My Brothers and Sisters of Elkdom
This tribute is an extension of the established customs of our Fraternity, in keeping with one of our most solemn Pledges: Living or dead, Elks are never forgotten, never forsaken.
We are a very social group. However, when the Hour of Eleven is upon us, we pause from our social functions to pay reverent respect to our departed members. As Elks, we do not take this token of recollection lightly.
This is the moment when we bow our heads in tender reverence and silent tribute to Gene Jaramillo who has left our midst.
Gene J. was born in Denver, Colorado on October 11, 1935. He graduated from Louisville, Colorado High School in 1953.
Gene's military career began in 1954 when he became a mechanic in the Army Corp of Engineers Bridge Battalion. He also spent some time at Fort Lewis, Washington in the motor pool. He was discharged from active duty in 1956.
Following his military service, he was employed by the Post Office Department here in Portland. In 1957 he went to work for the Oregon Air National Guard and in 1970 he was assigned to the position of Material Control Technician. He later advanced to Aircraft Maintenance Analysis Technician.
Gene was initiated into the Gresham Elks Lodge on April 30, 1968. He transferred his membership to Gateway Lodge on April 26, 1969. His membership number is 26.
Gene was appointed to Lodge Inner Guard in 1971 - 1972. He served as Lodge Assistant Esquire 1972 - 1973 and as Lodge Esquire in 1973 - 1974. He was elected to each of the chairs and served as Gateway's Exalted Ruler in 1977 - 1978.
He was selected Gateway's Elk of the Month for November 1970 and as our Elk of the Year in 2001 - 2002. He was elected Oregon State Elks Association Vice-President in 2005.
Gene served on many - many Lodge committees and even worked as Lodge janitor and Club Manager. He loved the Elks and would do whatever was required to serve his Lodge and Elkdom. He was happiest when he was cooking steaks or tacos. I'm not sure about the steaks but I can attest that his tacos were the best!
His final article as Exalted Ruler contained this comment: "May the great spirits of Love, Health and Happiness be your constant companions." That one statement speaks volumes about Gene and the size of his heart.
I want to share this poem with you. It is not my poem - the author is unknown to me. I want to share it because I think it reflects what is in my heart and in the hearts of many you.
You never said I'm leaving;
You never said goodbye.
You were gone before we knew it;
And only God knows why.
A million times we needed you;
A million times we cried.
If love alone could have saved you;
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly;
In death we love you still.
In our heart you hold a place;
That no one could ever fill.
It broke our heart to lose you;
But you didn't go alone
For part of us went with you;
The day God took you home.
It is true that we will miss his familiar voice and the grasp of his friendly hand. That voice and the assistance of those hands are gone, but the echoes of his voice and the efforts of those hands will be with us forever.
I can only imagine the exchange that took place when Gene met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. I'm betting it went something like this:
Saint Peter: "Hi Gene, I've been expecting you!" How are you?
Gene J.: "FAAANTASTIC!!!"
Gene is gone from us now, but one thing cannot be taken away, his memory resides inside our heart, and lights up our darkest days. May the blessing of God be upon you - rest in peace my Brother.