He was born March 8, 1916 in Chelan to Clayton and Julia Fay Carpenter.
Clayton was a stagecoach driver and Fay worked at the Chelan hotel.
He had a younger brother Kenny, a buddy all his life.
They played pirates with the neighbor children in an old barn on the edge of town.
After attending high school in Wenatchee, the family moved to Spokane.
He started playing accordion at age 14 after six general music lessons and graduated to piano, organ, vibes and at age 70 electric bass guitar.
He has played at most music venues in and around Spokane including the Moulin Rouge, the Monkey Room at the Sillman hotel, the Ridpath Roof, Pine Shed, Moose Lodge, and lastly the BOF.
He was also on KFPY radio in the Hootin Holler Dude Ranch band in the late 30s.
After the Four Melody Men broke up, he played with the Expo Four for forty years.
In the summers, the Melody Men entertained at a resort at Flathead Lake, a fun diversion.
He also taught music to make ends meet.
He applied to the military in WWII, but was deferred due to “flat feet, color-blindness and an ulcer” two or all of the above, so worked at Brown Industries for a time.
In 1938 he married Dolores West a beautiful brunette from Georgia and began a family.
He had three daughters, Marilyn Faye, Gayle Eileen, and Melody Ann.
The family grew to 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
In 1975 he married Winnona Clarke, who was a singer and shared his sense of humor and they had a great 21 years together before her passing.
His other great love was motorcycles.
He first rode one at age 18 and had not been far from one since.
He collected, repaired, bought and sold 36 bikes in his life and at one time owned eight and had to build a bigger garage.
He rode til he was 89 years old and his hip gave out.
He was a member of Spokane First Church of the Nazarene, the American Motorcyclist Association, The Roving Gamblers Motorcycle Club, The Spokane and Inland Northwest Accordion Club, and a lifetime member of The Musicians Union.
He still went to motorcycle meetings until shortly before his death.
He had a super sense of humor and had friends everywhere.
He was always happy (except when working on a car and we kids always knew he loved us and would do anything for us).
He loved Chinese food, lobster, grapes, cats, and all different kinds of music.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brother, and two wives.
He is survived by his special love and roomate of 17 years, Mardi Luppert who gave him a gracious old age in their own home.
He is also survived by his three daughters and sons-in-law: Marilyn (Jim) Hill, Gayle (Brick) Cortner, and Melody (Perry) Roberts; grandchildren: Tracey Ellsworth, Brenda Fullmer, Leslie Nairine, and Jill Walker, Beckey Benning, Erin Lamb-Davies, Woody and Brandon Cortner, Belinda Johnson, Ben Thompson and Carrie Kish, along with many greats and great-greats.
We have all been so lucky to have him and share his life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the charity of your choice.
The Memorial Service will be at 11:00 am Wednesday, August 28th at Spokane First Church of the Nazarene (9004 N. Country Homes Blvd, 99218).
If you wish to send a memory of Gene to be read at the service, please email the pastor at Billv@ffnaz.org.
Arrangements entrusted to
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