Herbert Eugene “Gene” Dishman, Jr.
Herbert Eugene “Gene” Dishman, Jr., 83, of China, died Sunday, September 10, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Gene was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, but found his home on the farm in China where he and his wife, Laura, lived for over 55 years. Gene was an active rice farmer for over 50 years. When he was a young man, he and his cousin Bill Dishman Sr. took over Dishman Bros. Farms from their family. Together they forged a wonderful partnership and continuation of the Dishman family farming legacy that has been passed on to their children and grandchildren, who are still actively farming the same land to this day. In 1985, he and Bill Sr. were named Farmers of the Year at the Texas Rice Festival. Gene was a strong supporter of improvements in rice farming and the development of responsible agriculture and worked with the Experiment Station Substation No. 4 now renamed the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, of which university he was an alumnus. While everyone knew he was a rice farmer, he also grew blueberries and soybeans and helped his son grow sunflowers and wheat.
While farming was such an important part of his life, it was just a fraction of his story; he had so many interests and hobbies and was a noble and good citizen. He was a strong, active member of his community. He served on the school board of the Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District, was a founding member of the China Volunteer Fire Department serving over 20 years, as its Chief for almost half of that time from 83’-95’. Seeing that his rural community needed support for emergency medical services, he helped found a Volunteer Ambulance service in China and became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). His strong faith led him to be an active member of the China Methodist Church, where he served on its board for several years, as chairman of the building committee for its new sanctuary from 1981-84, led many of the annual fund-raising endeavors, and was a lifelong supporter of its congregation. He supported Southeast Texas in so many ways by sponsoring local Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls, Little League Baseball, Little Dribblers Basketball, the local food bank, the area hospitals, shelters, school events, and on and on.
Gene loved music, across all genres, and played guitar by sound. He enjoyed the music of classical guitar and had a deep appreciation for the talent of all accomplished musicians. And he loved his trips to Las Vegas every October and January; if you could not join him, he was happy to place your bet for you while he was there. You would hear the best stories from him, true or not, over the card tables or slots in Vegas. He was not a huge risk-taker; it was the thrill of the game and comradery that he enjoyed. He would tell the story of winning the mega-jackpot on the penny slots with as much enthusiasm as hitting a streak of black jacks on the hot tables.
Of all his hobbies, his passion was cars. Gene was an avid car enthusiast and racing fan, racing his own stock car from 1969 until 1978 where he drove the #33 car and earned the name, “Gentleman Gene.” He and his race crew competed around Texas and Louisiana, but mostly at Motorama Speedway, later named Speedway 90. It was taken as a sign when his Modified Class car was destroyed in the “Mechanic’s Race” when it hit a wall in Turn #1. Laura insisted he get from behind the wheel; he obliged by becoming the flagman at the track for many years thereafter. As it was hard to cut ties with his beloved Speedway 90, when the races were no more, he started Catch-N-Fun inside the track walls as a local fishing hole for the community.
Gene is survived by Laura, to whom he was married for 56 years; his daughter, Jeana Dishman Evans and her husband, Ricky; his son, Herbert “Herb” Eugene Dishman, III and wife, Sarah; his daughter, Whitney Dishman Neighbors and her husband, Allan; and daughter, Morgan Dishman Angelone and her husband, Alfonso; seven grandchildren, William C. Morrison and his wife, Vanessa, Kaylyn Evans Matikana and her husband, Prasanth, Coleton Evans, Davis Neighbors, Haydon Dishman, Kailar Dishman and Vito Angelone; and two great-grandchildren, Noelle Morrison and Henry Morrison. He is preceded in death by his parents, H.E. Dishman, Sr. And Kate Kuhn Dishman, and his sister, Mary Frances Dishman Sherlock.
The family would like to thank the staff and team of caregivers from Montebello Home Care for their diligent attentiveness and support for “Mr. D,” Gentiva Hospice for their unwavering compassion and care, the staff, therapists and nurses at the Kate Dishman Rehabilitation Hospital, the nurses on the second floor of Baptist Hospital, the parade of friends and family who stopped by daily for companionship, story-telling, and steadfast friendship. The family is forever grateful and indebted to the incomparable Pam Kitchell for her many years of loyalty, dedication, service, friendship and patience; she was Gene’s right arm and went above and beyond in all things for everyone. We are forever grateful to you all. Gene lived a great story, loved unconditionally, and was so very loved in return.
A gathering of Mr. Dishman’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., Friday, September 15, 2023, in the Dishman Chapel at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3430 Harrison Avenue, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 16, 2023, at China Methodist Church, 205 West Washington Avenue, China. His interment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.
Memorial contributions may be made to China Methodist Church, P.O. Box 8, China, Texas 77613.
Gathering of Family and Friends
Dishman Chapel at Trinity United Methodist Church
- 3430, Harrison Avenue, Beaumont, Texas, 77706,
- September 15, 2023
- 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
China Methodist Church
- 205, West Washington Avenue, China, Texas, 77613,
- September 16, 2023
- 11:00 am
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
- 4955, Pine St, Beaumont, TX, 77703,
- September 16, 2023