In Loving Memory
January 30, 1947 – February 1, 2018
On Thursday, February 1st, 2018, after a short battle with cancer, Gene took his last breath on this earth with his loving daughter by his side. Born in St Louis, MO, Gene lived in Nashville, Louisville and Huntsville during his early years. He graduated from Huntsville High School and attended Jacksonville State University. He also served in the US Army in the early 1970s.
After college and the Army, Gene began a life-long career in the food and hospitality industry. Affectionately known as “Geno” to friends and family, he managed The Gathering Spot in Huntsville. After that, he owned and operated Geno’s On the Square followed by Geno’s (Off the Square), where Gene offered many of the local Huntsville musical talents their start. After the Geno’s days, he worked for the Shoney’s and Ryan’s restaurant chains in several Alabama cities. After moving to the Orange Beach/ Foley, AL area, he worked at many of the local hot spots and most recently at Papa John’s, where he was known for his cheerful, upbeat personality and ever exuberant, “YAAAAAY!!”
For the past ten years, Gene lived in Foley and was an active member of the A.A. community, which he credited with turning his life around and providing him with an opportunity to serve others. Fully embracing the 12th step to serve others, he was an active volunteer for the local Kairos Prison Ministry program, which offers assistance to prison inmates nearby. Gene was both a mentor and a faithful source of support for those in recovery, whether newcomers or “long-timers.” One of his greatest joys was to act as a District 19 Jubilee committee member, planning and hosting the annual celebration of recovery for AL-Anon, Alateen, and A.A members in the lower Alabama region. Undoubtedly, Gene entered the greatest Jubilee in the Heavens on Thursday, with a great big smile and cheerful, “Hey y’all!!”
Though he was beloved by many, Gene is survived by: daughter, Jenni Stokes of Charlotte, NC; brothers Cecil “Cec” (wife: Shirley) of Huntsville and Burt (wife: Sherry) of Ft. Meyers, FL; and nephews Lawrence Stokes (wife: Julie) of Greer, SC and Tom Stokes (wife: Courtney) of Milwaukee, WI.
A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 6:30pm at First Presbyterian Church of Foley, 195 E. Berry Ave., Foley, AL. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you carry Gene’s torch of light forward in serving others. Please consider making a donation to either: First Presbyterian Church of Foley: Kairos Prison Ministry or the District 19 Jubilee P.O. Box 724 Gulf Shores, AL 36547. Expressions of condolence may be offered at www.hughesfh.com. Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home, 7951 American Way, Daphne, AL.