Herbert Eugene “Gene” Dishman, Jr.

December 2, 1939 - September 10, 2023

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

Funeral Service

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

Comments (26)

    Michelle says:

    Very sorry to hear of Mr. Ds passing. I very much enjoyed his company and his stories during my time in Texas with Montebello.

    Tootie Trahan says:

    So very sorry to hear of Mr. Gene’s passing. Love and prayers for the family. With deepest sympathy, Tootie Schroeder Trahan

    Christina Foux says:

    Mrs. Laura, Whitney, Trey, Morgan and Jeana
    Gel by sent me the obi, I don’t even have the words to say how very much “Mr. Gene” meant to me! Actually how very much you all mean to mean to me! My heart is sad and the world has lost one of those good men. My prayers are for all of you. I love y’all.

    Leslie Engman says:

    You will be so greatly missed!

    Vivian Rice Bloomfield says:

    We are so sorry for your great loss! One of Moms’ (Bertha) last interactions with Gene and Laura was at Kates wake and funeral. Pictures taken during this time were in a frame near her prayer books. Please know that we are praying for God to grant you peace and comfort.

    Gerald & Pam West says:

    On behalf of the West family, it is our sincere expressed sorrow of Gene’s passing. In the community of China, Gene Dishman was a community leader, financial contributor, active supporter, and just a very good neighbor. My first acknowledgement of the Dishman family starts back in the 1950’s, when Gene’s two uncles showed up in China with two new Case tractors (with rubber tires) to clear and fence newly purchase land along the North China Road. What developed was a thriving Dishman Farm with rice and registered Hereford bulls/cattle. Gene and his first cousin, Bill Dishman, took over the daily operation, later. Bill and Gene are now both deceased, but the Dishman legacy is a cornerstone of the China community. I pray that God may be with Gene and his family in this time of sorrow.

    Ted Wilson says:

    The thoughts and prayers of all of us at the Texas A&M Rice Research and Extension Center go out to Gene, Laura, and their exceptional family

    Charles Simmons Jr. says:

    I met Gene about 20 years ago when I started working at the farm. He taught me a lot about farming, equipment, welding, shooting and the list goes on. He loved his friends and family, I’m grateful for having him as a friend. My deepest condolences to his family.

    gerry kirkland says:

    So sorry for your loss. May God wrap His arms around all of you. May you find peace and keep your memories near your heart. God Bless.

    Judy Morton says:

    May memories comfort you during this difficult time.

    Jennifer Eddington says:

    Jeanna, we are so sorry for your loss but from reading about your dad he is just picking up in Heaven what he missed the last years with friends & family gone before him. Oh what a blessing & comfort it is to know he is at the right hand of God. I know he and Robert have so much to catch up on. As I read I thought how he touched so many lives & the testimony he spread, awesome work for the Lord. I see that Will favors your dad and I know you have many of his traits, love for the lord, love of family and friends, the importance of helping those in need. Love to you & yours from Newport, Ar Jimbo, Jennifer & Aunt Jeanette

    Karla says:

    Herb, so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you during this difficult time.

    Carolyn Hudler says:

    Jeanna, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Mat God grant you peace and comfort. Love you.

    Julie Bibb Mead says:

    Dear Dishman Family,
    Our sympathies to you all during this loss of everyone’s beloved Mr. Gene. Personally I hold such special memories of dear Mr. Gene. The first memories that come to mind were when he was still racing cars and Ms. Laura and Mr. Gene entrusted their sweet children to be babysat by me while they attending races! I was recently recalling Ms. Laura having him build an entire sandbox in the church fellowship hall during VBS so that we all might pour our own custom sand candles! Mr. Gene allowed us to work closely with him as he dipped many a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream during our beloved fund raisers at the Texas Rice Festival. One year we washed hundreds of Jason sized potatoes and wrapped and prepared them for the pit where Mr. Gene took over and cooked almost every single potato by his self over the next four days! Thank you Mr. Gene for quietly (but always with a smile on your face) showing us children and then later adults the true way to be a man of God and enjoy life at the very same time! Love to you all! Julie Bibb Mead

    Thomas Kelley says:

    My condolences to you Herb and your family for your loss. Mr. Dishman was a good man and will certainly be missed by all who had the pleasure to spend time with him. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Karen Hudler Gafford says:

    Laura, I am so sorry for your loss 🙏

    David Hunter says:

    I have known him a long time when I was selling Farm Eguipment for IH and my dad was working at Nome Supply He always had a good word to say about my dad It was a pleasure to know him as a friend

    Lillian Kolander says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the Dishman family
    Our community just lost another China legend. Rest In Peace 🙏🏼

    Mark Koelemay says:

    I ALWAYS enjoyed visiting with Mr Dishman whenever he came to the pharmacy – such a great sense of humor, befitting a great man! He will be missed by all who knew him. His absence will leave a huge hole in not just his family’s hearts, but in the entirety of SE Texas and beyond.

    Melissa & Chase Hoyt says:

    Herb, we were saddened to see that your father had passed away. Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this time.

    Terry West says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Gene I’ve known him my whole life as my family has and he is one of the best. Rest in peace sir.

    Karen Israel says:

    Herb, I’m so sorry to hear about Mr Dishman. I loved our visits when he would come into the pharmacy. He was a great man and I’m so glad that I got to know him. Prayers for you and the family.

    Judi Benoit says:

    Laura and family,

    I just heard this news and am so sorry.
    Sincere sympathy, prayers,

    And love,

    Christine and Robert Voan says:

    Mr. Gene was such a special man. Love, prayers and support to all the family. We love you and God Bless,
    Christine and Robert Voan

    Tracey McManus Burk says:

    May Uncle Gene rest in peace. John and I send our sincere condolences. May you find peace and comfort in memories and in your family and friends. I’ll miss visiting with all of you during this time.
    Kristen Patterson

    Jerry Yancey says:

    Tray I’m so sorry for lost. Words alone can’t express the passing of your dad. Gene was a great person and I hope that you know that..
    Again from my family to yours we know the pain and sorrow that you go through.

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