Eugene Donald Bookhammer, 94, of Lewes, passed away at his home Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013.
Gene was born on Twin Oaks Farm near Lewes June 14, 1918, son of William Hayes and Winifred (Jenkins) Bookhammer. He was the youngest of their 10 children.
Gene was graduated from Lewes High School in 1936 and married Mary Catherine (Kitty) Williams in 1942. They were married for 63 years.
Gene served in the Army in Europe during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Returning home, he resumed his lumber mill business and built a home near Love Creek for Kitty and his two daughters. The bridge over the creek is now named for him.
As a young man Gene became involved in Republican Party politics. He attended three national conventions as a delegate, and in 1962 was elected to the state Senate where he served as minority whip and majority leader. He was subsequently elected lieutenant governor for two terms serving with Gov. Russell Peterson and Gov. Sherman Tribbitt.
Gene was a member of many service organization and boards, among them, the Rehoboth Lions Club as president in 1948, and the Nur Temple Shrine as potentate in 1972. He was on the board of Wesley College and joined the board of Beebe Hospital in 1959, continuing his work with Beebe until his death.
He took great pleasure in giving back to the community where he was born and lived the whole of his life. He was always looking ahead and sought to remain positive and upbeat. Even during his last years he collaborated with author Richard Carter on "Gene Bookhammer and His World." This book came out in 2009. He enjoyed hunting, playing golf and cards at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club, and taking Kitty out dancing on Saturday night.
Gene was predeceased by his wife, Kitty, the love of his life, and by all of his nine siblings. He is survived by his daughters, Joy and her husband Orville Basinski of Rehoboth Beach, and Jeanie Greenhaugh of Milton.
The family gives special thanks to Jerry Scott for his care and friendship to Gene in his last years.
Gene was always looking for ways to serve and said he learned more from public service than he gave. Politics was a part of that, but his longtime association with Beebe Medical Center satisfied him the most. So, in lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in Gene’s memory to Beebe Medical Foundation, 902 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958.
Family and friends are welcome to celebrate Gene’s life and memory at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club at 11 a.m., Monday, March 4.
Arrangements by Parsell Funeral Homes, Lewes.