Gene Maestas, longtime Livermore resident, passed away unexpectedly on September 5, 2019.
Gene was born in Durango, Colo., on September 27, 1939, to Ray and Eliza Maestas. He was the youngest of four boys. In 1941, while he was still a small child, the family moved to Livermore, Calif. Gene went to school first at St. Michael’s, then Livermore High School where he played on the football team and made many lifelong friends. His graduating class of 1957 still meets every two years to celebrate birthdays and graduation dates. After graduating, Gene enrolled in the Army where he was stationed in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Upon his return to Livermore in 1960 he married his first wife, Marie Briggs, and had three beautiful girls who Gene adored. After their divorce in 1973, Gene was then married to his second wife, Joyce Yarborough, for several years before finally settling down with his lifetime partner of 37 years, Shay VanEtta.
Gene had several jobs early in his life, including photographer at the Livermore Lab and real estate agent with Monte Maniz Realty. In 1970 he started working at the Livermore Airport, where he began as a ramp attendant but quickly advanced to being superintendent and managed the Livermore Airport until his retirement in 1998.
Gene’s social life revolved around his longtime friends and family. He enjoyed fishing and had spent many days out on the delta in his boat with his dad and brothers. At family functions you could always find him behind the BBQ. Recently, on most days, you would find him sitting in front of Panama Bay with his daughter Julie enjoying a latte and conversation with friends.
His family was the most important thing to him, and he was the center of their world. A caring father and lifelong nurturer not only to his girls – Gina, Bobbi and Julie – but also to his stepson Parker, who came into his life in 1982, and his son-in-law Glenn, who became part of his family in 1987.
One of Gene’s best traits was his sense of humor. He always kept us laughing with his dorky jokes and his special way of seeing the world. If you were close to him, he probably gave you a nickname. He effortlessly inspired his family and friends, and all children were entertained by him. He was the light of our lives.
He is survived by his three daughters: Ginamarie Cardoza and her husband Glenn, Bobbi Maestas, and Julie Maestas; his lifetime partner Shay VanEtta and her son Parker; his brother Bugs Maestas and wife Patty; his sisters-in-law Dorothy Sandoval and Gay Maestas; and many nephews and nieces.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents Ray and Eliza Maestas; his brothers Hank Sandoval and Frank Maestas; and his aunt Carmen Hollis and her husband Ben.
Services will be held 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Callaghan Mortuary, 3833 East Ave., Livermore, Calif., with a reception to follow.
We loved him with all our hearts, he will be greatly missed.
Callaghan Mortuary is honored to be serving the Maestas family. An online guestbook is available for condolences at www.callaghanmortuary.com.