Longtime resident Gene Brown celebrated his 90th birthday on July 29 with a tandem skydive at Elsinore Skydive. He climbed aboard a turboprop Caravan airplane and ascended to 12,500 feet, where he jumped out for an 8,000-foot free fall lasting 50 seconds. His chute opened at the appropriate time, allowing for a five-minute descending view of the Elsinore and Canyon Lake area.
The exciting landing culminated with a “seat of his pants” slide that ended with smiles all around. Watching this great adventure were his daughter Kathy Guilliat and daughter Carol Monroe and her husband John, along with numerous friends from Canyon Lake and Menifee, who marveled at his accomplishment.
Gene says he was born on July 29, 1926, and purchased his lot in Canyon Lake in 1969 after falling in love with the community on his first visit. He built his home in 1972 and moved here permanently in 1987. Gene was a U.S. Marine in 1943 during World War II. As a 17-year-old orphan, he had to be made a ward of the court in order to join the Marines. Over the course of his life he worked in the oil fields and, for 10 years, owned and operated body and fender shops.
For the next 35 years he owned and operated an independent insurance adjusting company, retiring in 1991. In Canyon Lake he has enjoyed golf and water sports, and was president of the Men’s Golf Club in 1977.
In his younger days, Gene says he was an avid dirt bike rider “doing dumb and stupid things.” The reason he did the skydive was because he saw H.W. Bush do it on his 90th birthday and he promised himself he would do the same. “Silly reason, huh.”