Gene Paleno grew up in the 30’s on his family’s farm near Detroit, Michigan. As a boy, he learned to drive an old Model T Ford, hauling hay and feeding the cows at dawn. Gene was the eldest of six children to Eugene and Alice Paleno, with a work ethic that was incumbent upon his role as the eldest boy. After high school he served in the US Navy during WWII, and as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve until 1966. Gene taught school after graduating from Michigan State University in 1946. In the early 1950’s during the aerospace industry boom, the entire Paleno Family (parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, and children) packed up and moved to California. Gene was employed by Douglas Aircraft Corporation as a Commercial Artist. While with Douglas, he traveled to a Paris airport hangar to participate in a marketing demonstration. The company had him wearing a helium balloon to simulate walking on the moon. He would recall how the wind almost carried him into the busy landing path at Le Bourget Airport.
I first met Gene three years ago at Judy’s Junction in Upper Lake over a cup of coffee to discuss publishing his Lake County History serially. By the time I got there, he was already sitting in a booth, coffee in hand, waiting for me. Even in his 90’s, Gene had a large presence. Sure, he walked with a hunch and held a cane, but the years he spent playing football and bodybuilding had left their mark. As I talked with him, he stretched his arms wide to make a point, and they reached out past the edges of the booth, able to encompass not just the table but me as well.
The City of Clearlake sadly announces the passing of former city clerk, Sharon Goode on January 1, 2020. Sharon was hired as an office assistant in 1982, shortly after the city’s incorporation. Sharon was elected to the city clerk position in 1986, having served in an appointed role for two years after the retirement of the first city clerk. Always diligent in her duties, Sharon was awarded the City Clerk Association of California’s Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. In addition to serving in an elected capacity, Sharon advanced in her career from office assistant, ultimately serving as assistant city administrator.