Gene T. Reese, 86, of Harrison, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.
Gene was a 1950 graduate of Kirkman High School. Gene was on the Baseball Team & the Boxing Team at Kirkman. He won the Chattanooga Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Championships in 1949 & 1950. He then won the Southern Golden Gloves Championships in 1950 that was conducted in Nashville. He would have advanced to the National Golden Gloves Championships but his father talked him out of going by saying, “Son, those boxers at the Nationals box year-round and you only box a few months a year.
After Gene graduated from Kirkman High School in 1950, he married his high school sweetheart, Cherrie McDaniel, to whom he was married to for 47 years until her death in 1997. Later that year Gene was drafted into the Army and served his country for two years until his discharge.
When he returned home he worked with his father in his grocery store business. His father started building houses and Gene got the idea from his father and began building a few years later. He built houses in Gaylan Heights Subdivision and started his rental business. He built two houses in Lake Hills subdivision and later bought property in Harrison, and started building duplexes for rental property with his son and grandson. Their business grew and later became the Reese Family Partnership.
Gene regretted not going to the National Golden Gloves in 1950 so ten years later, at age 29 he decided to make a “Come Back”. He won the Chattanooga Golden Gloves in the “Classic Bout” with Richard Bachus that was fought at the Memorial Auditorium on January 29, 1960. Many folks remember this famous bout that was talked about as being the “Greatest Bout in Chattanooga”. He then advanced to the Southern Golden Gloves in Nashville but lost in the first round.
Gene began his career as a Referee/Judge in Amateur Boxing in 1962. He was an International Referee/Judge from 1986 through 2003 and continued as a National Referee/Judge until 2014 having served for 52 years as a Referee/Judge in Amateur Boxing. Gene traveled to 24 countries representing the United States Amateur Boxing. Among these countries he worked as a Referee/Judge were Russia, Africa, England, Puerto Rico, Cuba (5times), Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Canada, Peru, Greece, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Romania, Mexico, Thailand, Hungary, Argentina, Venezuela and Norway.
Gene also worked the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles as a Timekeeper. He was inducted into the Chattanooga Area Old Timers Association Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also named Official of the Year of USA Boxing at the National USA Convention in Augusta, GA, in 1998. He was inducted into the National Golden Gloves Hall of Fame in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2013.
Some of the amateur boxers that Gene officiated their bouts then later became professional world champions were Aaron Pryor, Frankie Liles, Frankie Randall, Marvin Johnson, Ray Mercer, Riddick Bowe, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones and Mike Tyson.
Gene truly loved amateur boxing. In the many years that he devoted himself to this sport, he was determined to abide by the Rules in the Rulebook and his officiating reflected this principle to the fullest. He called the bouts as honestly and fairly as he could with no partiality or prejudice toward either boxer and with safety for both boxers as his ultimate objective.
Gene was an active member of Bayside Baptist Church of Harrison, and the Faith/Jubilee Small Group Class. He was also a member of Harrison Masonic Lodge 114, a retired member of the Local I.B.E.W. Local 175 having worked as a journeyman electrician at several electrical shops and at T.V.A., from which he retired in 1993.
Gene was preceded in death by his first wife, Cherrie McDaniel Reese, his parents, Theron C. and Mildred Reese.
He is survived by his second wife, Janis S. Reese, his son, Gene K. Reese and wife, Suzanne, Harrison; his sister, Fay Alexander, Cocoa, Fl., two step-sons, Mike Hall, Harrison, and Steve Hall and wife, Dyana, Ooltewah; grandson, Shawn K. Reese and wife, Valerie, Chattanooga; granddaughter, Shannon E. Jacobs and husband, Paul, Scottsboro, Al.; step-grandson, Drew Hall, Ooltewah, and step-granddaughter, Ashley Gibbs and husband Eric, Harrison; four great-granddaughters, Elexis Hofbauer, Scottsboro; Kaley Reese, Chattanooga; Halle Hall and Annabelle Gibbs, Harrison.
The family will receive friends from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, at the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home and from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Bayside Baptist Church.
A Celebration of Gene’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Bayside Baptist Church, 6100 Highway 58, Chattanooga, Tn. 37341 with Reverend Grady Cooper and Reverend Kenneth McElhaney officiating.
Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, at National Cemetery on Bailey Ave.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Bayside Baptist Church Building Fund, 6100 Highway 58, Harrison, Tn. 37341.
Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com.