On Jan. 16, 2021 Eugene Dale Salsman, age 80, passed peacefully at home on Golden Hill, Pennsylvania, surrounded by his loving family. Gene was born Sept. 18, 1940 to the late Ralph E. Salsman and Gertrude Woodruff Salsman in his home on Golden Hill, in Laceyville, Pennsylvania.
Gene grew up on a farm with six sisters and one brother. He loved farming and planned to farm one day. However, his plans changed after graduating from Wyalusing Valley with the class of 1958, where he was a standout baseball player. In addition to baseball, Gene also enjoyed music. He played the trumpet in marching band and was a member of chorus. He loved to share the story about the late Mr. Max Gannon, who took him from class and drove him to Mansfield State Teacher’s College and signed him up for school.
At Mansfield, Gene majored in biology with a minor in history. In addition to his academic pursuits, he was also successful on the baseball field where he was an outstanding outfielder and hitter. In 1961, Gene signed a professional baseball contract with the Auburn Mets, in Auburn, New York. It was there that he met the love of his life, Lillian Deyo. They met on April 27, 1962 and married only one month later on May 28, 1962 in the rectory of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Auburn.
A little over a year later, Gene hung up his professional spikes to take a teaching position with the Wyalusing Area School District as a science teacher. In addition to teaching, he became the Rams’ baseball coach. During his coaching career, Gene racked up well over 20 winning seasons. Over the course of his coaching career, he won multiple NTL championships, took multiple trips to the district playoffs, was named Coach of the Year on numerous occasions and in 1998 he led the team to the state finals. Although they lost in the finals, it was one of the highlights of Gene’s coaching career. That same year, Gene was inducted to the Northeastern Region Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
The success Gene found on the field, was small in comparison to the success he found in the classroom. Gene was the favorite of many and he loved teaching. He always said that: “I want to be remembered first as a teacher and second as a coach.” He loved his students and would go out of his way for them.
Gene was an active member of the Lion’s Club for years, where he found ways to give back to the community. Gene loved his family deeply. Pop, as he was affectionately known as by his grandchildren, loved watching them play sports, sing in concerts, dance and participate in shows.
Gene is survived by his loving, devoted wife, Lillian Deyo Salsman of 58 years; daughter, Susan and son-in-law David Hitchcock of Laceyville, son Todd, and daughter-in-law Natalie Salsman of Wyalusing, and daughter Carla Salsman of Laceyville. Gene is also survived by his grandchildren, Brendon (Kerry) Hitchcock of Athens, Pennsylvania, Preston (Alyssa) Hitchcock of York, Pennsylvania, Logan Hitchcock of Laceyville, Holdan Hitchcock of Laceyville, Jordan Salsman of Camptown, Pennsylvania, Danelle (Ross) Salsman of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, Nicholas Salsman of Wyalusing, Connor Salsman of Wyalusing, Kennadi Kusmierz of Laceyville, and Kaeden Kusmierz of Laceyville; great-grandchildren, Owen Hitchcock, Burke Hitchcock, Neil Hitchcock, Everett Hitchcock, and Olivia Hitchcock. Gene is also survived by his siblings, Beverly Reed of Hanover, Pennsylvania, Roger (Linda) Salsman of Laceyville, Sharon (Bill) Chaney of Montrose, Pennsylvania, Andrea (Mason) Sterling of Laceyville, Judie (Bill) Muench of Laceyville, Roseanna (Kevin) Carroll of Elmira, New York, Donna (Scott) Zaner of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. Gene is also survived by his Uncle, Carl Salsman of Laceyville; his brother-in-law, Earl Deyo Jr. of Laceyville; and many nieces and nephews.
He was proceeded in death by his mother, Gertrude Woodruff Salsman (d. Jan. 22, 1981 and his father, Ralph E. Salsman (d. Sept. 12, 1971).
Funeral services for Gene will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 from the Sheldon Funeral Home in Laceyville, with his grandson, Brendon Hitchcock officiating. Interment will follow at the North Flat Cemetery.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the funeral service will be for immediate family only. However, the Wyalusing Stream Team will be streaming the service live via their Facebook page. Condolences are appreciated during the stream or at anytime at www.SheldonFuneralHomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gene’s name to the Wyalusing Education Foundation, PO Box 204, Wyalusing, PA 18853, where a scholarship will be set up at a later date in his name.