Gene A. Triggs
Gene A. Triggs, a business, civic, and church leader in Mississippi for four decades died Sunday, November 17 at the age of 85. Funeral services will be 11:00am Wednesday at First Baptist Church-Clinton, MS with visitation beginning at 10am. Interment and Graveside services will be at 3:00pm in Providence Baptist Church Cemetery-Hattiesburg, MS. Lakewood Memorial Funeral Home-Jackson, MS, in charge of arrangements.
Triggs was born on August 31, 1928 on his family's farm in Forrest County, Mississippi. He attended public schools in Forrest County, leaving Eatonville High School after his junior year to attend Clarke Community College on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from Mississippi State University in 1950 and enlisted in the Army during the Korean conflict rising from the rank of private to captain.
Following his military service, he taught school and then served an assistant county agent and county agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. He became Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Mississippi in 1958.
He left the Department of Agriculture to manage Paul Johnson's successful campaign for governor in 1963 and later served as Executive Director of the State Agriculture and Industrial Board, the predecessor of the Department of Economic and Community Development. Triggs resigned from the A&I Board to manage William Winter's campaign for Governor in 1967. Following that campaign, he joined Mississippi Chemical Corporation in Yazoo City and occupied a number of roles between 1967 and his retirement in 1993, including Vice President of Administration and Vice President of Government Relations.
He was a former Chair of the Mississippi Economic Council and the Mississippi Manufacturer's Association. He also served as a member of the board and executive committee of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International, a not-for-profit formed by U.S. agricultural cooperatives to promote international development, and a board member of the Fertilizer Institute. He was also a founder and leader of Mississippi AHEAD, a statewide program to four-lane secondary roads throughout Mississippi. He received the Mississippi Industrial Man of the Year Award in 1982.
Always active in the Church, his many roles in Baptist life included serving as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention's Foreign Mission Board for twelve years and as its chair for four years. He was also a former board member of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and past President of the Mississippi Baptist Foundation. He was also a founder of Agricultural Missions Foundation, an organization that supported the work of agricultural missionaries outside the United States.
He was a member of board of directors of the Mississippi State University Foundation, a fellow of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and a member of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture Hall of Fame. Passionately committed to public education, he founded and led the Mississippian's for Public Education in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a committed Rotarian for 50 years.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Robbie Perry Triggs, a son Austin Triggs (Betsy) of Nashville, Tennessee; a daughter Joy Tyner (William) of Clinton; a sister Mary Lou Sims of Hattiesburg; and three grandchildren.
Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to Agricultural Missions Foundation and the Gene A. Triggs Scholarship Fund at Mississippi State University.
Published in the Hattiesburg American from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, 2013