Gene Arbaugh passed peacefully at his home in Emmett at the age of 80 on April 7, 2019. He was born in Ponca, Arkansas on January 26, 1939 and was raised with his family of 8 on the Buffalo River. He graduated from Jasper High School in 1958 and shortly thereafter moved to Caldwell. He worked for Simplot for 3 years and then at KIT Mfg for 25 years in all phases of production and then rose to become production manager in 1985 before his retirement. He raised 3 sons in the Sand Hollow area, Joe, Ross and Chris, in the beautiful home he built for his growing family. Gene’s love of the outdoors and hunting, fishing and camping interests stemmed from his young years of growing up on the Buffalo River. He’d gladly share the stories of his Idaho chukar hunting days with nephew Mike Godfrey and his faithful canine companion Spike. The bear hunting adventures with nephews Jack Arbaugh and Jerome Scroggins got amusing and more hilarious each time told but Jerome, Jack and Gene were close in age and he cared for them as brothers. His past several years he became interested in elk hunting with stepson John Overton and friend Tommy Thibault and each year around the camp fire was the recalculation of number of elk and deer taken off their favorite mountain with last count of 26.
He met Janice Coffin Overton and they married July 11, 1987. They worked together for the Forest Service out of the New Meadows Ranger District as lookouts on Granite and Pollock Mountain. He was presented with a plaque and special recognition for his 20 years of service, which meant the world to him. He was the “Voice of the Mountain” and prided himself when he spotted the fire first with the appropriate report to Payette Dispatch. He was credited with reporting 56 fires in one season. Together, Gene and Janice built their dream home on a channel of the Payette River in Emmett. This location was very special to Gene because of the memorable reflections of his growing up years on the Buffalo. They also built a beach, dock and playhouse and it continues to hold the the special memories for the next generation as the great grandchildren are enjoying it just the same. Gene and Janice enjoyed traveling after her retirement from the Forest Service in 2015 and Gene particularly enjoyed the excitement and pride of attending Luc’s football college games in Montana, Oregon and Idaho as well as Aubrie’s cheer competitions and the numerous other events and games of the grandchildren and great grandchildren that he was so very proud of. Growing up on the Buffalo River and attending a one room school house did not afford ball games much of any kind to the youngsters on the Buffalo, so it was Luc’s athletic abilities that sparked his interest to learn about the game but he really had difficulty of of keeping track of him out there on the field, always asking Janice, now what’s his number again! So, at breakfast one morning, Gene announced “Luc, you know it’s hard for me to always find you out there, cause you guys all dress the same….. so, I think you should wear pink socks and solve that problem! Luc, just smiled at his Papa but the next game, as Gene made his way with a bit of struggle to the bleachers due to his age and COPD, he noticed a player with pink socks and it brought tears to his eyes, knowing full well, that was Luc and he did that for his Papa! Gene is survived by his wife, Janice , son’s Ross Arbaugh and Chris Arbaugh and wife, Rachel, stepson John Overton, stepdaughter Angie Clancy and husband Bruce, grandchildren: Brian Arbaugh and wife Marie, Cisco Sena, Thomas Clancy and wife Karys, Lucas Overton, Aubrie Overton, Crystal Hanson and husband Dirk, Ashlynn Holtom and husband Ben, Brittanie Buhler, Shaun Arbaugh, Kristin Arbaugh, Dalton Arbaugh, Tanner Valvold, Chase Valvold and Dallis Buhler and wife Cierra and 18 great grandchildren.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, William Ross Arbaugh and Nora Villines Arbaugh, son Joe Arbaugh, siblings Roy Arbaugh, Rova Scroggins, Rosa Cody, Edith Dean, Conard Arbaugh and beloved granddaughter, Stefanie Sena.
In lieu of flowers please make any donations you may wish to Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
A celebration of Gene’s life will be held at the Potter Funeral Chapel on Thursday April 11th at 4:00 pm with a reception to follow. Everyone is welcome to attend.