Eugene William (Gene) Wilson, 82, of Hahira, GA, went to Heaven on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, after a courageous battle with congestive heart failure and C.O.P.D.
Gene was born on November 20, 1931 in Gastonia, NC, the last of Rufus Boyce Wilson and Bessie Louise Wilcox Wilson's nine children. While in high school he began his first job at Patty Cake Bakery. In 1950 Gene joined the Navy, which sent him to the San Diego Naval Training Center. After boot camp, he was assigned to the USS Sanborn where he was a baker aboard ship. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and returned to Gastonia, NC, where a friend arranged a blind date for him with Lillian Dover. Gene and Lillian were married on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1955, and they relocated to Charlotte, NC when he took a job with Krispy Kreme Donuts. Their son, Randall Gene, was born in Charlotte in 1957. Gene later secured his first managerial job at Federal Bake Shops in Greensboro, NC. After a year, they promoted and transferred him to a brand new bakery in Atlanta, GA, where they lived in Decatur, until 1959 when an opportunity arose to purchase his own bakery located in Harvey's Super Market in Valdosta, GA. Gene named his business Cakes, Cakes, Cakes and operated it for 33 years with much help from his sisters Helen, Mary Jean and Margaret. In 1971, he was elected to serve as president of the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). During those years he founded the Southeastern Master Bakers' Association, which included GA, FL, NC and SC, to represent their local interests. In March 1991, after 36 years of marriage, the Lord called Lillian to Heaven. In 1992 he sold his bakery and went to work full-time farming his pecan orchards in Hahira, GA. He continued to help his fellow bakers nationwide and was a member of the Past President's Club of RBA. In June 1992, Gene married Margaret Anna (Marge) Winters from Wyoming, MI, and gained three more children, Ronda, Scott and Susan, and another bakery, Marge's Donut Den. Gene continued his love of the bakery business by sharing his knowledge, talent and famous recipes with Marge's employees who really loved him.
Gene once wrote, "I feel fortunate to have grown up with lots of love and to have had a successful business. I am very proud of all my children and grandchildren. I believe the Lord guides us through our entire life to take advantage of whatever comes our way. He has truly blessed me with the people and experiences in my life. To the Lord be the glory!"
Mr. Wilson was a member of West End Presbyterian Church, and was a devoted husband, father and friend to everyone he met. He will always be remembered for his integrity, kindness, generosity, and his love of God and family. He loved the land, animals, and his numerous "girlfriends".
Survivors include his wife Marge Wilson of Wyoming, MI; children, Dr. Randall Gene & Charlene Wilson of DeSoto, TX, Scott Alan & Rhonda Winters of Suntan Valley, AZ, Ronda Jean & Allan Pilczuk of Rockford, MI, and Susan Marie & Dwight Towne of Mesa, AZ; 15 grandchildren, Charles Randall Wilson; Kyle, Eric, Megan, Lydia & Wyatt Winters; Dan, Jake, Sam, Kathryn Ann, Jared & Nicholas Pilczuk; Sarah, Sondra & Sophia Towne. Also surviving are two sisters, Eleanor Gum and Patricia Boyette, both of Valdosta, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Lillian Wilson and siblings, Betty, Jack, Margaret, R.B., Mary Jean and Helen.
A funeral service for Mr. Wilson will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in the chapel of Carson McLane Funeral Home, in Valdosta, GA. Rev. John Akers will officiate. Burial will follow at McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 1 until 2 p.m. prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to West End Presbyterian Church, 106 St Augustine Rd, Valdosta, GA 31601, or the Samuel Omogo Foundation, 1751 28th St. SW, Wyoming, MI 49519. Condolences may be conveyed to the family on the obituary page of www.McLaneCares.com Carson McLane Funeral Home