February 20, 1920 - February 20, 2019
Capt. Gene Lyle Alair passed away peacefully on his 99th birthday February 20, 2019, at Falcon’s Landing Retirement Community in Potomac Falls, Virginia. He was the loving husband of Dorothy Gibb Alair, who had earlier passed away in 2014, after 71 years of marriage. Capt. Alair was born February 20, 1920 in Fargo, North Dakota to Laura (Wilson) and Walter E. Alair. After spending his early childhood in Spokane, Washington, his family moved to Beverly Hills, California in the mid-1930s. At Beverly Hills High School, from which he graduated in 1938, Gene ran track, played on the baseball team, and was active in the leadership of the student council and various service organizations, a hallmark of his entire life-. After high school, he attended Santa Monica City College and UCLA, before leaving college to enroll in the Naval Officer Candidate program at Northwestern University in 1940. Mr. Alair had a distinguished Navy career. In 1941, he was initially stationed at Pearl Harbor (where he was out on maneuvers during the attack) and then in the key naval battles of Midway, Coral Sea, Savo Island, and Guadalcanal. He survived the sinking of the USS Astoria and two other ships, earning a Purple Heart medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Pacific Area Campaign medal with seven combat clusters. Following the war, Mr. Alair served 30 more years in the Naval Reserve, where he ultimately became a four-star Captain before retiring honorably. Upon return from the war, Gene and Dorothy moved to Upland, California, where he joined Vern Pittinger to form Pittinger-Alair Insurance Agency in Ontario, California. In 1991, after more than 45 years, Mr. Alair retired in from his agency, and later the agency merged in 1993 to become Kessler-Alair Agency, an ongoing concern now throughout western San Bernardino and Orange county. Capt. Alair was always active in the civic life of his community. He served as president of the Rotary Club of Ontario, California, and was an active member for over 40 years. He served as chair of the Price Foundation from 1955 to 1991, distributing human services grants throughout California and Colorado. From 1975 to 1991, he chaired the San Antonio Community Hospital Foundation, leading a major capital campaign. In 1980, he chaired the Ronald Reagan presidential campaign in San Bernardino County, California. A member of the Young Men’s Christian Association for over 60 years, he served as president and then chair of the West End YMCA of San Bernardino County, leading the capital campaign for its new center. The national YMCA endowed him with its Service to Youth Award and a life membership. And, in 1986 a resolution of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors honored his service to YMCA and the broader community. After retirement, in 1991 Gene and Dorothy moved to Great Falls, Fairfax County, Virginia, where they remained for five years. They were among the charter residents of Falcons Landing Retirement Community in 1996, and, upon his death, he was the longest-tenured resident. During his residence, he was active in musical groups and productions, participated actively in bible study groups, and served on the Protestant Chapel committee for nearly 20 years Capt. Alair is survived by his son, Douglas Mason Alair in Matthews, NC and a daughter, Janet (Alair) Kohlenberger in McLean VA. Other survivors include: a granddaughter, Anne Alair (Kohlenberger) Paluck of Oak Park, IL; a grandson, Paul Kohlenberger of McLean, VA; and a granddaughter, Adrienne Alair of Charlotte, NC. He enjoyed all family interactions, especially those at Catalina Island on his boat, and at his mountain home near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and at the Greenbrier. A man of the highest integrity and humility, ingratiating wit, dedication to his family, and thorough concern for service to others, Gene will be missed terribly by his family -- and by all who knew him. A service will be held at Falcon’s Landing on Friday, March 1, at 2:00 pm, with a burial ceremony to Arlington Cemetery being scheduled for later this year. The family requests that In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gary Sinese Foundation, either via its website (https://www.garysinisefoundation.org) or with checks made out to “Gary Sinise Foundation” mailed to PO Box 368 Woodland Hills, CA 91365. In both cases, please reference “in memory of Captain Gene Alair”.
Capt. Gene Lyle Alair passed away peacefully on his 99th birthday February 20, 2019, at Falcon’s Landing Retirement Community in Potomac Falls, Virginia. He was the loving husband of Dorothy Gibb Alair, who had earlier passed away in 2014,... View Obituary & Service Information
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