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Longtime furniture retailer Gene Gordon dies at 85

 Image of Eugene GordonEugene Gordon

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eugene "Gene" Gordon, who co-founded the first La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries stores in northern California, has died at age 85.

Gordon and his wife, Margaret, opened a La-Z-Boy Showcase store in the Sacramento area in 1982. The family business has grown to seven area La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries that are now owned by his daughter and son-in-law, Liz and Jim Reego.

Gordon started in the industry as a juvenile furniture buyer for Montgomery Ward in Chicago. He was later a vice president for Wickes Building and Lumber. He went on to become president of Wickes Furniture as the retailer opened its first showroom in Wheeling, Ill., and was then named senior vice president for Wickes Corp. in San Diego. He was president of Woodward Furniture in Michigan before moving to Sacramento to open the La-Z-Boy Showcase.

"Gene loved the Sacramento area and enjoyed watching the business grow from one small store in an old Kinney shoes store site to seven beautiful showrooms across the valley," said Jim Reego, now president of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

Liz Reego said her father continued to tout La-Z-Boy even after leaving the business. "My dad's love for this business is exemplified by the fact that even when he was in the hospital, he was asking each staff member if they owned La-Z-Boy furniture and if they didn't, he explained to them why they should."

In addition to the Reegos, Gordon is survived by his wife, another daughter and her husband, a son, three grandchildren, two nephews and three nieces.

A celebration for life will be held at 5:30 p.m. July 13 at Sun City Roseville Timbercreek Ballroom in Roseville, Calif. Memorial contributions may be made to Downtown Ministries, P.O. Box 542, Rancho Cordova, Calif. 95741 to assist homeless women and their families.

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