Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Gene Shabnow Memorial
Gene Shabnow Memorial

Gene Shabnow

Gene Shabnow

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Gene Carl Shabnow, 88, of Concrete, WA peacefully went home to be with our Lord on April 11, 2023 at his son’s home in Kenmore, WA with his family by his side.

Gene was born Monday, March 18, 1935 in his family home in Toledo, OH to Jimmie and Mildred (Becking) Shabnow.   He attended Burnham High in Sylvania, Ohio where he played 4 years of football, 2 of which they were the top football team, and they were highlighted in 2 Ohio newspapers.  He was also the school mascot, a wildcat, in parades and also enjoyed taking pictures for the school newspaper.  He graduated in 1953.

He went into the Air Force January 14, 1954 wherein he was a Cadet for 2.5 years for Special Training and also was stationed in Sidi Slimane, Morocco Africa for a year.   He was Honorably discharged on November 15, 1957.

After his discharge, he moved to Seattle, WA where he worked at Sy’s gas station and attended Photo School where he met Joni Abel when another classmate brought her in to get her picture taken.   After two dates he knew she was the girl he had been waiting for.  They were engaged on October 5, 1958 and married March 7, 1959.  They had four children, Cari, Sandi, Sheri and Tracey. Gene later was employed at the Boeing Airplane Company as an Industrial Photographer and worked there for many years.   Later in life, on Sept. 26, 1981, he married Judy Brager in Machias, WA and had one child together Melissa, and gained a stepdaughter, Lisa Brager.

Gene had many adventures in his life including flying in a WWI fighter plane over wetlands and climbing Mt Adams with his photography buddies. When he was younger, he rode his brother’s motorbike from Ohio to Tennessee with just the clothes on his back.  In addition, he rode with his brother Eddie to an Indianapolis race.  While in the service he took a taxi to Mount Vesuvius, Italy and rode the ski lift up and saw planes flying lower than where he stood.  He flipped homes before it was popular, he owned his own real estate firm, he owned a bar for a short time, he traveled around with his friend’s small band as their manager, he drove around the US to all of the capitals with his nephew Jimmy Greenfield in 17.5 days.   Gene did a lot of travelling to places, some of his favorites included Hawaii and Las Vegas. He took a cruise up the Mississippi on a Sternwheeler and loved it.

Gene had a love for the 1950s/yesteryear.  He loved anything Western (movies, clothing, hats and music).  He loved Casino’s and Apple Pie.  He enjoyed planning trips with detailed itineraries and most of all he loved his kids.  In his later years, Gene enjoyed attending the Concrete Swap Meet and bartering with the locals.  He also enjoyed collecting coins & postage stamps.  He was passionate about collecting photos and articles of movie stars from his generation.   His favorite television programs were Hogan’s Heroes and Gunsmoke and he always got a kick out of Bevis and Butthead.  His favorite movies were Maverick, and the Music Man.

Gene is survived by his son, Tracey Shabnow (Tasha); daughters, Cari Ensley (Garry), Sandi Fifield (Kevin), Sheri Bland (Joe), Melissa Werner; brother, Edward Shabnow (Bobbie);  grandchildren, Christopher Fifield, Cassidy Chism (Ryan), Joshua Ensley, Jacob Ensley, Jessy O’Day, Colby O’Day, Corbin Hinds, Caiden Hinds, Brennen Werner, Mason Werner; many nieces and nephews.

Preceded in death by his parents, Clarence “Jimmie” Shabnow & Mildred Vogt; siblings, Jeannette Greenfield (Herb), Garnet Sarkisian (Joe); numerous  aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A private graveside ceremony was held at the Forest Park Cemetery in Concrete, WA. Share your memories of Gene and sign the online guest register.


  • Chad & Allison Shahan

    Gene was a very kind and friendly person. We met Gene at the Concrete swap meet and quickly became friends. He loved to tell stories from his past and share some of the things he learned along his journey. He was such an interesting and eccentric person, and he always greeted us with a friendly smile.
    Thank you for your friendship Gene, you will be missed.