Dr. Eugene Leroy Holm, 80, of Heyburn, died Friday, November 1, 2019, in a boating accident at Salmon Falls Reservoir, his favorite fishing place.
He was born February 11, 1939, and was the first child of Herman Odell Holm and Ruby Emma Leimkuhler Holm. His birthplace was Madera, California, although he would have preferred it to be in Idaho or Nevada if he had the choice! He grew up on a farm, dirt-poor, where he learned the value of hard work and enjoyed playing pranks on his three younger brothers. He hated wearing the bibbed overalls that his parents provided, and soon went to work for various neighbors to earn money to buy his own clothes. He enjoyed tennis and archery in high school, as well as playing the trumpet. Through hard labor doing jobs including cotton picking and grave digging, he earned the money to buy his first car. His posterity was surprised to learn that he won a first-place trophy at the Modesto Drag Races in a Ford, because in later years he never drove faster than 65 and hated Fords!
After high school, he moved to Winnemucca, Nevada to work as a ranch hand on the Bottle Creek Ranch, which was owned by his friends, the Clarno family. It was quite an adventure being a cowboy, living in a sod house with a dirt floor, and working with the Clarno brothers. The ranch was not making much money, so he and the Clarno boys eventually began working in the gold mines. He became an assayer, testing the ore to determine its ingredients and quality, and his skills were so impressive that he was sent to many different mines to assay. The head assayer at the mine recognized his intelligence and aptitude, told him that he was too smart to stay in the mines, and suggested that he go to college.
Following an accident at the mines in which he could have been killed, and buoyed by encouragement from the assayer, he began his college career in the fall of 1970 at the University of Nevada, and was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1974. He graduated from the University of Alabama Medical School in 1977 with his M.D. degree. Gene finished first in his class, despite being the oldest student in the program. He then entered the Texas Tech University School of Medicine Residency Program, serving as Chief Resident and obtaining family practice experience. His primary interest was rural medicine with emphasis on obstetric care. As Chief Resident, he opened a medical clinic in Alabama for low-income families. He had a deep love for people and wanted everyone to have access to medical care, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Dr. Holm began a family practice with Dr. Michael Klett, in Burley, Idaho, in 1980, where he remained until his retirement in 2005. He fulfilled many different roles in the community, including Medical Director for Cassia Regional Medical Center, President of the American Cancer Society, and company doctor for Kraft, Simplot and Ore Ida. Throughout his life and medical career, he was caring, kind-hearted, and generous with his time and resources. He was loved and respected by both his patients and his colleagues. He treated everyone with dignity and compassion. He was a voracious reader and life-long learner who always kept his medical board certification current.
After his retirement, he served as the Medical Director for Parke View Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was also a Master Gardener who, with the help of his wife, Jo, cared for the rose gardens there. Every time that they worked in the garden, he would clip roses and deliver them to the residents in the facility. He and Jo immensely enjoyed each other’s company, and relished many happy times together, traveling, gardening, reading, dining, watching movies, going to Utah Jazz games and plays, and supporting the many activities of their children and grandchildren.
He was an avid outdoorsman and pilot who enjoyed a myriad of hobbies including flying, fishing, hunting, hiking, rock hounding, archery, and gardening. He enjoyed his pets and had a soft spot for his cats. He loved reading to learn and even more, for entertainment. Because of his love for learning and keen mind, he was knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. Gene was a fantastic storyteller and engaging conversationalist. He loved to tease and make people laugh. He loved teaching the grandkids and great-grandkids different skills, playing jokes on them, and taking them fishing. He gained more satisfaction from watching the kids and his fishing buddies catch fish than from catching one himself. He truly delighted in bringing happiness to those around him. He was a devoted and attentive husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. He enjoyed those associations, as well as the relationships he had with nieces and nephews and their children.
Gene is survived by his wife, Jo, of Heyburn; their combined children, Charles and Cathy Holm of Eureka, California, Jim Sieben of Reno, Nevada, Paige Darrington, of Declo, and Shane and Gina Darrington, of Declo; nine grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren; his brothers, Michael (Bobbie) Holm, of Falon, Nevada, Patrick (Janet) Holm, of Visalia, California, and Tony (Sharon) Holm, of San Antonio, Texas; and many dear friends, including Jim Wilson of Jerome, Idaho, whom he considered family. His parents and his beloved daughter, Kim Rene Sieben, preceded him in death.
Memorial services were under the direction of Morrison Funeral Home and were held Saturday, November 9, at the Rupert Third Ward, 526 F Street in Rupert. The family suggests that memorials be directed to their charity of choice. The family also would like to express their deepest appreciation to all of the first responders and dive teams for the recovery efforts.