After graduating from West Valley High School in Fairbanks in 1979, Gene continued taking construction-related classes at the Hutchison Career Center while majoring in electrical engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
In 1982, his college summer jobs at Spenard Builders Supply became full-time work as a purchasing agent. He continued with SBS after moving to Wasilla in the mid ’80s. Gene then moved to Anchorage to work for Osborne Construction Co. on projects in three states. In 1995, he returned to the Wasilla area, where he opened a small retail greenhouse specializing in marketing native plants and other hardy perennials, and building a home on part of his grandparents’ home place.
For several years he worked for Mudbusters Carwash Co. helping them build three facilities and performing regular maintenance. Gene worked for Steppers Construction from August 2004 until his death. Steppers wrote: “For over nine years, Gene was not only an employee, but a favored colleague. He worked on a variety of projects requiring all levels of skill and hard work. Steppers was especially able to depend on Gene for the daily openings and maintenance requirements of the NorthFork Professional Buildings. He developed long-lasting friendships with his coworkers that have surpassed the job environment. Gene was a fundamental member of the Steppers’ family and will be greatly missed.”
Gene enjoyed the outdoors, camping, kayaking, mountain biking and downhill skiing. He especially liked hiking in Hatcher Pass with his daughter Brenna and his dog, Florida. He was quite artistic with a good eye for color, and enjoyed making nice-looking practical storage sheds from discarded building material scraps. He liked any kind of pie, as long as it was cherry.
Gene is survived by his daughter Brenna, parents Donald and Bonnie Dinkel, brother David Dinkel, sisters Kris Dinkel (of Portland, Ore.) and Debora Steffen (of West Lafayette, Ind.); niece Lauren and nephew Luke, and numerous aunts, uncles and 22 cousins in Alaska, Minnesota and Texas. He was predeceased by one uncle, two aunts and two cousins.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., Oct. 30 at First Presbyterian Church of Wasilla, 1375 E. Bogard Road, with Rev. Henry Woodall officiating. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall. Gene’s ashes will be scattered at his favorite kayaking lake and at hiking areas in Hatchers Pass.
Arrangements were made with Alaskan Heritage Memorial Chapel and Crematory.
Source: Frontiersman, 19 Oct 2013