Gene was born on October 14‚ 1946‚ in Ogden‚ Utah. He acquired his love for anything that moves people (cars‚ trains‚ and airplanes) early. He would travel as a child with his Union Pacific engineer father whenever permitted. He graduated from Ben Lomond High School in 1965 and attended Weber State. After high school‚ he enlisted in the Navy and served on river patrol boats in Vietnam.
Gene met his wife‚ Joyce‚ after returning from Vietnam and married her on September 3‚ 1976. They shared numerous passions‚ including professional drag racing‚ skiing‚ riding their Harleys‚ and tooling around in their Model A. Gene was an avid sports fan‚ including Saints and Weber State football‚ and Ogden Raptors baseball.
Gene and Joyce loved traveling. They had been to every state and were working on going to every county‚ making it to about 1/3 of those counties. They had also traveled to Mexico‚ Canada‚ the Caribbean and Australia. Among their most memorable trips were Australia‚ the Gulf Coast‚ Cabo with friends for the friends’ wedding‚ a Caribbean cruise with neighbors and friends‚ a weekend trip to NYC‚ and a month-long Harley ride. The Australia trip lasted for five weeks. They rented a car and started driving‚ putting 10‚000 kilometers on the rental. They saw Sydney‚ Melbourne‚ Adelaide‚ Canberra‚ Alice Springs (including Uluru)‚ Cairnes‚ and the Gold Coast‚ and loved everything. Their trips to the Gulf Coast always included Saints games in New Orleans. They spent the winter of 2007 in their RV in Biloxi. They rode with several friends to the celebration for the Harley-Davidson 95th anniversary. The trip went through Yellowstone‚ Mount Rushmore‚ Milwaukee‚ north of the Great Lakes‚ Niagara Falls‚ Nashville‚ Oklahoma City‚ and Durango.
Gene spent 11 years as a lineman for Utah Power and Light‚ where he received an award for saving a fellow lineman who had been electrocuted while atop a pole. Gene soon found his passion for flying and was licensed as a pilot in 1979. During his flying career‚ he flew many different types of aircraft. He flew fire retardant tankers‚ smoke jumpers‚ infrared fire mapping missions‚ and lead plane during his wildland fire fighting career. Most recently‚ he was employed as chief pilot for Neptune Aviation Services of Missoula‚ Montana.
On September 1‚ 2008‚ Calvin Gene Wahlstrom‚ was responding to a dispatch to go to the Smitty Fire when the aircraft‚ Tanker 09‚ crashed on take-off from the tanker base at Stead‚ Nevada‚ just north of Reno.
Gene is loved and missed by his wife‚ family‚ and numerous friends.