PORTLAND — Gene Sturgeon, 84, died Dec. 27 at Maine Medical Center after a brief illness.
Sturgeon was born at Goodall Hospital in Sanford on Aug. 27, 1928. He was the only child of Vinar “Red” and Pauline Sturgeon.
He attended Portland schools and graduated from Deering High School in 1946. While at Deering, Sturgeon lettered in football, baseball and basketball and was a member of the 1946 Championship Deering Telegram League baseball team.
After graduating high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Philippine Sea and the U.S.S. Kearsarge. He accompanied Adm.l Byrd on his third expedition ot Antarctica, known as Operation Hi Jump. Throughout his service he continued to play both basketball and baseball and after he was discharged, he returned to Portland and played in the Portland Twilight League for Roy’s Diner and Aceto’s Atoms.
In 1948, Sturgeon enrolled at the University of Maine where he excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field. He was a defensive back on the football team and was named All-Yankee Conference and All-New England Small College defensive back in 1951. In addition to playing football, Sturgeon played baseball and later played for the Portland Press Herald Baseball Team.
He completed his undergraduate degree in 1952 and received his master’s degree in education in 1953.
Sturgeon married Judy Keegan on Dec. 30, 1950, and the pair lived in Portland where he worked for Travelers Insurance Company and played baseball for several teams in the Twilight League.
After their first child was born they moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he played semi-professional baseball for the Boston Braves organization. In 1955 he accepted a position with the Connecticut Light and Power Company in Hartford, Conn. He later worked in several capacities for Northeast Utilities including director of External Public Relations.
He retired from Northeast Utilities in 1991. Sturgeon was a member of the Atomic Industrial Forum Committee on Public Affairs and Information and a member of the American Nuclear Society. He served as vice chairman of the Connecticut Industrial Development Council of New England and was a corporator of the Middletown Savings Bank, a director of the Middletown Industrial Development Corporation and a Director of Mid-Conn Bank.
He was also continuously active in YMCA affairs and was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Berlin-Kensington YMCA. He served as the chairman of many United Funds Campaigns. Throughout his life he continued to nurture his love of athletics, coaching Little League baseball and working as a Division I college basketball referee for 25 years.
An avid reader, Sturgeon kept busy with many other activities. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the Kora Shrine, Master of the Presumpscot Lodge #70 in Windham, member of the Lake Region Shrine Club and the Portland Shrine Club. He was a 2005 inductee into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and a 2006 inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. He was also a past president of the IAABO Collegiate Basketball Association.
In his spare time Sturgeon enjoyed golfing and fishing. He and his wife spent their retirement years surrounded by friends, children and grandchildren at their home on Little Sebago in Windham and later in Cumberland Foreside.
Sturgeon is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judy; children David, Schott and Lori; grandchildren Kelley, Mathew, Mitchel, Jon Allison and Jessica; and great-grandson, Logan.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on May 18 at Lindquist Funeral Home, One Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Casco Bay YMCA, 14 Old South Freeport Road, Freeport, ME 04032.