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Gene Doggett

Thursday, May 4, 2023
Gene Doggett

Vernon Gene Doggett Jr., 70, died on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at his home near Hamilton after struggling with cardiac- and diabetes-related health issues for several years.

A private family memorial service was held Sunday, April 23.

Gene was born in Houston Oct. 10, 1952, to Vernon Gene Doggett Sr. and Onie Masterson Doggett.

He attended The Kinkaid School in Houston from kindergarten through 12th grade. Gene often remembered his years at Kinkaid as one of the most meaningful and joyful times of his life.

During that time Gene developed many deep friendships that created memories he cherished throughout his life. Gene’s interests during those formative years were wide-ranging — he was an enthusiastic and accomplished athlete receiving the Varsity Three Sport Awards during his sophomore, junior and senior years in football, soccer and track (throwing the discus) and led the Falcons football team to a banner final season as the team’s “Most Valuable Lineman” and their co-captain his senior year.

As a student council member his junior and senior year, he eagerly participated in the popular discourse of the day and would often share his political commentary at the dinner table.

But Gene was also creative. In middle school he learned to play the cello and entertained the family with performances that elicited both admiration and, sometimes, some good-hearted laughter.

Away from school, family trips to Lakeway and Colorado were full of fun, games, skiing, laughter and friends with Gene leading the way. He enjoyed many long weekends driving to and participating in motocross events and catching waves off Surfside with his buddies.

Gene also enjoyed accomplishing somewhat complicated projects on his own. For example, when Gene was 16, he completely disassembled and then reassembled the engine from an old Ford, rebuilding pistons and various parts along the way. The family gathered around with suspense for the official start of the engine. When the old car started and ran again, Gene’s siblings broke into applause; it was one of Gene’s father’s proudest moments.

Gene graduated from Kinkaid in 1970 and matriculated at Southern Methodist University where he studied business and history and was a member of Phi Delta Theta.

Gene had an adventurous and sometimes contentious spirit coupled with a lack of patience for perspectives he sensed to be less informed than his own; now and then not fitting neatly with conformity. He soon recognized that a solitary life gave him the most joy and freedom. His snow skiing preferences were a metaphor for his life choices: he was a beautiful and talented skier but instead of skiing down the manicured slopes like the rest of us, he chose and very much enjoyed skiing rigorous cross-country excursions alone. That being, of course, a much more challenging, arduous and solitary endeavor.

After college, he followed his heart to live a life far away from the office. His passions brought him great contentment — he loved working with his hands in general and woodworking in particular. He was a master woodworker, crafting handmade furniture and fiddles that he sold and gifted throughout Central Texas to families who will pass down his work for generations. Gene built a home on the family ranch framing, roofing, sheetrocking, electrifying, plumbing and finish carpentry without assistance of any kind, a oneman show with most of his skills self-taught.

Gene was also an avid outdoorsman and animal lover. Horses were a particular interest for him, and, in his younger years, he was renowned for his ability to train wild horses. His calm but determined approach, and his special touch, allowed Gene to train horses in weeks when the process often takes months. In characteristic fashion, Gene would be alone in the corral with the horse and inevitably be thrown many times, but always stood ready to get back on and continue his work. There was no talking him out of the danger, he loved it all. He would say horses instinctively know if you are competent and they know if you are afraid. In a corral alone calming a frightened horse was home for Gene.

Gene also loved dogs — and he routinely made anonymous food donations to local shelters, even dropping off 100-pound sacks of dog food from time to time. Gene did not ever hesitate to take in abandoned dogs if he came across them — he provided a loving home to many dogs that would not have had a life to live without coming across him.

Finally, Gene was an avid reader, reading deeply about his abovementioned interests, but also broadly across topics in history and animal husbandry. He looked forward to nightly reading sessions for most of his life, always reading with his beloved dogs at his feet.

Gene was predeceased by his loving parents, Onie and Gene Sr.

He is survived by his siblings, Weezie Doggett Fitzhugh and husband Jim of Abilene, Onie Doggett Swanson and husband Jim of Houston and Leslie Doggett and wife Ann of Houston; his nieces and nephews. Peden Fitzhugh Sager of Long Beach, California, Jonathan Plummer of Costa Mesa, California, William Doggett of Houston and Amy Doggett Schramm of Houston; many great-nieces and -nephews; as well as first cousins Gordon Ramsey and Matt Ramsey.

The family owes special thanks to Allen Jogerst and Robert Hunt for their kind assistance and friendship throughout the years.

Memorials in Gene’s name can be given to the American Diabetes Association, The Methodist Hospital Houston DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, The Kinkaid School or to your local animal rescue/ no-kill shelter.