BOSSIER CITY, La. —The Kersten family announces the passing of Major Gene A. Kersten, 79 years young, into heaven on Jan. 27, 2018, where he is surely continuing to make everyone laugh with his charming wit and great story telling.
Gene was an unforgettable man, making sure everyone he ever met had a great time in his presence. He was a man of character, integrity, loyalty, common sense, with a wicked intellect and incredible sense of humor. He led an amazing life from start to finish, full of fun (possibly too much!) and adventure along the way. He was a jack of all trades; an avid golfer, hunter, and fisherman, whom his buddies nicknamed the "Halibut King." He could run a pool table or a chess match, and no matter what, he made sure he was home by 4:30 p.m. to watch Jeopardy.
He started his life adventure in the small town of Ashton, on Aug. 19, 1938. He grew up a hard-working and mischievous farm boy, racing cars and raising cane. After going to school in a one-room school house, he moved “into town” to attend Ashton High School, where he enjoyed playing basketball, baseball and football. He left Illinois to attend college at Arizona State University where the weather was hot and the “babes were hotter”; and he never looked back.
After graduating from ASU, he became a career officer in the US Air Force. While stationed in New York, he met and married the love of his life, Karen Anderson, whom he has been married to for 48 years. While stationed in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, he and Karen adopted their loving daughter, Penney. After retiring from Barksdale Air Force Base, he worked at Centenary College of Louisiana as the procurement manager.
Once fully retired, he spent many happy years golfing - too many times a week to count. He also enjoyed his role as an original member of the Krewe of Centaur and worked as a volunteer to give back to his community. He volunteered for Operation Blessing Food Pantry, driving patients to and from their appointments for the American Cancer Society, winning an award for his dedication last year, and was an integral part of the Bossier Sheriff's Posse for over a decade. His greatest joys in life are his loving family: wife, Karen, daughter, Penney, son in law, Steve, and Steele, his smart, funny and thoughtful grandson, of whom he is so very proud.
It's been a tough couple of years with this last battle of cancer, but anyone who has known Gene, knows he is tough as nails and he used up his nine lives several years ago, from overcoming polio as a child, rolling car wrecks as a teen, a crash landing in a small plane as an adult, beating several different kinds of cancers over these last 20 years like a champ, and surviving a liver transplant over 11 years ago. Just like he lived life—hard-working, hysterically funny and stubborn—so did he pass. Too stubborn to quit, and funny until the end. He's lived a life full of fun and adventure, as all of us should strive to do.
We are so incredibly grateful to his many wonderful doctors, including his transplant doctors, the amazing Dr. Zabari and Dr. McMillan and his wonderful oncology surgeon, Dr. Ghali and nurse, Diane. We are thankful to the Amedysis Hospice team for making this entire last year easy and light-hearted. Mostly our heart and thanks go out to his friends and family who have come to visit from near, to as far away as Missouri, Illinois, California and Colorado. Those friends and bonds have meant so much to him, and he is so thankful for all of you.
Please join us for his Celebration of Life Service from 5:30 – 8 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at Boone Funeral Home, 2156 Airline Dr., Bossier City, LA, 71111.
Burial Services will be from noon to 12:30 p.m., on Friday, Feb 2, at the Northwest Louisiana Veteran's Cemetery in Keithville, LA, 71047.