Former Chairman Gene Triggs Dies Nov. 17

January 10th, 2014

Former Chairman Gene Triggs Dies Nov. 17

Gene A. Triggs, MMA chairman of the board for 1983-1984, died Sunday, Nov. 17 in Jackson at the age of 85. He was a well-known business, civic and church leader in Mississippi for four decades.

He was born Aug. 31, 1928, on his family’s farm in Forrest County. 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 served as Director of the State Agriculture and Industrial Board, the predecessor of the Department of Economic and Community Development. He left 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 chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council and the Mississippi Manufacturer’s Association. He was also a founder and leader of Mississippi AHEAD, a statewide program to four-lane state 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 and as its chair for four years. He also served as President of the Mississippi Baptist Foundation, a member of the board and executive committee of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International, and 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 Mississippians for Public Schools in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a committed life-long Rotarian.

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 may be made to Agricultural Missions Foundation and the Gene A. Triggs Scholarship Fund at Mississippi State University.