Eugene Lewis Chrysler, 94 of Marathon, NY passed away early Wednesday morning at his home and entered into the Kingdom of Heaven. Gene was born at home in Endwell, NY in a house on Farm-To-Market Road on April 10, 1927, the son of Raymond Lee Chrysler and Edna Mae Brown. He is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Wanda (Albert) of more than 70 years and four sons and two daughters; Charles (Gail) Chrysler, Richard Chrysler, Thomas (Doreen) Chrysler, all of Marathon, Peggy (Chris) Heichel of Mansfield, PA, Kym BenYaakov of Hadera, Israel, and Peter (Misty) Chrysler of Spring City, PA. He is also survived by a sister, Lena (Gene) Dougherty of Candor, NY. He was predeceased by four grandchildren and son-in-law: Rev. David Caldwell, Debbie, Phoebe and Jai Caldwell in 1990 when their lives were taken by a drunk driver and Stephen Chrysler in 2001. Also, predeceased by brothers’ Robert (Helen) Chrysler of Fort Worth, Texas, Glenn Chrysler (KIA - WWII 10th Mountain Div in the Po Valley offensive), sisters’ Joan (George Beebe) of Speedsville, NY, Sami (Bruce Abbey) of Chenango Bridge, NY, brother David (Sharon) Chrysler of Binghamton, and sister Bonnie Grist of the Binghamton area.
Together, Gene and Wanda had 29 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren (with more on the way), and one great-great grandson, Hudson Owen.
At 16 years of age, Gene lied his age to join the Navy, afraid that the war would be over before he could get in the service. His two older brothers were already serving in the Army. He was caught lying his age and sent home where he had to return to school. While going to school, he also worked on a farm. The farmer wanted him to get a commercial driver’s license so he could drive the milk truck to the creamery so Gene went to the DMV and they stamped his license “commercial” without a test. When he turned 17 - the legal age to join - he quickly signed back up. He was sent to boot camp and assigned to the “SeaBees” (C.B. as in Construction Battalion). Since he already had a commercial driver’s license, he was chosen to be trained as a heavy equipment operator and sent to the Pacific in New Caledonia where he operated a crane unloading liberty ships to keep supplies going to all the ships in the Navy. On his 18th birthday, he received a letter from home figuring it had to be a birthday wish. Instead, a newspaper clipping fell out of an announcement that his brother Glenn had been killed in action in Italy during the Po Valley offensive. About the same time, President Roosevelt dropped dead and Harry Truman was being sworn into office. It was a low point in his life even though he wasn’t a fan of FDR. Shortly thereafter, Japan capitulated and Gene was sent to port in Sasebo, Japan for the next nine months during the Occupied Japan period. While there, and because he had a commercial license, he was given the duty to occasionally drive officers to the still smoldering ruins of Nagasaki. We have joked that is the reason his sons are all bald. After returning from Japan, he was honorably discharged an he returned to school in Candor and finished high school, graduating at 20 years of age.
Gene then went to Cornell under a program to be trained as a certified milk tester. After getting his certification, he travelled around Western New York teaching farmers how to test and graph results of their milk production. While doing this, the Korean War broke out and Gene immediately signed back up in the Navy. This time he went in as a boatswain mate and MP with a rank of petty officer. He was assigned to the Battleship USS New Jersey. While it was being retrofitted in Brooklyn Yards, Gene would travel to Binghamton on weekends. While he was in Binghamton, he met (on a blind date) and fell in love with his wife to be, Wanda Albert who had just moved north from her childhood home in Florida. Two months later, they were married and Gene was shipped overseas. And the rest is history.
In 1958, Gene attended an evangelist meeting and as a result, accepted Christ as his savior and became a solid Christian man who was determined to instill Christian values in his family. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Marathon for 63 years and rarely missed a church service until his health became an issue. For a time, Gene also served as Chaplain for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.
During his life, Gene had been a farmer and built a large dairy farm, but when route 81 came through in the early 60’s, his farm was cut off from a couple hundred acres of crucial farmland and and was forced out of the farming business. He then started his own electrical contracting business known as Marathon Electric. While doing that, his son Tom had been selling and trading guns with other kids and building up a good base of customers for a Gun Shop. Gene was already a gunsmith, so it was natural for him to build the business into a sporting store called Chrysler’s Gun Shop which he ran while also working a full time job as a contractor. He finally closed down his contracting business after being offered a job he couldn’t pass down and became an Electrical Inspector for the New York Board of Fire Underwriters in the Syracuse area. After more than 20 years at the board, he finally retired. Always looking to stay busy after retirement, he and his wife built Chrysler’s Bed and Breakfast which they successfully ran for the next 25 years.
In the past year, Gene’s health deteriorated and on August 25th, 2021, Gene passed into the arms of his savior, Jesus Christ.
Gene lived an incredible life and was able to travel around the world with his wife and do so many crazy things that made life fun and interesting. He saw highs as well as dealt with tragedies that changed the family’s lives forever. Gene was determined to be a good man and to always to do the right thing - it drove him and he more than met that challenge. He will be sorely missed by his large family and friends who loved him dearly.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, August 28th at 2PM at the Marathon Baptist Church. For a more extensive obituary, please visit the Funeral Home’s web site where personal condolences can be left.
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