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Services for Donald Eugene Cruzen, known to his friends and family as Gene, will be held at 2:00 pm, Friday, September 4, 2020, at the Church of Christ with Robert Prater officiating. Burial will follow in the Woodland Cemetery under the direction of Chapman-Black Funeral Home. Friends and family may visit an online guest book and memorial page for Gene at www.chapman-black.com.
Gene was born on January 31, 1929, in Terlton, Oklahoma, the son of Earl Thomas and Stella (Hafner) Cruzen. Gene grew up and attended school in Terlton. He later attended school in Cleveland, where he completed his education. Following high school, Gene began working at Sani Wax. During that time, Gene met the love of his life, Vesta Barrett. The two would take their breaks together and frequent the Coney Island for lunch. After the company moved the offices to Ennis, Texas, Gene and Vesta were united in marriage at Sedan, Kansas, on February 14, 1947. Gene and Vesta established their home in California for a short time then returned to work for Sani Wax in Ennis, Texas, where Gene worked as a foreman. In July of 1950, Gene and Vesta purchased their first home at 708 North Division. In 1953, they sold their house and bought one closer to the Johnson Oil Refinery, where Gene worked for many years. He began as a yard hand and was later promoted to still operator. At the closure of the facility in the early 1970s, Gene opened up Cruzen Insurance Agency. He worked as an independent agent for many years and was last an agent for American Farm and Ranch when he sold the business in 2008 after nearly 35 years.
Gene enjoyed playing Blue Grass music and was a very talented guitarist. He and Vesta would travel throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Eastern Oklahoma, and numerous other places to Blue Grass Festivals. Gene purchased several RV’s and campers and enjoyed taking the RV for outings with all the traveling. Gene and his brother in law also opened and operated the Country Opry in Cleveland for many years. This facility allowed him and numerous other locals a place to gather and show off their talents. Most of all, in life, Gene lived for his Lord and family. He has been a member of the Church of Christ since the 1940s and always a faithful member. Gene liked attending the events of his grandchildren, who he adored.
Survivors include a son Larry Cruzen and his wife Beth of Bixby, Oklahoma; six grandchildren Jeannine, Kimberly, Angela, Mikki, Rob, Katie; fifteen great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren as well as a host of other relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Vesta, son Gary Cruzen, siblings Murrel Cruzen, Versal Allen, Rex Cruzen, Bob Cruzen, Ray Cruzen, Nadine Williams, Roy Cruzen, and two infant sisters.