Charles E. (Gene) Hales


Charles passed away on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in Sun City, AZ after a heart attack. Charles Eugene Hales was born on a farm in rural Vernon Township, Van Buren County, Iowa on October 1, 1924 to Ralph Watkins Hales and Gladys Margaret Brassfield Hales. He married an Iowa State College coed, Janice Gwendolyn Dempster on September 12, 1948. She preceded him in death on July 18, 2010.

Gene graduated from Keosauqua, IA High School in 1942 with extra credits that allowed him to teach at a country school, which he did for one year. He then enlisted in the Navy on his 19th birthday in 1943 and was assigned to the 125th Battalion US Navy Seabees Engineering Dept. in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Among his campaign ribbons is a battle star for the Okinawa fight.

Gene obtained a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Iowa State College, now University, in 1950 and was a county engineer in Worth, Van Buren, Lee and Pottawattamie counties. He organized the underground layout of the Douds Limestone underground quarry near Douds, IA. President Kennedy appointed him as a County Road Advisor to the Federal Highway Administration, and he served six years on the Iowa State Board of Examiners for Engineers and Land Surveyors. He retired in 1988 and moved to Sun City, AZ in 1992.

He served as president of the Iowa County Engineers Association, the Rotary, and the Saguaro Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in Arizona. Gene also was a member of the Beer-Barker Post of the American Legion for over 70 years and a Lifetime member of the Masons. In his retirement, he loved to play golf, bowl, and research family genealogy. He was an active member of Lakeview United Methodist Church in Sun City, AZ.

Gene is survived by one sister, Margaret Troutman of Fort Madison, IA; his children, Esther (John) Lloyd, James (Lynn) Hales, John (Jan) Hales, Steven (Julie) Hales, and Myrna (Dan) Hales-McCarthy; three grandsons, Scott (Alicia), Nathan (Winnie) and Patrick Hales; and great-grandchildren, Piper and Jack Hales.

Burial will be at the Center Chapel United Methodist Church cemetery near Keosauqua, IA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Center Chapel United Methodist Church at P.O. Box 472, Keosauqua, IA 52565. A Celebration of Life service will be held at Lakeview UMC at a later date.