Irvine Eugene “Gene” Parsons passed away
peacefully on October 19, 2019 at age 92.
Gene was born January 29th 1927 in Giles County to the late Guy Campbell Parsons and Mary Blanche Smith Parsons. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years Esther Simmons Parsons; siblings, Campbell Parsons, Herbert Parsons, William Parsons, Bessie Wynne, Lillian Hickman Wilson, and Inez Davis. Gene is survived by sons Gary (Carol) Parsons of Franklin, TN, David (Torrie) Parsons of Columbia, TN; grandchildren Kate Parsons of Little Rock AR, and Kyle Parsons of Chattanooga, TN; and a host of nieces and nephews. He was a member of the Church Street Church of Christ, Lewisburg, TN.
Gene grew up in Pigeon Roost (Giles County) He was the youngest of seven children. His father passed away when Gene was five years old and he had to start working on the farm. He learned to “break” calves and milked cows before and after school. One of his proudest achievements at age nine was training his calves to pull a circus wagon in the Dairy Festival of Giles County. He also reminisced of attending events at Milky Way Farms. While in high school, he completed flight lessons and made his solo flight which was an achievement he was very proud of and continued flying in later years. After high school, he was employed at Genesco, Pulaski, TN in 1946 where he met Esther Simmons, his future bride. He started as a floor employee and worked up through the ranks.
His career was placed on hold to serve in
the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict, stationed at various
bases in the U.S. and 18 months in England. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant
with specialty in Supply and Armament & Electronics. Highlights of his
military career include Outstanding Airman Award and Project Manager to
establish armament and electronic support in forward combat bases.
Upon returning to civilian life, Gene and Esther returned to Tennessee and to Genesco. He rose to the position of plant manager which ultimately brought them to Lewisburg, TN in 1969. During this time, he was a member of the Marshall County Rotary Club and served in several executive roles. Except for four years active duty in the Air Force, his career with Genesco spanned 39 years. After leaving Genesco, he served as General Manager for Southern Games in Lewisburg, TN. He also was employed by ICP where he retired in 1990. Gene and Esther enjoyed mowing yards until age 75 when they decided to officially retire.
In addition to aviation, he had a great love and appreciation for VW Beetles. He owned four VW Beetles and enjoyed sharing them as a member of the Marshall County Old Car Club. He utilized them for daily transportation, for transporting lawn mowers, and in later years for cruising with Esther on the backroads of Marshall County looking at scenery and watching for deer. After Esther’s death, Gene lived at “the Big House” (The Bridge Assisted Living) in Columbia, TN. He never met a stranger and enjoyed meeting people, talking to people, and making sure everyone felt welcome. He had a big heart and did not hesitate to help when friends and family were in need. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Honorary pallbearers include nieces, nephews, friends from The Bridge Assisted Living and Marshall County Old Car Club.
Special thanks to The Bridge Assisted Living
of Columbia, NHC-Maury Regional, and Hellen and Ladelle Smith.
Funeral services were conducted from the chapel of London Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. with burial following in Temple Cemetery. Visitation with the family was on Monday evening from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. and on Tuesday until the funeral hour.
London Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.