Eugene Thomas Chism
Eugene Thomas Chism
  • January 1, 1949 - January 4, 2018
  • Bettendorf, Iowa

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Eugene "Gene" Thomas Chism, 69, of Bettendorf, Iowa went from labor to rest on January 4, 2018. Visitation is scheduled at 10:00 a.m. and Celebration of Life will follow at 12:00 p.m. on January 13, 2018 at the Progressive Baptist Church in Davenport, Iowa. A memorial will occur in South Bend, Indiana at a later date. Online condolences may be expressed at The family request that in lieu of flowers donations are made to either Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf, Iowa or Wood Intermediate School in Davenport, Iowa in the name of Eugene T. Chism.

Gene was born January 1, 1949 in South Bend, Indiana to Rev. James T. Chism, and Lillian V. (Totty) Chism. He married Laura White in 1971, and had two daughters, Monique and Monica. In 1998 he married his present wife, Elaine Chism. Gene led his life as a servant leader and worked continually to improve the lives of others. He graduated in 1967 from Central High School in South Bend, Indiana as a basketball legend. He then went on to Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas on a basketball scholarship and earned a B.A., in Psychology/Sociology in 1971. After he graduated he joined the fraternal organization Kappa Alpha Psi.

Early in his career he worked for the American Lung Association, Mental Health Advocates, and United Cerebral Palsy Association where he collaborated on the Jerry Lewis telethon. His commitment for raising awareness for these issues led to his appointment as Commissioner of Mental Health for the State of Iowa. Gene was also committed to fighting social injustice. While living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa he served as the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and continued his membership in Davenport, Iowa. In 1994 he was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to the Affirmative Action Task Force for the State of Iowa. After moving to the Quad Cities, he became a City Commissioner in Bettendorf, Iowa. Gene found his calling in education and began working for the Davenport Community School District as a Behavioral Health Specialist and Court Liaison. Before his retirement, Gene was a beloved member of the faculty at Wood Intermediate Junior High School.

Gene was best known for the work that he did with the youth in the community, which was exemplified when he founded the "Family and Friends of Reece Morgan" in 2009. The foundation established the Coach Reece Summer Hoops League, which held its first season in the summer of 2010 and has continued to mentor hundreds of youth each year and bridge relationships between the youth and police officers.

One of his proudest acts was serving as a delegate for the Barack Obama 2008 election. Gene had the pleasure of meeting President Obama several times. In addition, Gene established Chism Enterprises and invented Head to Toe Shower Glow.

Gene is survived by his loving wife, Elaine Chism; daughters: Dr. Monique M. Chism; Monica (Cory) Brazier, and children: Divine Chism, Corriana Brazier, Moriah Brazier; step daughter, Courtney Dore, and children: Salena Dore, Elijah Dennis, Courben Session (Tim) and Alauna Session (Tim); brother, James Chism (Mary); sisters, Shirley Chew, and Charlotte Taylor (Lonnie), sisters in-law Shirley Chism and Renee Arku, Brother in-law Cottrell Pinkney and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and furry friend Missy.

He was preceded in death by his parents; step son, Timothy A. Session; brother, John "Chase" Edward Chism, brother in law Willie Chew Jr., and sister in-law Betty Jenkins.