June 5, 1939 - July 8, 2020
Just a short 24 hours after a special tribute with a classic car parade, we lost a great man, Eugene Ridge Lassen on July 8, 2020 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was a loyal husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Gene was born at home on June 5, 1939 to Wilma Ridge and Henry Eugene Lassen. He was a lifelong resident of Provo and graduated from Provo High School in 1957, an era where cars were classy and the ladies were even classier. This is where “Rebel Without A Cause” met “Snow White”. He married his “bride”, Nanette Christensen on November 17, 1961. That same year Gene also served in the US Army Reserves for 1 year before transferring to the US Air Force Reserves, where he served for an additional 5 years at Hill Air Force Base in the engineering department. He was able to visit Italy while in the Reserves, but said he didn’t really care for it much. He had many reasons, but the one we find most funny is . . . “the ham was so thin you could read a newspaper through it”. Gene was always mechanically inclined and started his automotive career at Mitchell’s garage. He also ran a gas station and worked at Studebaker before starting his own business at Gene’s Auto Repair on south University Avenue in 1970. When he wasn’t working on a car, you’d often find him visiting with friends who stopped by for some good conversation and a cold beer or three before heading home. He retired after 25 years of running a successful mechanics shop. Not one to sit idle for long, after his retirement he went to work for Larsen’s Auto Wrecking and Hundley’s Garage before starting a boat sales and repair business with his son Darryn in 1997. Up until a few months ago you could often find Gene at the shop, sitting in his chair sleeping or reading a good book or puttering around working on various small projects. Anytime anyone in the family broke down or needed help, Gene was always there. He had the uncanny ability to fix anything mechanical. And if he wasn’t there to fix it himself, with a few “choice words” he could tell you what was wrong, even if it was over the phone 300 miles away while you were stranded in the middle of Lake Powell. He also specialized in Pinewood Derby cars, school engineering projects, fishing for fishing poles that fell overboard and whatever else we needed his amazingly diverse skillset for. If you could get beneath that rough around the edges “Mean Gene” exterior, inside there was a man with a heart of gold. Gene enjoyed traveling. He went on several cruises with family and friends, including a riverboat cruise in Europe. He also enjoyed riding roller coasters, visiting Six Flags in St. Louis, MO and Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. His other loves were boating while donning his ugly hat on Sundays at Utah Lake, going to Lake Powell and for the past 10 years riding ATV’s and camping at Beaver Creek. In addition, he liked reading and watching the NatGeo channel, Dr. Pol and any other program where you learned something. We’re certain he knew more about animals, insects and various other topics than most. Another real passion of Gene’s was restoring classic cars. He had a dream of finding and restoring a 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 Convertible. The same car he had when he was a junior in high school. He sold his beloved Olds to buy a Pontiac when he married, but never forgot about that car. In 1976 he restored a 1956 Ford Thunderbird for his wife and in the early 80’s after much looking, he found a not so suitable Oldsmobile replacement underneath another car in a junk yard. Gene worked tirelessly on this car, meticulously restoring it back to its original “Beauty”. It is a stunning blue and white classic 2 door with a white soft top and chrome spoke wheels. This car has made appearances in the Autorama, Saturday’s Warrior, multiple 4th of July parades and a Robert Redford premier. As well as, many car shows where it won numerous best convertible and best in show awards. Gene always said this car was his legacy and we most definitely agree. In addition, he restored a Mercedes SL300 Gullwing, several trucks, a 1964 Ford Fairlane for his daughter, Leanette and a 1967 Ford Bronco for his son, Darryn. About a year ago we decided to start documenting all of Gene’s clever sayings which we affectionately call “Geneisms”. While most are likely not appropriate for print here, some of his good “G” rated ones are; “you’re busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger, you’re wound up tighter than an 8 day clock, I’ve heard ducks fart under water and that smell could knock a dog off of a gut wagon”, just to name a few. In classic Gene fashion these words would roll off his tongue right up until the very end. While we feel like a part of our world is missing, we’d imagine that the conversation at the old man’s coffee table in heaven just got a little more lively. Gene used to go to coffee every morning for years with a bunch of his friends. If you didn’t arrive by 7 a.m. you were late. And if you didn’t show up at all, the other guys would talk about you. Or at least that’s what Gene would say. That’s why he never missed a morning until they disbanded because most of his friends had passed before him. Well Gene, they’re not talking about you anymore, but we sure are. Gene is survived by his wife, Nanette; daughter, Leanette; son, Darryn (Stacy); grandchildren and lights of his life, Hunter and Kaylee Lassen; sister, JaNet Allen, Glendale, AZ; and his faithful companion Max. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Katherine. Until we see you again Dad, Geno, Old Man, G-pa, we love you and don’t forget to leave a light on for us. UPDATE! We are planning to celebrate Gene’s life on Thursday, July 30, 2020, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Gene's Shop, 370 N Draper Lane, Provo, Utah. All are welcome. If you have any questions or need additional information, please send a reply to [email protected] Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.bergmortuary.com.
Just a short 24 hours after a special tribute with a classic car parade, we lost a great man, Eugene Ridge Lassen on July 8, 2020 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was a loyal husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Gene was... View Obituary & Service Information
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