Food Culinary 16

Eugene "Gene" F. Combs

November 3, 1932 ~ October 8, 2020 (age 87)


It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Eugene (Gene) F. Combs on October 8, 2020, one month shy of his 88th birthday.

Born in San Francisco in 1932 to John and Claire Combs, he was the youngest of three brothers. He was raised in Vallejo, spending summers at the family ranch in Yountville where he began his love for agriculture. Gene graduated from St. Vincent Catholic High School in 1951.

Gene's fondest memories are of spending time with his father and brothers deer hunting throughout California. Although Gene never did "kill" a deer, he was known in high school as "The Deer Slayer".

In 1959, Gene married Ruby Murray and together had two daughters, Cathleen and Cari to whom he was a dedicated and loving father. Through the many years of 4-H and the many miles logged hauling them to horse competitions, Gene was their biggest supporter and encouraged them that there was nothing they couldn't accomplish.

For 30 years, Gene worked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard as a draftsman. After retiring 1988, he married Joan Haggerty. They lived on the Combs Brothers Vineyard for 32 years.

Gene and Joan had many happy years travelling throughout the western states in their RV with their beloved dogs, Maggie, Murphy and Mick.

As prunes gave way to grapes, the Combs Brothers Vineyard produced grapes for several wineries over the years. Gene was a respected grower in the Napa Valley, producing Cabernet Sauvignon in the Yountville Appellation.

Gene and Joan were members and volunteers of the Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce in Yountville. He was also a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West. Gene was a founding member of the "Volunteer" Yountville Fire Department, which disbanded years ago, but he kept it alive by hosting a monthly dinner club at the barn on his ranch for original volunteer members.

Gene was a rich and avid storyteller with a robust sense of humor. He loved American history and was an amateur scholar on the Civil War and World War II. He also enjoyed "Cowboy" culture and Native American history.

To use his own words, Gene loved to "shoot the breeze", spending hours exchanging personal stories with family and friends. We will miss him dearly.

Gene is survived by his wife, Joan Combs, daughters Cathleen Wilson (husband Marty Wilson), Cari Combs and stepdaughters Paula Totten (husband Grant Totten), and Kathryn Fletcher. Six Combs nephews and nieces -- Joe, Lynn, Jack, Eileen, Tim and Patricia -- also survive him.

Due to Covid-19, a celebration of Gene's life will be held in the spring of 2021 at the family ranch. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Patrick-St. Vincent Catholic High School, 1500 Benicia Road, Vallejo, CA 94591 (




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eugene "Gene" F. Combs, please visit our floral store.


Family to do services at later date

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