In Loving Memory

Thomas E. Stokes, Feb. 1, 2018



In Loving Memory

January 30, 1947 – February 1, 2018




Foley, AL


            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 Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home, 7951 American Way, Daphne, AL.


  1. Lynne Fisher

    Gene!!! Heey!!! Man, you are so missed at all times here!!! I know how you helped me, & as a reflection of your generousity, I hope my helping others will one day inspire others to help more. You were an inspiration & a guiding light in my life!! I will continue to be as helpful to others, as you were to me, Gene!!! I learned from the best– that being you!!! Thank you for all the wonderful life lessons!!! Until we meet again…..
    Love You,
    Lynne, in Mont-
    gomery, Al.

  2. Dana Robertson

    Jenni, We are sending love and prayers as you celebrate the life of your sweet Dad. It’s been one year (Feb. 5th, 2016) since we lost our Dad, so I understand how you must feel. I’m so glad you were able to be there to support and love him during his last days. I know he loved you dearly, and I’m sure he cherished his time with you. Remember the good times and be thankful for the memories…Love, Dana Robertson (and Family)

  3. Ellen Mc Queen

    Jenni, I never had the privilege of meeting your dad but feel I know him a bit from all your eloquent writings. You were so blessed to have each other – the love between you emanated in all your photos! The road ahead will be difficult without him but if you reflect on the happy memories and be grateful for the special and unique love and bond you both shared, it will be easier. You are in my thoughts and prayers!
    Ellen McQueen

  4. Beth Wright

    Jenni, I know you won’t remember me but I taught you in Kindergarten! I remember your dad very fondly. He was a great dad and he loved you very much. You have been a great daughter and I’m so sorry for your loss. Much love, Beth Wright

    • Jenni

      OH MY GOSH!! Of COURSE I remember you!!!! That year in your kindergarten class is one of my favorite memories– granted over time, its become a bit more of bits and pieces of memories… but I still remember the JOY I had in your class. I can’t say that for many of my teachers or classes along the way. :-). Thank you for your kind words and for saying hi!!

  5. Derek

    Gene, what an incredible man you are, what an incredible impact you make on everyone you come in contact with. What a celebration in heaven as Jesus welcomes you home.. Thanks for the talks, thanks for the support, thanks for Jenni! Her love and care for others is a testimonial to who you are in her life… You will be missed my friend. Until we get to see each other again… Go Dawgs! Well maybe this one time… Roll Tide Roll!

  6. Cynthia Bivens & Earlene Cothren

    Jenni, I am so glad I got to meet your dad many years ago when you were born. He was a good man and did a lot to help others. His love for you was unconditional, and he was so very proud of you. I know your life has been a whirlwind the past few months, but I am so thankful you were able to spend some quality time with your dad! You and your dad had many wonderful times, and many memories for you to cherish. Mom and I are sending much love and prayers for you. Take care of yourself, and know that we love you so very much! You are in all of our thoughts and prayers! <3

  7. Sheridan

    Thomas , may you Rest In Peace , your daughter and I met when I walked into a sports bar in NYC , I didn’t want to be there but was meeting a friend of a friend for her birthday, I was irritated on arrival , when I walked in I saw this sweet little thing with a baseball cap on just trying to watch a game . There where men swarming around her and watching this I just stepped in and told the guy to learn signals of uninterest . I grabbed your daughter and brought her to my table with of girlfriends and the next day I showed her my city, I made a friend for life that day. Jenni and I have laughed and cried together , she is a true blue beautiful soul. She loved you to the ends of the earth , just as she loves everyone she encounters ,you have an incredible daughter and I know she brought peace in your final days. What a gift you gave us the day Jenni became your daughter . May you Rest In Peace and I hope you met my mom Kathy in your passing , I told her to look out for you and guide you through . Thomas , god bless and until we all meet again .

    • Jenni

      He would SOOOO look at you with a stern look & say, “It’s GENE!”

      … And then start laughing after a short pause for effect. Love you, sister.

  8. Gail M. Ford (Mrs. Thomas A.)


    Your dad was a unique individual in so many ways! His enduring friendship with Tom; his everlasting love and pride in the person you were and have become; his never-ending availability to assist others; his laughter and warm smile; willingness to listen, learn, and grow – ALL these things contributed to making him a friend for life – not many of those around anymore!
    Gene was one of the first of Tom’s friends that I met, as Tom and I attended pre-marital counseling in Atlanta. After the initial meeting, I fully understood WHY he and Tom were “brothers from another mother.” Gene became my friend that day, a true, cherished friend. His passing is a wound that will take some time to heal for Tom and I; HOWEVER, we stand ready to assist you in any manner possible, when needed. Blessings to you always, and REST IN PEACE, GENE!! ROLL TIDE!!

  9. Jason LaGreco

    Gene, was a great man always looking out for others. He always had an ear to listen. You may be gone , but you will never be forgotten. See you on the other side brother

  10. Terry Underhill

    Thinking of Y’all.
    Sending Peace, Love, and Comfort.

    Simple enough, Geno?

    Happy Trails, my Friend.
    Hope to see you on the Other Side.


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