USS HOUSTON CA 30
“The galloping Ghost of the Java Coast”
Eugene Carl Crispi
1920 - 2004
Eugene Carl Crispi was born June 28, 1920 in Grangeville, a farming community in the central
valley of California. Gene was
the youngest son of Italian immigrants’ Aristide and Natalina (Bastiani) Crispi. He
was raised on a farm with his four brothers and four sisters, attended grammar
school in Grangeville and high school in Hanford, California.
In February 1940, at the age of 19 Gene decided to
join the US Navy. Having just gone
through The Great Depression, jobs were scarce and he figured the military
would be a good place to earn a living for a young man with no experience.
Gene survived the sinking of the USS Houston and was
taken prisoner by the Japanese. He spent
3˝ years on Java as a prisoner of war suffering through beatings, diseases and
After the war ended he was sent to hospitals in India and New York before returning to Grangeville. Shortly after arriving home, a welcome home
party was held in his honor. There he
met Dorothy Elaine Lovelace. Three weeks
later, on November 18, 1945, in Reno, Nevada, they were married.
After they were married, they moved to Oakland, California and later to Castro Valley and Hayward, California. Gene worked
most of his life as a carpet layer and later as a roofing salesman before
retiring. He was actively involved in
Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Little League when their children were growing up.
Gene and Dottie had four children – two daughters –
Pamela Jean and Deborah Sue and two sons – Allen Leroy and Charles Bailey,
eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
They moved to Reno, Nevada in 1998 and loved their new home there.
After nearly 58 years of marriage, Dottie passed
away on October 7, 2003 and
Gene passed away on October 4, 2004.