Earl Eugene “Gene” Callens, Jr., 73, peacefully passed away at his home, in the arms of his wife, on Thursday, Dec. 5. He died from the effects of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), having been diagnosed two years ago. Gene was born on March 8, 1940, in Memphis. He was the only child of the late Earl Eugene Callens Sr. and Sadie Esther Chipman Callens. Gene married his high school sweet heart, the love of his life, Barbara Ann Brossette Callens, on Sept. 4, 1960.
They lived the first half of their marriage in Tullahoma, Tenn., where Gene worked for the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). They moved their family to Ruston, La., in 1983, where he worked for Louisiana Tech University for 23 years before happily retiring with Barbara.
Gene graduated in 1958 from Covington High School in Covington, La. He then attended Georgia Tech, where he received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering and a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. After completing his master’s degree, he attended the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium. While there, Gene received the Von Karman Award for outstanding research in hypersonic separated flow. After finishing in Belgium, and while working full-time at AEDC, Gene attended the University of Tennessee Space Institute, where he completed a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. Gene had many professional opportunities, but his love of teaching ultimately brought him to Louisiana Tech as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Among his administrative positions, he was the Academic Director for Mathematics and Statistics; Mechanical, Industrial and Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science.
Gene devoted decades of service to many community and academic service organizations. He was known in all aspects of his life as someone who provided solid, practical counsel. Gene lived his life based on the motto, “Do the right thing for the right reasons.”
Gene is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara, and by their eight children and their two foster daughters: Angela Callens O’Bryant, of Tallahassee, Fla., Geno Callens, of Deer Park, Texas, Ryan Callens, of Frisco, Texas, Annie Hobbs Baker, of Southaven, Miss., Kay Hobbs Beard, of Antioch, Eric Callens, of Kingwood, Texas, Nathaniel Callens, of Redmond, Wash., Amy Callens Dickerson, of Atascocita, Texas, Shannon Callens Guice, of Atascocita, Texas, and Adam Callens, of Redmond, Wash.. He is also survived by 34 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Louisiana Tech University College of Engineering & Science. A memorial service was held on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. in Ruston, La.. Gene was laid to rest at the Callens Family Memorial at Memory Gardens in Savannah. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com