Eugene Michael Bleth passed away in the early hours of May 5, 2023, at the age of 75, having fought a long battle with cancer. He was born March 8, 1948, to Michael and Clara Bleth in Vancouver, Washington.
At 2 months of age, living on his grandfather’s farm, he and his family were caught in the 1948 flood of the Columbia River. They were able to make it out using a small boat with a five-horsepower motor, going upriver and dodging debris.
With most of their belongings lost in the flood, his parents bought a home off Fourth Plain Boulevard near Walnut Grove. He attended Peter S. Ogden Elementary and Lewis Junior High. Just before turning 14, he lost his father in 1962 in a truck accident involving black ice. He graduated from Hudson Bay High School in 1966. As a teenager, he delivered papers and worked at a gas station on Fourth Plain Boulevard.
He became a machinist with training at Clark College. His first job as a machinist was at Kenton Machine in North Portland. Around 1981, he started his own successful machine shop, Daybreak Enterprise. Being a very creative individual, he eventually built his own home using ideas he gathered over the years.
Later, he met Joanne Knutson who became the love of his life for 19 years until her passing in November 2022. She was the best thing to ever happen to him. She was ready and willing to take on any adventure Gene had in mind. Many times he remarked she was always happy. They enjoyed fishing, skiing, gardening, old cars, traveling, spending time with friends and summer visits to Ocean Falls, Canada.
He is survived by Joanne’s daughter Amanda (Aaron) Clark, her three children and Joanne’s son Ryan Knutson; his siblings Carol Huffman, Nancy Reinhart and Alan (Kathy) Bleth; as well as one nephew, five nieces, seven great-nephews and six great-nieces, plus many longtime friends.
A celebration of life is planned for noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2023, at McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge at 215 Hendrickson Drive, Kalama, Washington, 98625.
Evergreen Memorial Gardens is in charge of cremation.