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San Benito
May 30, 2024

Obituary: Gene Bourdet (1922-2019)

Gene Bourdet, 96, of Hollister, CA passed away of natural causes on May 31 st at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Roseville, California.

The first son of Joe and Florence Bourdet, Gene, who went by his middle name, was born on November 24, 1922. He grew up on Southside but moved into town during his high school years where he made all league in both football and baseball. After graduating, he briefly attended Salinas Junior College before going to work in the Oakland shipyards.

In 1943, Gene was drafted into the service and began pilot training in Bozeman,Montana. It was there he met his future wife, Eileen Olson. During the war, Gene was part of the U.S.Army Air Core 302 nd transport wing and later volunteered for the Army’s 5th Division 11 th Infantry under General George Patton. After the war he returned to Bozeman to marry Eileen and finish his education while playing quarterback for the Montana State Bobcats. At the same time, he and Eileen began a “team” of their own. Linda was born in Bozeman, Jim and Barbara while coaching at the high school inFairfield, MT, Mike arrived during his high school coaching tenure at Livingston, MTand finally, following a return to his alma mater to assist with track and football, his youngest daughter, Janet, was born. In 1958 he was appointed athletic director and department head for health and physical education. For the next 12 years his life was filled with work, raising a family and plenty of outdoor fun (backyard barbecues, visits to the farm, summer road trips to California, pheasant and deer hunting and fishing and floating trout filled rivers like the Yellowstone).

Gene departed Bozeman in 1970 to serve for a year as Aztec Club President for SanDiego State before accepting the position of athletic director for the Fresno StateBulldogs. In 1979 he returned once again to San Diego but this time to serve as athletic director of the Aztecs. A heart attack in 1982 prompted him to step down and in 1985 he made the full circle and returned with Eileen to Hollister. Gene was a steadfast Rotarian for 48 years and a faithful member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Tres Pinos. In 2015, as his health declined, he moved to the Roseville area to live with family. Gene is survived by brother Len (Becky) of Fresno, sister Janis of Hollister, sisters-in law: Katie Olson (Hysham,MT) and Joan Olson (Bozeman,MT), his 5 children: Linda Hurless, Jim Bourdet (Sue), Barbara Nolan (Steve), Mike Bourdet, and Janet Bourdet, 6 grandchildren: Heather, Rachael, Jessica, Dan, Matt and Katie, and one great grandchild, Roen.

Services will be held on July 2nd, at 10:30am at the Immaculate Conception Church inTres Pinos. Military honors and a reception will follow. Memorial donations are preferredto Marian Centre (the soup kitchen that Janet directs), Immaculate Conception Church, or a charity of the donor’s choice. All can be sent care of Grunnagle’s at 870 San Benito St., Hollister, CA 95023