Gene's Eulogy
by Peter Slaby

(Gene's brother-in-law)

Yo Gene, Peter here …. Hey, just heard of your death on 18 November 2021. Image, you almost made it to BIG NINE_OH! I wonder if I can pass the milestone. Anyway, Gene, while you and Sonia a walking amongst the stars, many four memories come to mind. In all these years I have known you and Sonia, there are three episode standing out in my mind:

How fateful, that as you were growing up in tiny Poth, then gaining a mechanical engineering degree from Texas University (1953) …. then landing a nice job at Milwaukee’s world class Allis-Chalmers, designing steam power turbines, your future love-in-life, my sister Sonia was growing up amongst a noisy pack of DANCERS and entertainers. Petroff Slaby School of Dance provided the backdrop for so much action. Later, 1937 saw Peter (that’s me) make his grand entrance. The mold was set. Slaby’s move to Whitefish Bay helped Sonia find employment, in 1953, managing the office of a well respected medical doctor …. BUT, THEN YOU ENTERED SONIA’S WORLD

Gene, I don’t remember much of what I heard about your courtship, as I had enlisted in the Marine Corps (1956), then stationed in Barstow, California. What news my noisy Slaby crowd sent me were comments like: “Well, that young Texas guy is sure quiet” and “WHAT?!, he don’t sing or DANCE??” …. GASP! …. more GASPING, “How can that be?” etc. Well Gene, Sonia married you anyway. 7 September 1957 found you married in a small, but lovely ceremony, then whisked away to the airport to fly away to Haiti. I returned to California. NOT apparent, immediately, but VOILA! Gene, you and Sonia forged that steady, unbroken team known as “SOGEN”.

Remember, Gene, in January 1958, I received orders to Hawaii and Japan. My two weeks leave brought me to Texas. Your purchase of a modest house, in Shavano Park provided a home front to practice your power plant talents with City Public Service utility. Thank you for taking me on the “MANDATORY” pilgrimage to the ALAMO …. and about town.

1959 found me back in Milwaukee, but you and Sonia quickly convinced me to enroll in St. Mary’s University (five semesters worth) starting January 1960. Beyond campus, my summer breaks were with you, in lovely Shavano Park. My local marine Corps Reserve unit usually used Camp Bullis for training.

BUT …. then, came the day (1961) when Eric, your male Weimaraner, decided to roam about the area. (Note: SOGEN helped manage San Antonio Dog Training Club: “Yea!”) Remember how angry you were! And how surprised I was: “Peter, let’s go. We have to find Eric. Off we charged, in your 1953 Jaguar XK120 coupe. Forty minutes, or so, we see Eric all dirty and stinky. “Eric, get in this car,” you shouted. Eric obeyed, by passing the seat, scrunching up on the back ledge next to the window. Eric whined …. you used tough language shouting “Eric, shut up, YUR NOT A HURTING’”. Boy were you mad. Back at 106 Bent Oak drive Eric slunk away to his mate, Vicky, who gave Eric the cold shoulder. Later, you commented “Boy, that Eric is something else.” Gene, your anger here did not match your normal, mild, steady demeanor. Thank you and Sonia, though, of NEVER voicing any vulgar language, ever, to my eye and ear. Eric groveled back, asking forgiveness. Such is life

Also, in 1961, the trip you, your friend and Sonia, made to North Miami, Florida, to haul back Slaby’s 35 foot Spartan mobile home. NERVOUS NELLIE SONIA was a “white knuckle wreck”, finally reaching home base. Amazing how you “COOL” guys still managed to comfort Sonia. I had stayed back to manage the house and animals. Later, the Spartan moved to Babcock Trailer Park out on Fredericksburg Road. Sonia was happily ABSENT.

Well, the years went by, the move to Elmendorf (Box 25). Peter returned to active duty in 1965 …. discharged from Marine Corps duties in 1968 …. the arrival of two children, Clay and Carrie … the move to Box 31 (20 acres) …. umpteen shuttle runs between Milwaukee–Texas …. Gene’s work with Braunig and Calaveras power plants …. Sonia’s kids and “rule the library” …. and that magnificent, custom made TREE HOUSE sprawling amongst the big, Live Oak, Box 25. Gene, and Peter’s father, Petroff, did well. The Mexico commission …. SOGEN’s many trips to Milwaukee to advise and do Slaby income taxes …. the move to Poth / Wilson County as “SOGEN’s” children flew off on their own …. “SOGEN’s” community activities …. all the time, maintaining family connections.

Time to wrap up. Gene and Sonia, I can safely say you have exemplified the spirit and substance of the “MOTHER TREE” effect. “MOTHER TREE what?” you ask! Think of some big, old trees, scattered about, in a healthy forest. These elder trees have been nurturing all that underground, interconnected web of life to help protect new growth …. the next generation of plant life.

Extend the “MOTHER TREE” concept to humans. Parents, and elders, across the board, can all play a role providing their knowledge and wisdom to the next generations(s). Gene, you and Sonia certainly have “PASSED THE TORCH” to the future, allowing Clay, Carrie, Steve, Sydney, Jillian the chance to handle responsibilities that come with holding “THE TORCH”, in hand.

Gene, this 84 year Milwaukee would be happy to treat you and Sonia to lunch. Words out, that nifty new cafe, called HIFI, located just on the backside of HD 140253, the METHUSELAH star, is featuring tasty MOONBEAM CHEDDAR SLAW. But there is more. They finally found a way to safely harvest BLUBBER BASE from good old BLACK HOLE: SAGITTARIUS ALPHA. HIFI CAFE moved quickly to snag a barrel of “BASE”, the key ingredient in their BLUE BLUBBER BOMBS. Stand by, when our Milky Way galaxy crowd spreads the word on U-TUBE.

Cheers, Peter Ivan. “See ya later, alligator!”


“Finding the Mother Tree” by Suzanne Simard

HD 140283 (or the Methuselah star)

See ya later, alligator – After while, crocodile