Published in Charlotte
Observer on July 13, 2010
Mr. Deal, 93, formerly of Charlotte, a loving, gentle man entered the
arms of his Savior on July 10, 2010. He lived a simple life that by comparison
may have seemed to be one lacking in wealth or position. However, he was
the best husband, brother, neighbor and friend and most of all an example
of what a Christian man should be to all he came in contact with.
He was born October 10, 1916, son of Otho Edward Deal and Mabel Eugenia
Overcash Deal. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Evelyn Smith
Deal, July 8, 2005, and his brother, Wayne Wilson Deal. He lived with
his loving sister and caregiver, Frances Deal Freeman, the last four years
of his life beside of the home place where he grew up and was born. Gene
loved his home in the country and always wanted to come back for the years
he had left. The home place on Deal Road served as the local post office
for many years. Gene had strong ties to Rowan County as his father, Otho
Deal, along with good friend Lotan Corriher were two young men with a
vision who went to Hickory, bought a small college, and brought it back
home to become one of Salisbury's greatest treasures, Catawba College.
Gene loved life and loved his neighborhood of Lansing Drive in Charlotte.
He enjoyed many afternoons mowing and talking to his good buddy Rodney
Hutchison. Gene never met a sport he did not like but loved the sport
of baseball the most.
Gene played for the Kannapolis Baseball Club in 1940, played for the Catawba
Indians who won the 1936 North State Conference pennant. Gene also played
for the Mooresville Moors and was offered a chance to play professional
for the Atlanta Braves but decided to marry his sweet-heart Evelyn Deal
and start his career.
His love of baseball never ended and Gene cleared a lot behind his Charlotte
home building a small baseball field to help coach and mentor surrounding
Lansing neighborhood children. The field became fondly known as "Deal
Field.' One child in particular, Mike Fox went on to play for Chapel Hill
and is now the head baseball coach for Chapel Hill, Gene's Alma Mater.
Gene even at the young age of 93 went to see Mike coach Chapel Hill to
a play-off victory at Durham Field just last year (he sat behind the dug-out
Gene loved to travel with his wife Evelyn. Gene loved adventure telling
of the time when he and Evelyn wanted to ride a rollercoaster, so they
decided to travel to Coney Island and spend the weekend.
Gene graduated from Landis High School in 1933. He then graduated from
Catawba College with a major in Education, English, History and Administration.
After serving in the Navy for two years, Gene then came home and furthered
his education by receiving his Masters Degree in Social Work from UNC
Chapel Hill. Gene began his teaching career Biscoe High School from 1935-1942
teaching social studies and coaching baseball, football and basketball.
From 1941 to 1944 he taught social studies and coached at Mt. Ulla High
School and served as Athletic Director.
He and Evelyn settled in Charlotte and Gene began his social work and
counseling career. He worked his way up from Probation Counselor to Chief
Probation Counselor for the entire Mecklenburg County Juvenile System
until his retirement.
Gene grew up at First Reformed Church in Landis and later joined St. Marks
Lutheran Church of Charlotte. Upon his return back to Mooresville, Gene
reunited with his home Church in Landis. Mr. Deal received the Certification
of Appreciation from the American Red Cross.
He was a member of the Optimist baseball squad and Jr. Optimist work committee
chairman, heading the Optimist Park Project. In 1984, he received the
award of Charlotte Optimist Man of the Year.
He was a long-time member and served on the Board of Directors for the
Charlotte Optimist Club. Gene and his wife Evelyn, were always supportive
of Academic Scholarships for those in need at Queens University in Charlotte
and Catawba College.
Survivors include his sister, Frances Deal Freeman of Mooresville; sisters-in-law,
Helen Deal of Mooresville, Mildred Roberts (Ashley) of Lake Norman, and
Lee Ballard (Jerry); and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and
Services will be 3 p.m. with visitation 2 p.m., Wednesday at First Reformed
Church, 210 N. Central Avenue, Landis. Memorials are requested to the
Michael Williams Scholarship Fund, First Reformed Church, 210 N. Central
Avenue, Landis, NC 28088.
The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Whalen of Mint Hill, Rowan
Regional Hospice, Pastor David Franks and Richard Myers, all special angels
to the family.