Celebrating the life and legacy of Eugene "Gene" Chism

Chism passed away earlier this month

Davenport, Iowa - Remembering a difference maker in the Quad Cities.

Family and friends gather January 13 to celebrate the life of a Bettendorf man who they say has left a lasting impact on and off the basketball court. 

Eugene Chism might be known most widely for his love and play of the basketball game.

It's a sport he turned into a way for kids to discover their best possible selves, but his work mentoring area children extended far beyond the game.

Former student Raekwon Jefferson said, "Today's Mr. Chism's day."

It's a day draped in heartbreak but also filled with celebration.
Remembering the life of a man who had a profound impact on many lives.

Chism's eldest daughter Dr. Monique Chism said, "I knew that day has a big impact here in the community, but I had no idea it was this big, so it's so comforting to hear so many different stories about how he's touched different people's lives."

Eugene Chism, often known as Gene, passed away January 4.

 

Friend Joseph Obleton said, “When you were connected with Eugene, he was trying to get you to do the best you could to be the best you could.”

And as family and friends say goodbye, they're taking time to remember the good times they had with each other.

"Dad always had Chism isms," said Chism's youngest daughter Monica Chism Brazier. "Quotes that came personally from him and one of the last one that he told me was winners win, and losers lose, so dad in remembrance of you, I'm always going to be on the winning side."

Granddaughter Salena Dore said, “We had a pool, and we put water in it, and we went all the way to the top [of a hill], and we poured it down, and we slid down and it was like a slide and then we were throwing mud at him and he didn’t even care because he was having so much fun.”

But Chism's legacy extends far beyond his family.
His passion for advocacy and education led him to help children who might otherwise struggle.

Chism's wife Elaine Chism said, "Gene totally believed that it starts a home and he saw that there was a need for kids, young children, young teenagers, middle-aged school kids, to have some positive role models in their life."

Part of that was achieved in the halls of Wood Intermediate in Davenport.

Jefferson said, "Came over and told me you have an option, you can let someone or let things tell you, you can't and you won't, or you can be the person that says I can and do."

Wood Intermediate Principal Sheri Schultz said, "He was there for them, and he listened, and their grades would improve, their attendance would improve. Those are the numbers, but it was bigger than that, he made them better people."

That message also following him to the basketball court, turning his love for the game into a mentorship program to help hundreds of area kids.
He founded the Family and Friends of Reece Morgan program to help keep kids busy and active and building relationships with police.

Obleton said, "Emphasis was not so much the basketball as it was how do I develop and get this person to be the best that they can be."

That has many saying thanks. 

"He is so touched by this right now because this is all he ever wanted was to know that he made a difference and that the children's lives have changed, and he helped with that in some way," said Elaine Chism.

Even though Chism is no longer here to be part of the game, his life lessons will continue to be taught.

The Reece Morgan program was Chism's way to honor a local coach and mentor.

Chism was 69-year-old. 


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