Class of 1954
1954 Maroon Spotlight
National Junior Honor Society 50-52; President of National Junior Honor Society 51-52; Junior Play 52-53; Delegate to Boy’s State 52-53; Student Council 52-54; Student Council Treasurer 53-54; F.F.A. 50-54; F.F.A. Secretary 53-54; Band 50-54; Band President 53-54; National Honor Society 52-54; National Honor Society President 53-54; Wrestling 53-54; Class Assemblies 51-54.
Dr. Eugene Nance “Gene” Zavodny
December 7, 1936 – May 2, 2019
Eugene (Gene) Nance Zavodny was born on a farm in Noble County, Oklahoma, in 1936 to Joe and Katie Mickish Zavodny. He attended a one-room country school for the first five grades. After Pleasant Valley School was closed, he rode a school bus to Perry, spending at least an hour and a half on the bus each day.
After graduating from Perry High School in 1954 he attended Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, where he received an A.A. degree. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. At OSU he belonged to several honorary societies and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
He did post-graduate work at Purdue University and received his PhD from the University of Tulsa in Chemical Engineering in 1971.
His early career included working on the U.S. space program in Huntsville, Alabama, in Littleton, Colorado, and in Tulsa. He then spent many years working in the Chicago area on designs for shock absorbers and nuclear power plants. His later career included working on a variety of engineering projects for Efdyn Corporation in Guthrie and for OSECO in Broken Arrow. He held four patents.
After retiring he gave up golf and traced his family genealogy and enjoyed going to the family farm to plant fruit trees on the family farm and just spend time in the country.
He was selected as an Outstanding Graduate of Perry High School.
Gene was a member of Faith United Methodist Church, Dialogue Class and Coffee and Conversation at Faith. He went on ten international mission trips. Always a handy man, he worked on construction teams building churches and houses.
He is survived by his wife, Laural Hirschman Zavodny, to whom he was married for fifty-seven years. They were blessed with two children. Their son Doug and his wife Cathy have two sons, James and Mark, and live in Dallas. Their daughter Madeline and her husband, George Rainbolt, live in Jacksonville, Florida, with their two sons, Joseph and Corbin.
He is also survived by siblings Alfred Ted Zavodny, David Zavodny, and Cheryl Zavodny Butler as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and an aunt. He was predeceased by his siblings Jimmy Joe Zavodny, Lila Kay Zavodny Brand, and Linda Zavodny Kesner.
A service honoring his life is to be held at Faith United Methodist Church in Tulsa on Tuesday, May 7th, followed by his burial at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Noble County, Oklahoma.