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Bakersfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Gene on November 13, at 10AM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Graveside services will follow at Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Gene’s honor to the Angioma Alliance, an organization dear to Gene, which funds research advancement for the rare disease that affects two of his grandsons. Angioma Alliance, 977 Seminole Trail, Box 367, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
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