^ Mary Lee and Gene Delbridge at their home in Carson, Washignton. Gene always has a smile on his face.
Croscut Espresso and Deli put “Happy 90th Birthday Gene!” on their billboard outside on December 27. Gene is a staple character at Crosscut and welcomes all who are having a bad day to let him cheer them up. >
Gene Delbridge was born in New Lothrop, MI. He was raised on a large farmstead and is one of eleven children. During his childhood, he recalls his love for sports, "You could never get a ball out of my hands," Says Delbridge.
Throughout his life, he has always been a hard worker. His father passed away when he was fourteen, leaving a significant workload for him and his brothers. Gene took to getting a job at a nearby farm to help provide for his family and keep food on the table. He joined the Airforce in 1952, during the Korean War, and served four years. He then went on to college for four years in Pasadena, California, to become a pastor.
He felt his calling in life was to be a pastor. "My job was to show people love," Says Delbridge. "When people came to my church, they felt love, and that is why they stayed."
His 33-year ministership took him all over the place, serving in Spokane, Yakima, Phoenix, Coquille, and Prineville. His church in Prineville received many people, with nearly 500 people attending on Easter Sunday. Sadly, his health began to fail him in the eighties, and Gene decided it was time to work on getting better; in 1986, he moved to "quiet" Carson to heal. He met his current wife, Mary Lee Newman, at the Church of the Nazarene in Carson, and they were married six years later.
Mary Lee is one of seven children and has three children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she was born and raised in Carson, and except for a short move to Wyoming, she has lived there her whole life. She is most proud of her family and the life she has created with Gene in Carson.
Gene celebrated his 90th birthday on December 27th, surrounded by his family and beloved friends. "At my birthday party with so many of my kids and grandkids coming to see me, tears began rolling down my face just thinking about the wonderful family I have." Says, Gene.
At 90 years of age, he still considers himself a pastor for the town, always striving to give council and motivate people, and bring the best out of everyone. He says he will never retire. He wants to keep encouraging people and let Christ's likeness shine through his life.
You will often find Gene at Crosscut Espresso and Deli in Carson, doing just that, sharing his stories and giving welcoming words of encouragement and motivation to anyone who comes in. "You can't come to Crosscut and not be Gene's friend," says a local patron.
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