‘Smokey’ Stover: Fond memories
My husband of 54 years recently passed away on April 17, and it has taken me until now to be able to sit down and write this article due to my emotions being so close to the surface.
Eugene “Smokey” Stover was born on Oct. 1, 1933, in Gainsville, Ga., the youngest of seven children. He had four brothers and two sisters, and weighed 12 pounds at birth. I always liked hearing stories about his family life growing up on the farm.
We met on Jan. 5, 1958, in Portland, Ore., and it turned out to be the luckiest day of my life. My southern gentleman and I were married on Dec. 5, 1958, at the United Methodist Church in Long Beach, Calif. We raised three children together all born in different states and now live in three different states. Ron lives in Nevada, Russ lives in Missouri and Sheryl lives in California. We also have a great son-in-law named Lonnie. We have seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren including two sets of twins. Smokey was a great husband and father.
He served in the U.S. Navy as an electrician from 1953 – 1963 after his graduation from high school. He worked at KVAL-TV in Eugene, Ore., from 1963-1967 as a film editor. He worked at KCRA-TV in Sacramento from 1967-1978 as a lab technician processing color news film. We moved to this area in 1979 and he worked at Bently Nevada Corp. in Minden as assistant video manager, making in-house and on-location training tapes for Bently Nevada customers.
On Jan. 15, 1982, Smokey had what they call a sudden cardiac death at work. Thanks to the quick action from Walt Kesteloot and Matt Thompson, they gave him CPR until the paramedics arrived. As it turned out, these two guys gave us 31 more years of marriage we almost didn’t have. He had to retire on disability.
Smokey was raised Baptist and I was raised Methodist, but in 1985, we both became born again Christians and were baptized together in the river in Gardnerville.
Smokey became ill a couple years ago and began to lose a lot of weight. It turned out to be an incurable lung disease. When things got worse he expressed a desire to remain at home. One of the reasons I’m writing this column is to let this community of ours know of the great help we were getting that Smokey and I were so grateful for. I could not have kept him at home until his passing without the help of so many wonderful people.
A special thanks goes to Dr. Evan Easley who was his primary doctor for so many years; to Pastor Pete Nelson from the Carson Valley United Methodist Church in Gardnerville for his visits with us in our home. What a busy guy he is. The group from Lincare for always making sure he got the supplies he needed. He was on oxygen 24/7.
A special thanks to all the gals at Raley’s who helped him grocery shop when he didn’t feel well and couldn’t find everything he needed; To Wanda Brown and Connie Moore for helping to make his last two birthdays pleasant days for him; To Maria Rico and Yolanda Vera for being great caregivers and friends to us both; To Sher Sams of Carson City for taking this last photo of Smokey when he was in the hospital in February; To our friends Fred and Diane Harris or Orangevale, California for being our true friends for over 45 years. And a very special thanks to Vista Care Hospice, especially Dee Dee, Janelle, Tonya, Judy, Brian and Pam. God bless all of you for your help and friendship. Autumn of Carson City was in charge of final arrangements. They are wonderful people.
I know he is in Heaven with our Lord. I know he is loved and safe. I suspect he is playing basketball with some of his old high school buddies that have passed on before him. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know I will miss him and still love him all the rest of my days.
Sharon R. Stover is a Gardnerville resident.