Obituary – Willie Eugene “Gene” Autrey

Published 10:28 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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Willie Eugene “Gene” Autrey stepped into eternity on Saturday, May 4 at the age of 85, to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ and redeemed family.  

Funeral Services were held on Friday, May 10 beginning at 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Greenville with Tom Crenshaw officiating. Interment will follow in Magnolia Cemetery.  The family will receive family and friends for visitation on Thursday, May 9 beginning at 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the chapel of Dunklin Funeral Home.

Gene was a lifelong resident of Greenville.  He dearly loved his God, his family, and his wonderful country.  He loved people and giving of his time to the Greenville community.

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Gene was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Greenville, his lifelong church, and a long-time member of the Cornerstone Sunday School Class. He enjoyed ministering in projects associated with the Joseph Ministry.

Early in his career, he was a salesman for his family’s business, Autrey’s Five and Dime, often traveling in Autrey’s Wholesale operations.  He was an educator at Greenville High School and director of vocational education for Butler County until his retirement. As an educator, he passionately invested in the lives of the next generations encouraging them to also become servants in their community.

Gene made numerous friends across the state of Alabama as he gave his time to serving as Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard of Alabama for 28 years. He also was a member of the Eureka Masonic Lodge for 51 years and was a member of the Camellia City Civitan Club of Greenville serving as president for Greenville and district governor.

He was a member of the Alabama Education Association and State Vocational Administrators Association. He received a bachelor’s degree in business from Troy University, master’s degree in educational administration and AA specialist degrees in vocational educational administration from the University of Alabama.

Gene was preceded in death by his father, Willie Dee Autrey; and mother, Vera Ethel Crum Autrey.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Martha Payne Autrey; children, Paige Autrey Hannah (Mike) of Fairview, Texas and Rachel Autrey Dennis of Sandy Ridge; siblings, Johnny Autrey (Suellen) of Greenville and Dr. Joe Autrey of Enterprise; grandchildren, Linden Sigafoose Conway of Sweetwater, Texas, Elizabeth Hannah Williams (Chris) of Irondale, William Hannah of Birmingham, Ann Claire Hannah of Fairview, Texas and Kathryn Hannah of Fairview, Texas; great-grandchild, Gene Conway of Sweetwater, Texas, numerous nieces, nephews and greats.

Had you been with Gene on that early Saturday morning when he breathed his last, you would have heard him whisper to you these words:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”  John 3:16-17 NIV).

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to: The Van Gillem Scholarship Fund c/o First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 555, Greenville, AL 36037.

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