Eugene Kiely was born October 26, 1919 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. He raised a family of five girls with his wife Alice in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1960 Gene traveled thousands of miles west to Alaska and took a job at the Alaska Railroad. He sent for Alice and his daughters. The family embarked on their first airplane flight on Western Orient Airlines. Gene and his wife Alice and their five daughters relocated to Anchorage, Alaska. My mother is one of those daughters. Over time Gene and Alice had five granddaughters including my sister. I was their sixth grandchild, the anomaly, the lone boy. Thus, when I was born I was given the middle name Kiely and I carry that name with pride.
Grandpa Gene was gruff and jovial with a booming voice. He slicked back his hair, carried Lifesavers in a silver tin, drove a black convertible VW bug and worked as a conductor for the railroad. Through my grandson-tinted glasses he was a god. When I played with my train set I would imagine Grandpa Gene working in the caboose. Sometimes my mom would take us to the park near the railroad station so that we could wave at Grandpa when the train came by.
Grandpa Gene passed away in 1984, I was only 5. He was the first family member I had lost and learning to come to terms with is death was difficult.
Over the years I have been given several keepsakes that belonged to my grandpa: his ARR licence plate, his life saver tin, even his shaving kit. One of the more recent items my Aunt Mary gave me was his Carhartt jacket. The jacket symbolize my grandpa. It is strong, durable, and timeless. It never fit me very well and so it hung in the closet and never received the attention it deserved. This summer I made the decision to change that and called Akbar Chisti, the founder of Seamus Golf and Tartan King of golf. I have long been a fan of Seamus Golf and I knew that Akbar would be able to help me repurpose my grandpa’s coat in a way that I could enjoy for years to come. Akbar was excited about the project and so I shipped the coat to Portland for the transformation. When it arrived at Seamus HQ I got a call from Akbar. We discussed options and ideas. As we talked he was looking over the coat and remarked that we had something special here. I could hear the excitement in his voice
After a few weeks, and a few emails back and forth, a package, about the same size as the one I sent Akbar, arrived from Seamus. I sent them my Grandpa Gene’s coat coat and what I got in return was something even more special. In total I receive three headcovers, a putter cover, and a zippered pouch. Each creation was made with care and precision, utilizing every inch of the coat. With well placed buttons, pockets, collars, and cuffs my grandpa’s coat is now with me as I walk the fairways.
My Grandpa Larry was the man who introduced my to the game of golf. I am foerever in his debt for that and he is on my mind every time I play. Now, with the help of Akbar and the wonderful people at Seamus Golf, my Grandpa Gene will also be with with me as I walk fairways in the future. Thank you Akbar, and thank you Seamus Golf.