September 26, 1924 – August 26, 2019
Gene K. Williams passed away in her home on August 26, 2019, just shy of her 95th birthday.
Gene was born on a farm in Ellison Ridge in Winston County, Mississippi. She was the youngest of seven and was the last surviving sibling. She loved her sisters and brothers and was with most of them when they died. She was always the family caretaker, going whenever anyone needed help. Her nieces and nephews loved her and visited her until the end of her life.
Gene played basketball in high school and loved to watch the Saints and basketball on tv. Her grandson, Michael, installed a new big screen tv recently and she said it would help watching sports.
Gene was married to Omar C. “Jut” Murphy for 25 years. They moved to Patterson in 1953 with Southern Natural Gas. Gene worked at Stella’s Beauty Shop from 1953 to 1974. She helped many of the women of Patterson stay beautiful each week and listened to the troubles of their lives. She felt like her customers were all her friends. Her daughters would complain that the permanent wave solution smelled bad. Gene’s answer to them was, “That’s the smell of money. You buy a $2 box of permanent wave and charge $25 to know how to apply it.”
Gene helped establish First Baptist Church of Patterson. Her church family at FBC and the youth that she worked with stayed in contact with her. Gene had a strong but practical faith. She believed that you pray like it depends on God and you work like it depends on you. Gene was also active in Eastern Star in Morgan City. She served as Worthy Matron in 1964 of Alice Chapter No 5. She was also very active with Patterson school. She played on the Moms basketball teams several years while her daughters were in school–dressed just crazy enough to embarrass them. Gene also served in many leadership positions for the PTA of Patterson school.
She left Patterson in 1974 to be a housemother at LSU for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Gene moved to Houston in 1976 to be close to her daughter, Judy and her family. Gene worked at Isabel Gerhart and Saks Fifth Avenue in Designer Dresses. She served many of the socialites in Houston and had fun with the beautiful ball gowns. She returned to Patterson in 1986 to be near her daughter Martha and her granddaughter Katie.
Gene subsequently married Clifton Phillips in 1990; he passed in 1997. Both loved to garden. Growing vegetables was something that Gene did all her life. She was never afraid of hard work and it showed in the results of her garden, canning, and freezing vegetables. Her children, grandkids, friends and neighbors were the lucky recipients of her pear and fig preserves. Her rolls, pound cakes, cobblers, and chicken salad were gifts for many of her friends. She was active in the Patterson Garden Club serving as president in 1998-99. A tree was planted in her honor at Hattie Watts Elementary School in 2000 for her service.
Gene fell in love for the last and final time when she met Robert Williams of Franklin on an AARP trip to Washington DC. They were married in 2002 and enjoyed 15 years together in Franklin until Bob died at home with Gene caring for him. They had a wonderful life together
gardening, traveling, and spending time with children and grandchildren. Bob used to say that he never knew what real happiness was until he met Gene and she said he was the best thing in her life.
Gene Williams is survived by her two daughters, Martha Chauvin of Patterson and Judith Baker and her husband, Joe, of Houston. Gene had three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Katherine Chauvin of Patterson and her fiancé, Alton Pisani, and daughters, Kaydence Topham and Kenzie Pisani. John Baker of Houston. Michael Baker of Houston and his wife, Marci, and their sons, Cullen and Brandon.
Gene loved her daughters exceptionally, but her grands and great grands were her delight. She was always interested in their lives and wanting them to do well. She had them all on her “Find my Friends” app on her iPhone and would check each night to see that they were home and safe. She was up to date with technology, using her iPad and iPhone to keep up with family and friends with email and Facebook.
Her daughter, Martha, lived with her the last year and a half as her primary caretaker until she needed more help. Martha and Judy are so grateful for the live-in help that was given by Mary Beckworth of Lafayette. Mary was an angel sent from heaven. They are also in a debt of thanks to Melvina Morris of Franklin for all of her help. Special thanks go to her neighbors and the friends from Franklin First Methodist Church.
Visitation will be on Saturday afternoon from 12:30 to 2pm at Ibert’s Mortuary in Franklin; followed be a service officiated by Rev. Steve Porter. A private burial for the family will be at Ibert’s Memorial Park Mausoleum in Patterson following the service.
Serving as pallbearers will be her grandsons, Michael Baker and John Baker, her granddaughter’s fiancé, Alton Pisani, her great grandsons, Cullen Baker and Brandon Baker, and her good friend, Steve Landry of Franklin.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to First United Methodist Church of Franklin, 920 Main St., Franklin, La. 70538 in her memory.
Family and friends may view the obituary and express their condolences online by visiting www.iberts.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ibert’s Mortuary, Inc., 1007 Main Street, Franklin, LA 70538, (337) 828-5426.