Monday, March 20, 2023

Eugene ‘Gene’ Albert Lees, 87, metallurgical engineering graduate who retired as GE general manager

Eugene "Gene" Albert Lees
Eugene “Gene” Albert Lees

Eugene “Gene” Albert Lees died at his home on Sept. 22, 2015, at the age of 87.

He was born in Millwood, Washington and was preceded in death by his parents, Edna Marie Lees and Dale Garrett Lees, and his brother Leonard Dale Lees.

Gene was in the U.S. Army with the rank of master sergeant during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. After his discharge, he attended the University of Idaho and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering. He married Ruth Steinvall in May of 1956 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He began his career with General Electric in 1958. While there he completed his Master of Science in metallurgical engineering from Stanford University.

In 1969 Gene moved his family to Tokyo, Japan to participate in a joint venture with Hitachi, Toshiba and General Electric. In 1972, he transferred to Wilmington with GE in Castle Hayne where he would later retire as general manager in 1990. After retiring, Gene was a consultant for the Atomic Energy Commission and served as chairman of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Later he was vice chairman of NHRMC Foundation Board and served as general chairman of the Coastal Classic Golf Tournament from 2003 to 2005. He was an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church since 1972.

Gene is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruth; daughters, Nancy Marie Lees, of Wilmington and Kimberley Jean Baker and husband Brian, of Huntersville; son, Garrett Ragner Lees and wife Julie, of Santa Rosa, California; grandchildren, Erik Eugene Guthrie, of Atlanta, Jonathan Hayes Guthrie and Stephanie Lynn Guthrie, both of Wilmington, Aaron Woodard Baker and Andrea Louise Baker, both of Huntersville and Colin Garrett Lees, Nathan Gene Lees and Emily Ruth Lees, of Santa Rosa, California; great-grandson, Easton Hayes Guthrie, of Atlanta; and sister-in-law, Mildred Lees, of San Jose, California and her three daughters and grandchildren.

One of Gene’s greatest passions was golf. He was also an avid sports fan, especially of his 49ers. He and Ruth were long-standing members of Pine Valley Country Club and The Surf Club at Wrightsville Beach.

Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at St. John’s Episcopal Church. A reception will follow at the parish hall.

Donations can be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church or The New Hanover Medical Center Foundation.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

To view the full list of Port City Daily obituaries, click here.

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