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Obituary

Salem Lutheran Cemetery
Payne County, Oklahoma


Submitted by: Sandi Carter

© Strode Funeral Home
Stillwater, Oklahoma
March 13, 2012

Irvin Eugene "Gene" Wallen

Irvin Eugene "Gene" Wallen was born on Oct. 4, 1921 in Afton, Okla., the third son of SC and Mittie Wallen and one of 6 brothers and sisters. He grew up on the farm in Eastern Oklahoma then attended college in Stillwater and graduated with honors from Oklahoma A&M College in December 1941.

He was enlisted into the US Navy at the halftime activities during the Cotton Bowl football game in January 1942, just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He immediately went for naval aviator training in Corpus Christi, Texas and was dispatched to duty as a fighter pilot flying off the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in the South Pacific where he served throughout World War II.

On Feb. 11, 1945 he married Dorothy Wiehe of Stillwater, Oklahoma at Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater. They raised 5 children together and were married over 50 years until her death in 1998.

Gene received a Masters degree from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Oklahoma A&M College. He was a professor at Oklahoma A&M for a number of years. As a scientist and oceanographer, he moved to Maryland to work for the Atomic Energy Commission in Germantown, followed by serving as the Director of Oceanography for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Following were many years of government service that included tours of duty for the U.S Agency for International Development in Tehran, Iran and Cairo, Egypt. He and his wife Dorothy then retired to Stillwater, Okla., and afterwards to the Tampa, Fla. area.

Gene Wallen lived in the Sacramento, California area for a number of years while in retirement to be near a daughter, Shelley, who lived close by. In the final years of his life, he lived in Rockville, MD near his son Mark and family. It was while living in the Rockville area that his death occurred. He had celebrated his 90th birthday a few months earlier with many, many friends and relatives present for the memorable milestone occasion.

Mr. Wallen died on March 13, 2012.

He is survived by two brothers and two sisters, 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.

Services will be held at Strode Funeral Home in Stillwater at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 19, 2012. Mr. Wallen will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife Dorothy in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery west of Stillwater, Oklahoma.

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and loved him.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer's Association, 6465 S. Yale Ave., #312, Tulsa, OK 74136.

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