April 2, 1951 — Jan. 20, 2012
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of our father, brother “Butchie” or “Butch,” friend, uncle, grandfather and dear loved one, Gene Lewis Harter Jr., on Jan. 20, 2012. Gene was 60 years old. Born on April 2,1951, at Saint Johns Hospital in Oxnard, Calif., he was the first child born to Gene and Dolorous Harter. He grew up in Oxnard with his two younger sisters and graduated from Hueneme High School, where he played on the football team in 1969. He was a strapping young man with stunning good looks.
After graduating high school in 1969 Gene joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Vietnam as an air frame mechanic/helicopter gunner. He was stationed in Pleiku Vietnam. As with many, the war had a huge effect on him but he was eager to return to a normal life, to start a family and to help others. After Vietnam he worked for Camarillo State Hospital as a psychiatric technician where he met and married his young co-worker, Marina Lynn Andriola, in 1974. Gene and Marina had two children: their first born, Brian Marc Harter, in 1974 and in 1976 their daughter, Alysia Lynn Harter, was born.
In 1981 Gene married Lynda Horton in the garden of her parents’ Vacaville home. His third child, Chelsea Gene Harter, was welcomed into the family in 1986. Chelsea was a gift to the entire family.
Gene loved off-road motorcycles and his first driver’s license was a motorcycle license. Bikes became a lifelong passion for him. He also loved fixing up cars, trucks and bikes over the years — from Harleys to Volkswagens to Cadillacs, he was a self taught mechanic. He enjoyed white water rafting on the American River and became a professional guide during the summer months. His favorite trips down the river were with friends and family. He taught himself to play the banjo. He also loved to barbecue ribs, smoke different types of meat and was proud of his chili, making big batches to share with his friends.
Gene worked for El Dorado County for many years. After his employment with the County in 1996 he maintained a strong presence with the County as a Senior Business Agent with the Public Employees Union No. 1, both at EDCEA, Local No. 1 and UPE Local No. 1 of Sacramento. Gene was also the President of his own Union Local One, overseeing other business agents and office staff for more than 13 years. He earned the respect of his colleagues, superiors and staff through his leadership, dedication and advocacy. He was always a fair and honorable man.
Gene looked forward to motorcycle runs with his friends and meeting up with fellow enthusiasts up and down the state with his long term girlfriend and partner, Barbara Partain, with whom he lived and shared his life. He bought his 2000 Harley Davison FXDX Super Glide Sport in 2001 and was always adding to it because nothing was ever fast enough. He was a member of Hangtown HOG, Folsom HOG, Motherload HOG and the American Legion Riders.
Gene had an enormous heart; virtually everyone whose life he touched from the early days to now would all agree that he was one of the most generous men they knew. His kind spirit has helped many people through rough times and his laugh would make anyone smile. He had a wicked sense of humor and loved a good prank — something that truly ran in the family. He always made sure you knew that whatever troubles you had going on, everything would work out for the best.
Gene leaves his three children, Brian Harter Andriola, Alysia Harter Andriola and Chelsea Gene Gutierrez; his son-in-law, Jorge Gutierrez; his grandchildren, Roman Gray, Isabelle Gutierrez, Danica Gutierrez and Isaiah Gutierrez; his long term girlfriend, Barbara Partain and their three dogs, Harley, Willey and Crash; Barbara’s daughter, Amanda Partain and granddaughter, Aleigha McNamara; his sisters, Sharron Pillard and Jann Huling-Harter; his brothers-in-law, Barry Pillard and John Huling; nephews, Ian Huling and Vincent Pillard; and his nieces, Kelly Dovalina, Victoria Horton and Rachel Horton. He will also be missed by his many, many good friends and colleagues whose lives he touched. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gene Harter in 1992 and Dolorous Harter 2011; and his nephew, Tyler Huling in 1982.
The family encourages all who knew Gene to participate in a celebration of his life on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 1p.m., at the Placerville Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville, Calif. A private graveside service will be held for the family on Monday, Feb. 13, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road in Dixon, Calif.