Gene Pigue is remembered by his brothers and sisters as a gentleman with a bounce in his step and smile on his face. He was an early riser, upbeat, natural born storyteller, people person and friend to many. He loved UT and the Red Sox from the time he was a little boy. He loved to hunt, fish, golf, skeet shoot and talk. He has been the “Minutemen Bass Man of the Year” and won the world championship skeet shooting events in three gauges of the shotgun! In his younger years he was a high school star on the basketball court, and even was scouted by the University of Memphis. As a matter of fact, he and his wife of 56 years, Marie, played for rival teams of Dyer and Yorkville. They courted for about a year mostly through correspondence. During this time Gene was stationed in Germany while enlisted in the Air Force. He finally received a thirty day leave to come home. Marie explains that he either came home to marry her or because it was quail season in Tennessee! Whatever the reason, he accomplished both! During his 23 years in the Air Force he was also stationed in Alaska, the Philippines and Colorado Springs to name a few. During this time he met Christians from all these places being active in local congregations. After retirement they moved to Nashville for Gene’s second career with the State of Tennessee in health care quality control. He raised three children, Martin, Jennifer (Hargis) and Kelly (Hindsley). His military career was seen as an influence in his fathering. They had to clean their rooms every morning including making their bed which would bounce a quarter. They were not allowed to leave lights on, the water running while brushing their teeth, and were to always close the door behind them. The Pigue home was always open to military friends from all around the world and often missionaries who were in need of a place to stay. The MJ congregation was blessed in 1992 after Gene’s second retirement to have them move to the town between the lakes. He always had a willing spirit and servant’s heart. His kind words and ability to make people feel special has encouraged so many of us. Monday one of our men in his thirties told me how meaningful it was to hear Gene lead a prayer. He said, “When I grow up I want to pray like him.” He went on to explain how a person who could pray like that surely had much practice in private. Another young father told me that the last time he was with Gene, they sat in his living room and Gene lead them in a Bible study.
Gene has been battling cancer and was dreading another round of treatments when he died of heart failure Friday night just before midnight. His life was honored during a funeral service Monday as one of his childhood friends reflected on stories about their relationships all through the years. It was a special time hearing about Gene’s first fishing trip at 5, double date involving a snake in a box of candy at 15 and plowing a field while praying to find a lost wallet as a mature man. We will dearly miss our friend and brother. We continue to pray for Marie and her sweet family. But we celebrate the hope we have in our God’s Promises that He has a place prepared–surely things are better for Gene than he has ever known on this earth!