Harold Eugene "Gene" Conrad Sr., 75, Altoona, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Wednesday after a courageous battle with lung cancer. He passed peacefully in his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Bellwood, son of the late George and Margaret (Steele) Conrad. He married Veronica Y. Franks on Aug. 20, 1957, in Winchester, Va., and she preceded him in death on May 17, 2011.
Surviving are a daughter, Debra A. Kerestan of Altoona; two sons: Harold E. Jr. (Susan) and Terry L. (Karen Diebold), both of Altoona; nine grandchildren: Andrew Lannen, Jacquelyn Kerle, Benjamin Lannen, Candice Kerestan, Emily Conrad, Bradley Conrad, Christopher Conrad, Katherine Conrad and Corey Conrad; three stepgrandchildren: Richelle McGuire, Albert Settles and Bobby Settles; seven great-grandchildren: Lindsey Lannen, Jacob Lannen, McKayla Kerle, Kameron Kerle, Kai Conrad Hillegass, Wyatt Conrad and Wyatt Lannen; two sisters: Clara Nelson of Bellemead and Ruth Miller and husband, Harold, of Tipton; a sister-in-law, Eleanor Conrad; and also his dog, Betsy.
He was preceded in death by two brothers: Russell "Duster" and Donald.
Gene was a U.S. Navy veteran. He was founder of Captains Quarters Hair Styling Salon and, along with his wife, Veronica, also owned and operated Hair Menders. He was also a licensed U.S. Coast Guard charter boat captain and for more than 20 years, he was the owner of Captains Quarters Charters on Lake Ontario based out of Olcott, N.Y.
Gene was a member of First Baptist Church, Altoona. He was a member and multiple past master of Mountain Lodge 281, F&AM; a member of the Valley of Altoona, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; a member of Mountain Commandery; and a member of the Jaffa Shrine, where he belonged to the Jaffa Clowns and was known to all as "Gene-O."
He was an avid gardener and enjoyed spending time at his koi pond. He was a most wonderful father and grandfather and enjoyed spending time with all his family. He enjoyed cooking and baking for his family and friends and was famous for his apple pies.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Myers-Somers Funeral Home Inc., 501 Sixth Ave., Altoona, where a Masonic service will be held at 7 p.m.
Friends will also be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 20, 2013, at the funeral home, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m., Pastor Tyler Pepper officiating. Interment will be made at Blair Memorial Park, Bellwood, with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, 1837 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Altoona, PA 16602; Shriners Hospitals for Children, c/o Jaffa Shrine, P.O. Box 1984, Altoona, PA 16603-1984; or the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.