He graduated from Granite High School in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1951.
He married Kay Barney August 25, 1952, in the Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and Kay are the parents of nine children: Elizabeth Anne (Craig) Edwards, Jennifer Jean (John) Reidhead, Kathleen Kay (Richard) Stancliffe, Matthew Barney (Joyce) Pratt, Doris Eileen (Richard) Heilbut, Belinda Lee (Ronald) Nelson, David Barney (Wendy) Pratt, Edie Pratt Elwood, and Timothy Barney (Shirley) Pratt.
Gene received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Botany from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas, Austin. He joined the University of Wyoming Botany faculty in the fall of 1961. He loved his teaching career at UW, especially General Botany, Genetics, Cytology, and Cytogenetics. He also served as Associate Dean of the UW College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the UW Center for Academic Advising. In these various capacities his emphasis and his joy were his students. He retired from UW in 1995.
Gene and Kay were devoted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other opportunities, they served together as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norwich, England; in Rochester, New York; and in Laramie, Wyoming. They served and were served by countless family and friends throughout their long, full lives.
Life was simple and beautiful for Gene. His priorities were 1) God 2) Kay, 3) his children (and their families), 4) his work, 5) his friends, and 6) the Laramie community.
He was preceded in death by his wife Kay Pratt. He is survived by his nine children and their spouses, 36 grandchildren and 65 great grandchildren.
An outdoor celebration of life will be held on Saturday morning, September 4th from 10:30-12:30 at the pavilion for the Sunset Heights 6th Ward, 500 S 600 West in Orem, Utah.
Services in Laramie will begin with a viewing from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Friday, September 10, 2021, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Baker St, Laramie, WY. Funeral services will follow at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 10, 2021, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Baker St, Laramie, WY. Interment will follow at Greenhill Cemetery.
Due to the on-going health concerns in our country, we will understand if you choose to watch the funeral services on Zoom. The Zoom link is: https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/96348262540