Gene Charles Radke, former Chico resident, passed away Feb. 6, 2020 at the age of 90. Gene Radke was well known in the community as a teacher and baseball coach for Pleasant Valley High School, touching many young lives and often could remember the names of every student and athlete that traveled through his science classrooms and baseball field.
At the University of Wisconsin, Gene was a standout baseball pitcher and was proud to have played in the first ever College World Series in 1950. His desire to play professional baseball was interrupted to serve in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. Gene returned and began his teaching and coaching career in Verona, Wisconsin. Tired of the Wisconsin winters, Gene moved his family, wife Noreen, daughter Karen and son Tom to California in 1962. Gene began at Pleasant Valley High in 1967, retiring after 23 years in the town he so embraced.
With the kids pursuing their own careers elsewhere, Gene and Noreen moved to Cave Creek, Arizona as they came to love the desert lifestyle but always missed the town of Chico and its people. Late in life, Gene enjoyed traveling, a vintage Ford Mustang, horseback riding with friends, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and following his grandson’s professional baseball career with the San Diego Padres. His activities were slowed by a Parkinson’s diagnosis several years ago that eventually contributed to his recent passing and new residence in Heaven.
Gene is proceeded in death by his wife Noreen Radke in 1998. Survived by his children, Karen Radke-Miller and her husband Mike Miller of Bend, Oregon, and Tom Radke, his wife Barbara, Westlake Village,California, and their children, Gene’s grandchildren and their spouses, Travis and Kristen Radke of Phoenix, Arizona, and Patrick and Lauren Radke Meddaugh of Westlake Village, California