Gene M. Hildreth

Gene M. Hildreth LUBBOCK-Gene M. Hildreth, 84, a well-known Lubbock swimming instructor for 45 years, died peacefully on Nov. 10, 2012. She was a Red Cross swimming and water safety instructor trainer, founder/coach of the YWCA Water Y'ers age group and Masters AAU Swim Teams, and was honored by the American Red Cross and inducted into the National Swimming Hall of Fame in 1992. Beginning in the 1950s, Gene taught all ages to swim, from infants to octogenarians, emphasizing water safety, lifesaving/lifeguarding, and competitive swimming for the YWCA. She added courses in her home pool on 19th Street from 1972-2005. Gene trained others to be water safety instructors locally, regionally, and at 13 Red Cross National Aquatic Schools. Lubbock City Council honored Gene's 10,000+ hours of volunteer service by naming Feb. 6 the Gene Hildreth Swimming and Water Safety Day. Gene helped thousands learn to love and respect the water. Born in Lubbock, July 9, 1928, to Dr. Frank B. Malone Sr. (1897-1988) and Ora Lewis Malone (1898-1970), Gene was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, serving in the choir, nursery, and deaf ministry. Widow of Lubbock optometrist, Dr. C. Earl Hildreth (1923-1981), Gene served as president of the Auxiliary to the Texas Optometric Association. With her daughters, Val and Merideth, Gene volunteered decades in Girl Scouting and Boy Scout Co-ed High Adventure Explorer Post 806. Gene is survived by her sister, Madge Malone Webster of Lubbock; daughters, Val Hildreth-Werker and Merideth Hildreth; and grandson, Brenner Fody. Her brother, Dr. F. Buren Malone Jr. Buddy preceded her in death. Burial is under the care of Wilson Funeral Directors. Services will be Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Graveside service will be first at 11 a.m. in Resthaven Memorial Park. At First Baptist Church, Gene's memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. with family receiving guests starting at 1:15 p.m. John Strappazon and John Ballard will officiate.

Published in The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Nov. 14, 2012